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Ghost CMS hosting - discover the best place to host a Ghost website

Find the best hosting companies and how to save money by self-hosting a Ghost website.
Ghost CMS hosting - discover the best place to host a Ghost website

Ghost focus is to be the best platform for independent writers and creators.

So, if you're considering using it, you have come to the right place to learn more about Ghost hosting.

After spending several days looking for the best options to host my website, I wish to help you make the best decision.


Affiliate disclaimer: some links are affiliates. This means that if you buy after clicking on one of those, I get a commission at no additional cost for you.


A list of the top paid hosting companies

Ghost(PRO) - Official managed hosting

If you want the official managed hosting go with this option.

This is the best way to support the Ghost Foundation and further development. With Ghost(PRO) you get:

  • Set-up and maintenance
  • Automatic updates
  • Automatic backups
  • Automatic SSL certificate
  • Custom domain
  • CDN
  • Great email support

The cheapest plan starts at 9$/ month paid annually. Although you won't have access to integrations nor allow you to upload a custom theme.

This price is extremely competitive for beginners and the only downside of Ghost (Pro) is the steeper pricing when members increase to thousands.

Besides this, Ghost is a lot cheaper than Substack and has better features.

Ghost(PRO) pricing

In case you want custom integrations price starts at 25$/ month.

Ghost(PRO) websites are hosted on DigitalOcean.

Previously, I've hosted my website with them and was happy with the support received.

I was helped by Sarah and, she was relentless to ensure my problem was solved.

By hosting with them you get a great product and are supporting open-source software.

Midnight - Affordable and high quality managed Ghost hosting

Midnight hosting is a company I recommended and vouch for the quality of their service to host a Ghost CMS website.

However, they have been slow to upgrade Ghost versions in the last couple of months. This annoys me a bit.

You can count on the following features:

  • Set-up and maintenance
  • Automatic updates
  • Automatic backups
  • Automatic SSL certificate
  • Custom domain
  • CDN for images
  • Awesome chat & email support (I've bugged them and know how fast and helpful they are)
  • Unlimited members
  • Custom integrations on all plans
  • No contract commitments
  • Fast SSD servers

Page speed test for this website

There are many reasons why I'm a fan and happy customer of Midnight. Some of them are:

  • Fast website
  • Awesome support
  • Custom integrations in all plans
  • No members limits
  • No commitments

I was talking about them to people even before being a customer. And now, my money is where my mouth is.

Gloat - Managed or self-hosted Ghost installations

Gloat offers 2 types of services:

Dan is a known face on the forums and developer of several tools for Ghost. He's ready to offer you the hosting option you like the most.

Gloat managed hosting has 2 plans:

  1. Low volume (20 000 monthly emails) costing 189$/ year (paid upfront)
  2. High volume (unlimited emails) 449$/ year

What do you get with Gloat hosting:

  • Set-up and maintenance
  • Automatic updates
  • Automatic backups
  • Automatic SSL certificate
  • Custom domain (or free ongloat.com subdomain)
  • Up to 20,000 newsletter emails per month included (cheapest plan)
  • Unlimited page views, subscribers and authors
  • Unlimited bandwidth and media storage
  • Free migration help from a previous host



DigitalOcean - easier self-hosting

DigitalOcean offers an easy and powerful self-hosting option in the market.

Using the 1-click Ghost install you will have the website set up in no time.

By hosting on DigitalOcean, you can use memberships, which you can't by using Ghost as a static website (we'll see more about this later).

This allows you to get paid for your work without extra fees (only paying for credit card fees).

This makes it easy and cheap to create a website with prices starting at 5$/ month.

You will still be the sole responsible for the website. Including making backups, updates, connect to a CDN, and install a SSL certificate.

Complete guide about hosting on DigitalOcean.


Related article

Ghost CMS review | A contender to best CMS for blogging
Ghost aims to be the best CMS for publishing content. This is a review of how well they achieve this goal
Click in this card to read this Ghost CMS review
Ghost (Pro) review - official managed hosting for Ghost CMS
Ghost (Pro) takes of the technical side while you only focus on creating. For example, creating a membership website takes a couple of minutes.

Where can you host Ghost CMS?

It's possible to host Ghost on a decent VPS (Virtual Private Server).

If you are going to self-host, look for a VPS with the following specs:

  • A server with at least 1GB of memory
  • Ubuntu 16.04, 18.04 or 20.04
  • MySQL 5.7 or 8.0
  • NGINX
  • Systemd
  • A Node version installed via NodeSource (version 14.x is recommended)
  • A non-root user for running ghost commands

Managed hosts already have the requirements to run a Ghost website.

📌
You can keep an eye here to keep updated about the official recommended stack.

Now, let's focus on how to host for free.


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Where can you host Ghost for free?

You can host Ghost for free using Github Pages, Heroku, or DigitalPress.

The first two are self-hosted and, DigitalPress is a managed host with a free plan available.

Hosting on DigitalPress

This is by far the easier option to host a website for free.

Creating a website on DigitalPress takes 1 minute and requires 3 easy steps.

They are:

  1. Create an account
  2. Click on "Create new blog"
  3. Give a name to your website and, you're done

If you are doubting how easy it can be, see for yourself in the GIF:

DigitalPress free tier offers 1GB of storage.

They will display ads on the website to pay for your usage of the service.

Also, in the free plan, you have:

  • Comments (by Disqus)
  • Live chat (by Crisp)
  • Google Analytics
  • Custom domain name

This managed host also provides Free Automatic SSL, automatic backups and free themes.

In the paid plan, you can remove ads, upload a costume theme and priority support (Premium plan only).

The best part is the lack of long-term contracts. Prices start at 6,9€ per month.

Hosting on Github Pages

Hosting a Ghost with Github Pages implies that you convert the website to a static website.

This creates some advantages and drawbacks (we'll get there in a minute).

📌
Before we continue, this is an intermediate/advanced path and, you should only go if you're familiar with the Command-Line.

What you need to Host a Website with Github:

  1. Ghost installation in your local machine or root access to the server it's installed.
  2. GitHub account
  3. Static Site Generator (11ty or Ghost SSG are popular options)

📌
Here is a complete step-by-step guide on how to host your website on GitHub Pages.

Advantages of hosting on Github Pages:

  • Static websites are fast
  • Automatic SSL certificate
  • CDN support (which means you can integrate with Cloudflare)
  • Website backed up by Git version history

Disadvantages:

  • Memberships don't work
  • The Repository in Github is public (this means the email used to admin the website will be visible)
  • Difficult to set-up
  • The repository must be smaller than 1GB
  • Soft limits for bandwidth and number of builds

Hosting on Heroku

Hosting on Heroku is a similar process to Github Pages. Except for the mandatory use of a Static Website Generator.

Prerequisites:

  1. Heroku Account
  2. Netlify Account

📌
Here you can find a great guide on how to install Ghost on Heroku and deploy it with Netlify.

Use this button for a 1-click deployment of Ghost 4.x from alan345.

Make sure to validate a billing option on your account so you can unlock free extra hours in your dynos.

Also, make sure to create a cron job to keep the dynos running.

This is recommended to keep the website running. The dynos turn off after some minutes of not being used.


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Ghost Summary

Ghost is a simple, elegant, and open-source CMS.

It offers a complete content management system with support for multiple languages.

Read the complete Ghost review here.

If you are ready to go ahead with one of the best platforms for authors  (aka. Ghost CMS) you have 2 options:

  • Self-hosting: you'll be the sole responsible for the set-up, updates, and keeping the servers running.
  • Managed hosting: you will pay a company to manage all the technical aspects and focus only on the content.

The decision between each one comes down to your technical knowledge.

There is no right or wrong choice, even though they are opposites.

If value your time more, go for managed hosting. It will be easier and avoid a lot of headaches.


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