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Hey everyone, if you're looking for a fantastic blog engine, I want to tell you about Ghost: https://ghost.org

I found Ghost while looking for a new blog engine for my company. My first instinct was to use Medium as well, but I ended up hitting a lot of issues because it was impossible for us to customize it (add custom javascript, charts, disable the lame "highlights", custom domain was not free, etc...).

1. Ghost is open source, developed by a foundation in the open. They make their revenue open, their issue tracker, their code, everything.

2. Ghost is self-hostable, as well as hosted on a paid plan. The paid plan is a little pricy (https://ghost.org/pricing/) but I recommend it if this is for a company blog.

3. Ghost is beautiful out of the box. Here is the default theme: https://blog.ghost.org -- Here is a slightly customized theme: https://articles.hsreplay.net

4. Ghost has an excellent featureset. It's powered by Markdown and has a wonderful markdown editor in its admin/authorship interface. It also supports authors, editors, contributors, drafts, publishing schedules, tags, etc.

Seriously, try it out. I'm not affiliated, just a huge fan. I want to see more people use and support these fantastic open source tools, rather than complain about Medium like there's no alternative.




As many others indicated, static sites are much better unless you need dynamic features. Static sites make deployments much easier, doesn't depend on any OS/runtime, doesn't lock you in to a particular database. You just write markdown and with little to no modification, the same thing could just work on Hugo, or Jekyll.


I use Jekyll; I used Hugo and Pelican in the past. They solve a very specific use case. But if you want to allow guest posting on your blog, a static site will not do. You need something that has drafts, that has a proper editor, that has a UI you can add and invite people to. Ghost solves that.


Netlify CMS solved the problem you described.

https://www.netlifycms.org/


In theory, is there any reason why this couldn't support git-based comments as well? Maybe through a PR-style interface?


There's a tool called staticman - it doesn't integrate with Netlify CMS (yet), but it's a great git-based comments solution: https://staticman.net/


It seems that all of those features are Git-features. The missing piece is a "git-aware" markdown editor, as in, an editor that knows about git branches, and can commit/push and be mildy helpful if there's a conflict.


We use butter [1] for that, and we're liking the product so far. The various nontechnical people (ceo, writers) have been fine with it. Butter build and distribute a gem that just drops into rails and displays your posts. You have to style it, but you get the erb files.

They do have some support for local caching, but investigating that is on my todo list.

One big upside of this design is seo: your blog isn't on blog.domain.com, but wherever you want it on your main site.

[1] https://buttercms.com/


You need a headless CMS like Contentful[0]. They have a free developer tier which is great for static sites, especially when you pair it with the super awesome React based static site generator GatsbyJS[1].

[0]: https://www.contentful.com/ [1]: https://www.gatsbyjs.org/docs/gatsby-starters/


would go with Ghost or Hosted Jekyll, `Contentful` is not a good solution for individual/small/medium teams.


I was an early user of Contentful. Before I introduced it, we had non-techies editing YAML or Markdown files and committing them to Git and deploying them using Jenkins (yeah that went about as well as you'd expect).

After countless hours supporting this system I decided to move over a couple of the content pages to Contentful (here's one example: https://issuu.com/m/success/madsounds). I didn't need to support anyone after making that move. As techies we tend to think things like Git are easy, but it's not (that's part of the reason we get paid the big bucks(

Also eventually basically all the company's CMS needs were moved over to Contentful. From my experience it scaled well for both small and medium-sized teams.


I'm not familiar with the service, why isn't a it good for individual/small/medium teams?


Why not?


I want to upvote you more.


Ghost has drafts, and the editor is fine for me (plain text markdown with instant preview). I think(?) it also supports multiple logins with permission management? I feel like adding a user requires an admin (no self sign up that I know of) but other than that, I think it might do what you’re talking about.

I use ghost for my personal site and I love it. (Not that I use multiple authors.)


I think you misread my reply. I'm bringing these things up because Ghost can do them.


Netlify + Jekyll can get this done with some amount of customization. Static, but using Netlify's identity service. This has worked well for me for many clients.


As a fan of Ghost’s design and preferring static sites, I started using Jekyll with the theme Jasper2, which was based on Ghost’s default theme Casper. Super easy to set up and use if you’re comfortable with not having the ghost editor, and with github pages hosting and publishing was a breeze.


Easy to use for non technical users is Publii https://getpublii.com It works like a dynamic CMS but generates static output, comes with GUI and clean, lightweight free themes.


Publii is fishy, they dont have public repos


Fishy? :) Next month should be released the first stable version with rewriten backend (based on Vue) and GitHub repo.


Are there any plans for Linux release?


1. You sound like an advertiser.

2. When I first discovered Ghost (last year) and I heard it's using NodeJS I was expecting a beautiful, responsive, SPA blog engine that is fast. After reviewing it and even trying to use it as a platform for a newspaper I found that (It's just wordpress and it's not using the power of javascript to it's full extent.)

Fast => I could and I did built a faster wordpress site.

SPA => Nope

Customizable => Nope.

For me it's not worth the extra capabilities instead of a static blog.

I found gatsby(1) great for all my use cases and with some extra work[2] is more dynamic that ghost.

1. gatsby - https://github.com/gatsbyjs/gatsby

2. netlify + contentful - https://www.netlifycms.org/ + https://www.contentful.com/

(I would love to see a CMS that embraces SPA/PWA. On the other side I would hate to serve 1mb of JS just to show 4 paragraphs and 1 picture)


> You sound like an advertiser

Great! I'll happily advertise for Ghost. As I said I'm not affiliated but I am a fan. I especially am a fan because I have a huge respect for open source organizations that run their business like they do.


You're right, I can't comment anything bad on the business model, great respect for being open source and I thank them for they work, just not a fit for someone who was looking for a better Wordpress alternative. Maybe it's just too young. WP is 15 yo already :)) ! Wish you both the very best!


> SPA => Nope

This seems like a positive aspect for a blog? Most blogs are pretty far removed from being “applications”.


Would that be a negative aspect?

Why wouldn't you try to bring the best possible experience to your reader?


> Why wouldn't you try to bring the best possible experience to your reader?

A blog is (usually) a collection of documents. For this use-case, using standard hypertext (standard HTML documents delivered over standard HTTP to every standards-compliant browser) does bring the best possible experience to your readers.

Delivering a single HTML document stuffed with some hand-crafted Javascript code trying to re-invent hypertext will not bring a better experience to your readers (especially not any readers who disable JavaScript), unless your blog is something more specific/unusual than a collection of documents and actually fits something other than hypertext better.


I'll flip it back on you. Why does a single page app make the best possible experience? I and many others don't browse with JavaScript, how does a broken site help us?

Static sites are fast and don't require untrusted code running in my browser.


chomp: For starters we could make you and many others (0.1%-1%?) just accept it and enable javascript so we help stop the global warming, don't you care about the earth? :))

And its quite possible to make a SPA that renders on the server and serves you an html but then maybe we can show just half the information so we don't send too much info to your browser.


obviously enabling javascript contributes to global warming because of increase resource usage, not that I mind.


Not mentioned above but "interesting":

- requires exactly mysql, nodejs, nginx and at least 1GB RAM.

- the only supported setup is Ubuntu 16.04

- has some sort of ghost-cli application used for management.

At least for me: not enough fingers for "thumbs down".


I'd love to have them support Postgres (they dropped support because of not enough developers working on it), but giving it the thumbs down for those reasons seems silly. You either self-host in which case you stuff that on its own docker instance and forget about it, or you use their hosted plan in which case why do you care what software/db engine they run?


One lightweight solution I've found great for blogs is Pelican with m.css, it's really nice and could be served even from a toaster.


Pelican? Is that a cms?


It's a static site generator: https://blog.getpelican.com


Combined with git and some webhook to regenerate on change, I think it's better than most CMSs. It's fast, nice-looking (assuming you use a theme, like m.css), secure, doesn't take much storage, really simple, nearly bug-free etc.


I went through a bunch (including Ghost). Good product, but I eventually ended up using a static site with Netlify.

For the static site I used Middleman. It is one of the older generators, but if you're familiar with a Rails environment you can do everything you'll ever need.

Not for everyone, but super simple, extremely fast, and completely customizable. Netlify has also taken away all the pain. Simple build and deploy. Superfast DNS and CDN. LetsEncrypt out of the box. Worth a look.

That said, the missing piece from Medium isn't the editor/hosting -- it's is the syndication.


Because I stumbled the last days over it and found it really a pleasure to workin with; the medium editor is completely usable in your own projects.

https://github.com/yabwe/medium-editor


While I loved Ghost when it was launched, I've replaced my site with Hugo instead. Hugo + Netlify is free as in beer, and is a much better deal IMO. [1]

[1]: https://gohugo.io/hosting-and-deployment/hosting-on-netlify/


> The paid plan is a little pricy

It's literally the only problem with Ghost. Wonderful product but boy... how many people are going to pay $29/month or $228/year to host their personal blog? Yeah, there's some serious added value: managed upgrades, managed backups, DDoS protection, CDN setup, etc., and that's wonderful, but still... if you're basically just writing as a hobby, it's too much. I really hope they look into offering some kind of $5-10 hobbyist plan for low-traffic blogs.


FWIW I don't think Ghost should be used on its paid plan for personal blogs. You can host it on a droplet or AWS free tier pretty easily, otherwise you can use Github pages.

I hope Ghost will at some point have a "static site generation" mode though.


You can use a droplet or AWS free tier, you'll just go offline in the "just in case" situation that your site gets hugged to death. Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather not plan for failure in the event of success.

Part of the value added in SaaS like Ghost(Pro) is that the infrastructure needed to deal with traffic spikes is built-in. There really ought to be a pricing model along the lines of "I really don't expect this site to get much traffic at all, so sell me a cheap plan for day-to-day expected usage, but just in case something I write happens to go viral, I pre-approve a charge of $100 (or whatever) to deal with the traffic spike, and in case there's new sustained traffic then I'll of course upgrade to a more expensive plan which covers a higher expected rate of day-to-day traffic."

Edit: let's put it another way: if you're publishing something to the Internet, it's because you want other people to read it. You therefore want other people to actually be able to read it in the rare but foreseeable circumstance that it becomes popular. If you didn't care about that, and you were really just writing for yourself, you'd just keep an offline journal.


> You can use a droplet or AWS free tier, you'll just go offline in the "just in case" situation that your site gets hugged to death

Cloudflare in front with aggressive caching? What you're generating essentially is a static site, so it's safe to do that. If your S3 static site gets hugged to death, you won't go offline but you will pay an unexpectedly larger bill, so you should be setting up Cloudflare in front either way.


But that's no longer (non-technical) user friendly. Ghost is on the other end where they host it for you and if you get reddit or hn hugged it's still going to take your site offline, you just won't pay for it, but you get a pretty heavy charge for the convenience. None of these solutions would work for me.


I'll add my recommendation here too. You can get going with it over at digital ocean with one of their single click images, whatever you call them, and run it fine for $5-$10 per month. I recommend $10, but I believe it'll still install and run fine for low traffic sites on the cheapest tier.

It's also really easy to install yourself. They've done a great job on it all around. If you have a blog, give it a shot. It's not a WordPress replacement if you use tons of plugins but it's great writing software.

It's also really easy to theme.


DO recently upped their specs. Now you get 1 GB ram for $5/month, which are the specs of their previous $10/month tier. I'm going through this weekend and switching my $10 instance to a $5.


I recently switched to Hetzner Cloud, which offers significantly more at lower prices. For about $2.50 you get about the equivalent of a $10 droplet. Only downside I can think of is that they don't have servers in the US (AFAIK) and I think they don't have a DNS panel.


I've moved to Hetzner from DO as well. It's cheaper than digital ocean.

However,

- They have two data center locations, both in Germany, which might be good or bad depending on how view the laws.

- Their web interface looks good too, but doesn't have the features that DO provides.

- Depending on what option you pick, some have commodity hardware (No ECC RAM, i7 processors instead of server hardware).

- [Rumor]I've heard that they are very hands off, and will take down your instance much more aggressively. As someone on reddit put it, "If Disney was a cloud provider, anything Disney won't be comfortable to host, Hetzner won't."


I use Hetzner for one of my NTP servers which handles traffic for pool.ntp.org. It's rock-solid and has no problem with latency.

I had a DO NTP server for a brief time, but the latency was all over the map, so much so that it was continually pulled out of rotation by the pool. I wasn't sure if my VM happened to be on an oversubscribed host or maybe the network to that datacenter was oversubscribed, but in either case my NTP server wasn't usable, so I decommissioned my DO server.


According to their FAQ, they are working on it:

> Will you add additional locations in different geographic regions?

> We are actively looking into this option right now.


I may have to check my droplets... do you know if the upgrades automatic by chance?


I don't believe it's automatic. I had 2 512 mb servers and 1 GB server going and none had increased specs automatically.


We use ghost as well, can't say enough good things about it. Digital Ocean also has a pre-configured droplet for it that makes installation / testing pretty seamless.


I'm a big fan of Ghost and have just set it up for a friend on free tier AWS for his travel blog.

DO droplets have gotten better/bigger lately, and with the one-click install it's a cinch. That said, if anyone's interested, I wrote a post on getting it running on a small VM which I'm currently rewriting for AWS free tier: https://www.danwalker.com/running-ghost-on-a-5-digital-ocean...


$19 for 50,000 views a month, only if you buy a whole year. A $5 Google Compute server and NginX can serve 5,000 static assets a second easy. Even more with some optimization.

I don't know why your service doesn't scale to be as good as, if not better than that, since you can put more effort into static caching and optimization at scale.


I began using Ghost for a personal blog (on a micro AWS instance) a few months ago, and I'm very happy so far. I also "import" my Ghost articles to Medium - so that helps to get views while helping me maintain control of my publishing.


Ghost is a very nice platform. How do you think it compares to Grav? My firm has been considering both.




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