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Ghost 3.0 (ghost.org)
300 points by sareiodata on Oct 22, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 112 comments

Hi HN, John from Ghost here. Thanks for the comments about 3.0 — we spent a lot of late nights on this, and it's a pretty big upgrade for Ghost as a platform (which is now 6 years old).

I know the audience here is generally more interested in technical details and reasons for why this took longer than 1 weekend to build. So I'll share a few more relevant details absent from the marketing copy:

- The new membership system is effectively just an email database with JWT based authentication. Two cool things about this: You can import any CSV of emails and that's now a user database of people who can log in, and 2: not storing passwords at all is pretty great.

- New billing features are a deep integration w/ Stripe Billing API, which works with your API keys, not via Stripe Connect, so there's no middleman. Ghost can't add any fees on transactions, and volume doesn't flow through our Stripe account in any way - so it remains completely decentralised without a bottleneck. The significant part of that is: If Ghost the company were to ever go away, your site/billing/everything would keep working as normal. Doesn't depend on us.

- All our APIs and Webhooks have been continually improved to the point where Ghost is now the most popular (at least by Github stars, the fruit of life) open source headless CMS out there. Also a new Github Action for CI/CD of Ghost themes makes that whole process a lot less painful

"What's the point of this, why not just use [x]" Because [x] is some combination of: closed source, centralised, written in decade old procedural PHP, or has some sort of UI which no non-developer wants to go anywhere near. We try to sit at the juncture of these things with a decentralised product, easy to run with a managed service, built with tech developers don't hate, and a UI that people who create content really love.

Also: Something about Postgres

On a serious note, thanks for all the support. Ghost launched on HN and it was that initial boost that got everything started. I'll be hanging out in the comments here throughout the day.

Do you have any plans to offer a solo professional type plan? ~$350/year and up is quite a lot more than I can justify for what I would use this for. Something like Automattic's Premium plan ($8/month) for a managed blog with a subscription system like this would be an easy sell for me.

I understand if that's a hard no. You seem to be aiming at people who are or plan to be big time enough to hire people to help. Getting people in who might head that way so they have an easy upgrade path might be good though. If I were the kind of person Patreon's top plan aims at, any Ghost plan would be an easy sell, but even thinking about that is a long way off for me.

Self host it if you can. I do at https://sdan.xyz/blog and https://sdan.xyz/essays and it works flawlessly regardless of visitors/staff members/etc.

Obviously by paying Ghost to host it for you is a bit pricey since they have to make a profit as well, but the amazing thing is that the whole thing is open sourced for people like us to self host (I wrote a post about how I self host a bunch of stuff including ghost: http://sdan.xyz/sd2)

I'd rather pay them to do it. The last time I self-hosted, it was WordPress, and the temptation to tinker was too great and distracted from the actual goal of having a blog.

Ghost used to be available on Softaculous but the requirements changed: https://www.softaculous.com/news/scripts/ghost-support-to-be...

That's likely one of the biggest reasons you can't get a shared host to run this.

WordPress is still installable via Softaculous.

Then why not Svbtle or Write.as? You have lots of affordable or even free choices.

The subscription system, as I mentioned upthread. Making a blog is easy. Making a blog with pay gated access to posts and downloads is not. The closest equivalent is Patreon + WordPress with the Patreon plugin. I already mentioned the issue with self-hosted WordPress. Managed solutions cost more than Ghost and provide less.

Sounds like a good business opportunity if someone's looking for it.

call it gHosting

Sounds like an interesting idea... selling software under the MIT license which the software holder is maintaining...

Looks like I have a weekend project now!

This complaint has never made sense to me; you're selling software/hardware management, not the software itself.

And this is precisely the pain point of the gp... This isn't just reasonable, it's utterly sensible.

Yep. I don't mind Ghost or Automattic charging so much for managed hosting. That also pays for development. I don't want to assume other managed hosts charging more for WordPress without doing anything more is just greed, but it has the look.

That's why I want Ghost to offer a lower tier. That way I could get started at a price I can afford where I'm at, support the development of Ghost, and have an easy upgrade path if I need it. It's the curve, not the price, that I don't like.

@ mkr-hn

On Lobsters (can't find thread), I mentioned that the price was too high for large amount of potential users, the code was open source, and low-margin providers could host it for the masses on the cheap. If wanting to be ethical, they could even send a percentage of the revenue and/or improvements back to Ghost.

I strongly encourage this model given dominance of sites such as Wordpress. Ghost can keep reaping the benefits of the premium market just publishing source. They can simultaneously stay profitable and democratize the tech through third parties.

Fantastic work, John. I've long wanted to build a web site just to use Ghost. ;-)

If you could figure out some way to integrate tightly with Webflow (the world's best html/css codeless site builder), that would be an absolute killer and I'd be all over it in a second (as would many others).

I suppose the problem there is that Webflow wants to be its own CMS (naturally), but it's somewhat crippled by being a closed solution.

I'm a big webflow fan, would love to see if there's some way to use the platforms together :)

Thank you for all your hard work on Ghost. I've used it for many years now and really like that you ship as a container too.

It's simple, fast, stable and supports pretty much everything I can think of for a writing platform. The changes to theme development are very welcome.

Thanks again to you and the team.

> Also: Something about Postgres

Is Ghost bringing back support for Postgres? :)

Is there anything more you've published on the membership system, particularly as it relates to developers?

I often feel like what I need most is an identity system for my users that's nicely coupled to a billing and CMS system, and the CMS providers seem like the ones best equipped to offer that (eg Identity/signin/authorization is really the core poorly addressed problem today).

Shopify has commerce and blogging but wants $10K/yr to let me sign users into my site with user accounts. 8base is doing lots right but hasn't figured out their pricing model ($10/GB/mo for file storage? 500x their cost of goods at S3? What other ways are they planning on reaming me on pricing?). NestJS has all the building blocks but it's just parts. Amplify's integration of AppSync and Cognito is great but billing integration seems surprisingly weak. There are so many who could/should be offering this, but each I dig into just doesn't quite do it.

I'm so hoping I can think about your membership system as a way for me to build sites where my users can easily sign in once to all the site's functionality and commerce without me having to build/maintain/secure my own identity security code.

I get that you're principally a publishing platform, but as you hint at in your posts identity/authorization and billing are key tasks for standing up most any commercial efforts.

I know John's opinion about WordPress, but it sounds like you are looking for Woocommerce.

- Open Source - Thriving plugin ecosystem - WordPress.com can host it for you for $300/year and it will take any traffic you throw at it - It has full advantage of WordPress which is the most popular CMS on the planet

For a second, that "raised 5 mil" line really made me doubt everything I've learned from you guys until I actually read through the post. Congratulations!

Haven't looked at Ghost in a while. The subscription system looks neat. I'd recently considered launching an indie game development site for a very niche style of gaming (audio-only) that could probably benefit from a Patreon-style model, but my margins would be so low that the Patreon cut would be hefty for little to no network effect benefit, and I know better than to try rolling my own.

Is there any mechanism for both subscription tiers and pay-what-you-want? So maybe I had a $5 tier and a $10 tier, and if someone wanted to pay $7 then they could and get the $5 benefits?

I'll research this myself when the 3.0 Docker image becomes available, but thought I'd ask first. Not even sure if Stripe supports that functionality, or if it does, how hard it'd be for me to add and contribute back.

Thanks for making Ghost.

At the moment we've just got a single plan with either a monthly or yearly price point, and adding support for more flexible subscription options is high on the todo list to work toward next!

Ah, this answers the question I had about membership models - I was wondering if it has the option to pay per-thing like Patreon does. ($x per Thing posted, with an optional cap of $y, processed at the end of the month.) Works a lot better for what I do than a flat per-month.

Nice, should be good enough for now for me. Is there a GitHub issue or something I can watch for updates?

I'm curious what Ghost thinks of my proposal here:


I've promoted you in various places as one hell of a positive counter-example to how most companies work. Trying to be fair to Ghost in recommendations about getting more people using the technology.

Thanks for building a successful business around an open-source product, this is praise worthy.

Is it possible to generate a static site with Ghost 3.0? or does one have to use gatsby with a headless Ghost 3.0 instance?

The docs page linked in the FAQ is returning a 404: https://ghost.org/docs/members/

Seems to be working ok for me, are you still having trouble?

Congrats on the release and hope Ghost is even more successful now with all the added features.

Any idea when 3.0 will be available to self-host?

It's immediately available to everyone, self hosted and hosted. Source is here: https://github.com/tryghost/ghost

Re: the membership system. How do members authenticate without a password? Is it done by emailing a magic link?

That's exactly how it's done. :)

I remember when Ghost was released years ago, and I remember thinking "wow, these people have actually gone and released a solid blogging platform to replace the shitshow that is WordPress!". At the time, I was making some decent freelance money from porting botched WordPress builds onto the Umbraco CMS, so my opinion of WP has always been pretty low. Ghost looked like a fantastic publishing tool that was ahead of its time.

Obviously, things have changed a lot since then, and to be honest I never really kept much of an eye on Ghost until two people I used to work with started working for Ghost. Now, Ghost is being pushed as a headless CMS, and seems heavily aligned to the JAM stack.

From what I've seen and heard, this looks like a fantastic release and you should all be proud of this milestone, and just how far Ghost has come. With that being said, there's a niggling thought in my head that won't go away.

What's to stop Ghost from becoming WordPress v2?

In theory: Nothing!

In reality: The same thing that has prevented that from happening for the last 6 years; a strong focus on a core set of usecases and no desire to become a generic website builder :)

In my experience, Ghost has been the no-nonsense blog CMS that has been stable and just worked with very little maintenance.

I like that they are now moving towards static site JAMStack approach, driven by APIs rather than the current SSR model. This lets anybody to customise their themes with the language / framework of choice and generating static builds that can be cached for improved loading times.

Ghost is okay. My blog runs Ghost. I've been using Ghost from about when it was first released, v.09 or something.

I am now planning on moving towards something more static and simpler. Ghost started as a simpler alternative to WordPress, but slightly more powerful than Hugo/Jekyll/etc. It now seems to just be a WordPress clone written in JS instead of PHP. It's still fine and works well... but, I can't see a reason to use it versus WordPress and its lost roots to its simplicity.

I will probably be migrating to Jekyll for easier self hosting and hacking. Perhaps I'll stick with Ghost... but, I'm starting to become weary of "commercial open source" products. Self hosting is becoming harder and harder... it's in their best interest to make you buy the managed solution. It looks like Ghost has transitioned to a product for media corps, in that sense it looks good and I'd use it. For personal usage, I can't recommend it anymore.

I’m not sure how anyone can say in good faith that Ghost is “just a Wordpress clone”. Even a cursory walkthrough if the dashboard shows this to absolutely not be the case.

> I will probably be migrating to Jekyll for easier self hosting and hacking.

I was thinking of swapping to Hugo, but Ghost 3.0's static site integrations looks it means that I can just run Ghost on my local machine and upload plan HTML to the server. Seems like the best of both worlds.

If you like to hack in Python or Perl maybe have a peek at tumblelog [0]? I am currently working on version 4.0.0. and I don't think you can get more static and simpler except for running an older version. You can see it in action here: http://plurrrr.com/

[0] https://github.com/john-bokma/tumblelog

If you’re looking for a simpler alternative to Ghost for personal blogging, without the hassle of self-hosting, check out https://etch.blog - it’s bootstrapped, simple, affordable, and free of nonsense.

This is definitely targeted squarely at the publishing industry. Newspapers that have yet to build their own CMS should seriously consider using this to power their digital presence.

This, from my experience as a developer and ops engineer for a newspaper.

looks nice. Especially like the membership module and will definitely look more deeply into integration with nuxt.js (wow).

One thing I don't like is that the membership api seems deeply integrated with Stripe only. That's okay for a start but in many countries in this world Stripe is not available (for me it's the new PayPal. E.g. I'm based in Cyprus and Stripe will not work here although it's EU) and I would welcome a better flexibility or plugin system for other payment providers:


Are there any plans for that? Do you think it is easy to integrate other payment providers in future?

UPDATE: ok, I've seen your website FAQ https://ghost.org/docs/members/faq/#can-i-use-other-payment-... I will not support a one payment gateway blog membersite. Sorry Ghost.

Stripe censorship excludes basically (beside regions) also many topics. Thinking about writing about intimate topics, erotica or health? Good luck in using Stripe with that.

This is a first version. We're certainly planning to add more payment options, including decentralised ones

Yes, but when? Stripe has been saying the same thing. They will support more countries, and yet, three years later they have yet to support many countries.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that a country can not be supported magically. What I'm against are these comments that are written with (what I believe to be) the best intentions.

But then it's posted, and the person who read it, years later is left with a bad taste in his/her mouth.

It's open source, there's nothing stopping you from integrating it with the payment platform of your choice and contributing the code back to the project.

It is! Oops... I just became that guy :P

But in my defense, it was a general sentiment and not directed to any - one - individual - or company.

It's not the same level of difficulty. Stripe being in more countries means more legal issues to deal with.

Ghost integrating with other processors is "just" a code change.

Serious question.

In the article it writes "all whilst operating as an independent non-profit organisation releasing open source software.".

But this is right before talking about generating $5,000,000 in customer revenue and giving away 0% of the business.

So when you're a non-profit, what happens with that $5,000,000 of business generated revenue? How much of a salary do you give yourself? Can you even give yourself a salary if you label yourself as a non-profit? What makes paying yourself a salary as a non-profit different than a regular business?

Whenever I read sentences like that, it makes me very suspicious. Whenever I see a Ghost blog post talking about the product it always feels like they try to bring maximum attention to being a non-profit in a way that is supposed to be less evil than a profitable business but then you talk about millions of dollars of "business revenue" and I never understood how it works.


"A nonprofit organization, also known as a non-business entity,[1] not-for-profit organization,[2] or nonprofit institution,[3] is dedicated to furthering a particular social cause or advocating for a shared point of view. In economic terms, it is an organization that uses its surplus of the revenues to further achieve its ultimate objective, rather than distributing its income to the organization's shareholders, leaders, or members. Nonprofits are tax exempt or charitable, meaning they do not pay income tax on the money that they receive for their organization. They can operate in religious, scientific, research, or educational settings.""

That's still very confusing.

Surplus sounds like anything beyond hosting costs to run the service, but the hosting costs is likely no where near 5 million dollars so a majority of it is surplus.

Does that mean no one gets a salary or is a salary part of the costs to run the business instead of being a "member"? If salaries are included who dictates what the income tax exempt salary is?

I'm not trolling either. What you're describing sounds like a way to run a business where you can avoid paying income tax while still getting a salary because realistically I doubt the creator of Ghost is living in a homeless shelter and working off public library computers.

Some Business 101 for you: Salaries are separate from profits. Salaries are a cost to the business just like rent and hosting costs. Profits come after all the costs. (Salaries are also taxed as personal income just like at any other business.)

The $5m over 6 years is $833k in revenue per year. Not a lot, and salaries/benefits probably take up the biggest part of that, leaving very little profit. Which is the way it should be everywhere in my opinion.

I applied to work at Ghost a while back and still would love to work for them. Not only do they get salaries, they have amazing benefits (by US standards). Being a non-profit means two things: a) profits are reinvested in the business rather than distributed to owners, and b) Ghost isn’t, and can never be, an acquisition target by other companies or investors. That kind of stability is a huge appeal for me, both as a user and a worker.

I feel like this comment would be totally complete without the first 5 words, which serve to make it condescending.

Part of the goal of this community is for its participants to learn things they don’t know; the tone implied by the intro to your comment makes it seem offensive that somebody wouldn’t realize US non-profit status still allows for salaries and benefits for their staff.


I think that to a point this is caused by the attitude in OP’s own comments. While it would be nice if it was possible to completely ignore it, I don’t think that’s realistically possible.

Perhaps I’m overly optimistic. I’m also optimistic enough to believe that the comment I responded to wasn’t aiming to be condescending; the phrasing was the kind of thing that could very well have sounded jovial in speech among friends. I tend to think that’s the more common failing here: people type the way they’d speak if they were having a chat at the pub after work, and a lot of nuance burns off in the speech-to-text conversion.

In any case, the site guidelines ask us to counteract this by assuming good faith, and responding to the strongest interpretation: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

Point taken.

Non-profits can draw large salaries:


These are all medical, so that is the right comparison, but charities can also have high salaries:


And, I am not taking a position here, but if you feel strongly that this should not be the case, there is this video for the counter-argument:


Such as the Susan Kamen Foundation. Huge salaries, no funding of research, events to promote "awareness." A scam.

Salaries at a nonprofit can be tiny or enormous, depending on how the organization operates.

My guess is that Ghost pays competitive salaries to its rank and file, a generous salary to its CEO, and uses the rest of the money to either fund exploratory work, educate its target industry, and/or lobby politicians. That's how most nonprofits appear to work.

You can still receive a salary, and as far as I know there are no limits on what you can pay yourself. However, you must have a predefined salary and you are audited regularly to ensure there isn't fraud. However, outside of the overhead (salaries, office, servers, etc) any further profits have to be reinvested into the business. This means that if they get 5 million dollars and only spend 4 million, no one gets to take home the extra million. It has to go back into the business.

This is in contrast to for-profit companies where that money can go to the owner (private company), or to shareholders (public company).

The Wikipedia link posted above probably has a better explanation, this is just my understanding due to my SO working at one.

> This means that if they get 5 million dollars and only spend 4 million, no one gets to take home the extra million. It has to go back into the business.

I wonder where the line is drawn on that.

For example, can the CEO buy a house to live in and then claim it's investing in the business because that's where he works remotely once in a while?

Also on the salary itself, do you pay regular income tax on that (separate from the company, but as an individual receiving a salary)?

Yes, each salary is taxed normally. Then, there are laws against non-profit executives enriching themselves[0]. The government watches this very closely.

Also, public non-profits must release regular reports on their finances. So, contributors can decide for themselves whether the funds are being used appropriately. That's the basis for sites like https://www.charitynavigator.org [1] and https://www.guidestar.org

One particularly important metric is how much the organization spends on overhead vs how much is spent directly furthering their cause.

[0] Religious organizations seem to play by a different set of rules, but thats neither here nor there.

[1] A non-profit is not necessarily a charity, but this gives you an idea of how both can be evaluated.

Yes, you pay income tax.

Think of non-profits as any other business - except there are no owners. No shares, no voting. Nobody can say they own 50% of this company and so are worth X on paper because of the value.

Everything else operates the same. People have jobs and get salaries. The company sells things and makes revenue. It can make profits if it makes more than it spends. Nonprofits can have millions sitting in their account but that money doesn't belong to any person because there's no ownership, and usually the bylaws and govt regulations mandate they reinvest it into the business aggressively.

I think you underestimate salaries. They are allowed to pay themselves. Extra money can be used to pay future salaries, fund other projects etc. They can probably even accumulate it to use as an endowment, I'm not sure about that though.

I'm not exactly sure what happens if the founders decide their salaries will be $1m/year. I'm not aware of anything explicitly stopping that - some charities pay their CEOs hundreds of thousands.

Look at the wikipedia salaries for example: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_salarie...

Wow those are some pretty high salaries for what I expected in a non-profit business. My Wife works in a non-profit agency and makes significantly less money than I do, but then again she is a social worker. She also gets far more time off than I do so there are perks I suppose.

Non profit means no payday for the shareholders. Yes there's a salary and it can be decent but there'll never be a billion dollar ipo or buyout. The major benefit to running a business is not getting the salary but from the wealth created from OWNING the business. The capitalist class doesn't get to benefit in this instance, only the workers.

>what happens with that $5,000,000 of business generated revenue?

You operate it like a normal business and pay competitive salaries? I don't get why people working at non-profit should work for free. $5M/6 years is roughly 7 people making 120k/yr.

Just because it’s ‘not-for-profit’ does not mean the employees can live on air. That would definitely be nice, but in practice they still need to be paid a salary.

But all of the profits go right back into the company (e.g. no profit for the founders), which is a powerful thing.

Typically a for profit business has three main stakeholders: Customers, Employees, and Share Holders.

And they have to balance things like salaries, price of the product, dividends to share holders (though no one really pays dividends anymore, but that's beside the point.)

A non-profit skips the share holders, and is more like a direct exchange of cash for services better two parties, without a third party taking a cut.

Actually, usually there are taxes, so the government is going to take a cut.

So share holders kind of end up acting as a tax, a tax on not having capital, but instead of the money going to the government, it goes to people who happen to have capital.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Will the fans of Norton Ghost be complaining, the way the Elm MUA people complain about Elm the programming language?


I had to scroll down before I realised that this is not the disk imaging tool "Ghost".

I've been retired from IT for a few years now - is Ghost (the disk utility) no longer a thing?

I couldn't even guess how many hours I spent sitting in front of this screen: https://www.dmcinfo.com/Portals/0/vmware-norton-ghost.jpg

Actually, its the first think I think of too.

Now I use Acronis True Image (which works very well on Windows and I can recover from a dead boot drive in no time!)

This article could some background about what Ghost is. There's no explanation until about 6 paragraphs in, and it's only in an image, not in the article itself.

> But you probably want to know about the $5M thing.

No, I'd rather know about what Ghost is :P

It's almost like you can chop off the /blog/3-0/ part of the URL and it brings you to a magical homepage that explains exactly that.

Do you really expect them to explain what their software is in every single blog post they make about it?

As a general comment, not in any way related to Ghost blog:

> It's almost like you can chop off the /blog/3-0/

It's an annoyance of mine in so many company blogs that going to their actual product is so oddly difficult. Sure, I can chop off the URL because I understand what that is, but what about non-technical users? They understand links, not a damn thing goes back to the core product.

It's so weird to me that so many blogs are built around user engagement and SEO, while lacking back linking to the actual product at all.

I've never understood it, but I see it so so often.

You can click on the header without resorting to any URL manipulation. When I load the page, I see ghost, Product, Developers, etc, across the top, and even as I scroll, the 'The Ghost Blog' stays with me, always clickable to reach the homepage.

I'm not sure how going to their actual product could be made any more simple or predictable. Do you have a suggestion?

Nope, I'll edit my post - I was merely talking about what the parent comment said, not anything about Ghost.

The fact that they described modifying the URL made me think of so many blogs I see without back links. I wasn't referring to Ghost at all (I mentioned that, but I'll make it more clear).

Sorry for any confusion :)


Slightly off-topic question: Is a handful of the Ghost team based in Bali? I know the team is 100% remote and I've noticed multiple laptops with Ghost stickers at my co-working center.

Not permanently, but there were quite a few of us in Bali this year (I think 7 at one point) working from Tropical Nomad. Now we've all moved on again!

I was the initial backer for Ghost when it was first on kickstarter, i was very excited about the prospect. But after it release i felt quite cheated. The progress was insanely slow, there were a discussion about responsive images on their github which lasted probably months before anything was done about it. It was very limiting still months after its initial release. Naturally i lost interest.

> The hard part is the publishing platform to integrate with the subscriptions and the billing - that's the part nobody else is doing - and we were getting pretty good at building a flexible, modern publishing platform.

Doesn't Medium sort of do this? I get that you can't run your own instance or bill specifically for just your content, but otherwise it seems very similar.

The two caveats/differences you mentioned are the biggest complaints against Medium. Medium is a fantastic platform for finding an audience when you don’t have one already. It’s an awesome way to just write and get your work out there.

As the post mentions, Ghost 3.0 is targeted at people like Ben Thompson (in the extreme case) who have an audience passionate/supportive/large enough to pay them directly and who want to own the entire relationship with no middleman.

Has the JSON file structure changed in v3? I am trying to migrate from WordPress to Ghost and I was going to use v2, but now that v3 is out, I would like to migrate to v3.


It hasn't changed (see https://ghost.org/docs/api/v3/migration/)

But also, https://wordpress.org/plugins/ghost/ has been overhauled to export from WP into a format you can import straight into Ghost 3.0.

That is awesome -- I was looking to roll my own. This will make it much easier.

I've never tried Ghost, although their website always appealed to me (one of the best designed website I know). I've been using WordPress for the past 13 years, for personal and also professional projects, which means the familiarity I've built with building custom themes never drew me towards trying another CMS.

But going through this blog post announcement, I saw that Ghost can be used as a headless CMS with frontend frameworks. And since I started using GatsbyJS extensively in the past year, it seems like something that would work _really_ well together.

(It turns out that the official website is actually built with GatsbyJS, so the integration is probably really robust.)

Gonna try it out! And congrats on remaining true to your initial philosophy.

Looks great, the payments integration is a great idea.

I've looked at Ghost on and off while considering setting up my personal site, and pricing is the reason I avoided it. I think they started at $5/month for "Ghost Pro" and are now up to $36 for Pro Basic or $99 for Pro Standard (a bit less purchased in bulk). At a minimum, it's now $348/year.

Having paid subscriptions built-in makes that easier to swallow. I don't want any 3rd party ad networks on my site, so subscriptions could help offset the high costs.

Wouldn't help me personally since my site isn't very active and wouldn't get subscribers, but I imagine this will work for some other folks.

I self host on a $5/month VPS and it works fine. Granted, I don't really have much traffic, but it sounds like you don't either.

Not much traffic, no. But "spend as little time administrating it as possible" was a goal that had me looking into managed options.

Hugo + Netlify is working well, some up-front work in the setup since I didn't want to use a premade Hugo theme, but when I update anything it just takes two commands to rebuild and upload:

    netlify deploy --prod
I'll eventually simplify that further since Netlify can run hugo builds automatically from changes to a git branch.

Beyond that, it's just publish and forget. And the page speed is great (Google scores it at 99) since Netlify is serving it off of a CDN.

Have you considered self-hosting a Ghost instance?

I did consider it, but I ended up putting a Hugo site on Netlify instead. It's nice to not worry about any database backend or other hosting infrastructure.

With Netlify's continuous deployment system being able to run Hugo builds, I should also be able to hook it up to GitHub so that I can post from an iPad without being able to run hugo locally. Haven't gotten around to that, but I think it'll be a good setup.

I dig Ghost, but there are any number of client apps (like MarsEdit) that play great with WordPress but not at all with Ghost. Are there plugins that let it support a more widely used API so that it works well with those clients?

Fantastic work John!

The membership feature looks amazing and I honestly am very impressed by your landing page since I work on something a bit similar :).

The Stripe Billing integration sounds exciting, but I am curious about the 0% transaction fees. Stripe usually takes 2.9%+30c on charges and Stripe Billing costs 0.4$ (free for the first $1M so we can ignore that).

Did you negotiate some kind of a special deal with Stripe or the 0% means that YOU don't take additional fees, but Stripe fees are still there?

You connect your own Stripe account - so whatever fees are there are specific to your setup. They vary widely based on your country, the customer's country, currency and volume. The main difference with Ghost is that there are no additional platform transaction fees - which there usually are with every other product in this space (generally another +5% - +10%. Hope that helps to clarify!

The most shocking thing about this post, to me, is that they've only made $5M revenue in 6 years. After expenses, that's got to be a really small profit.

Is this low for open source projects? I mean, I'd imagine it's low compared to WordPress.org -- but compared to other projects of its size this doesn't seem low to me.

I wonder if taking the JAMStack route won't prevent you to become a real alternative to Medium by making ActivityPub (federation) implementation harder ?

Watch this space :)

If ActivityPub is the next big feature count me in !

Congratulations on the release. I like the direction that they're going and it feels like the only thing that it is missing to be able to replace the backend on a LOT of sites is being able to add some type of custom fields (simple key values) to posts. That combined with the subscription/membership they've added here would be an very powerful platform for many uses.

Great to see a new major release! I have used Ghost in a couple of projects, and I am always impressed with the functionality & the flexibility to use it how you want.

The built in editor and admin panel is great, but the real sweetness comes from the REST API. The ability to integrate into any custom website is fantastic!

Very cool that I can use Ghost as a headless CMS now. Going to have to give it a try.

Native comment system yet?

Any plans for a multi tenant setup with memberships?


I'm curious what your purpose was in leaving this comment? What were you trying to add to the conversation?

Asking if people actually still use Ghost?

And what do you expect the answer to that question to be? They just released a new major version and announced $5MM revenue in the same post.

Seriously, think for a second and tell me what you expect the answer to be.


You can self-host Ghost for free: https://github.com/TryGhost

If you're going to create a new account to hide behind in order to criticize someone else's work, you ought to at least be correct in your criticism.

This account is suspicious. It appears to have been created solely to denigrate Ghost.

Give the name, I would say they're warming up on Ghost before they take on all of SaaS. Little do they know this kind of thing never lasts.

Or you could install it yourself for nothing (other than your time and hosting costs, of course, but if you have the time spare and a server/VM with available resource already...): https://ghost.org/docs/setup/

Thanks for the comment. I honestly didn't consider trying it on a VM. I've been thinking of migrating my blog off of wordpress since I don't really like my old design and the actual writing interface isn't great. However I didn't want to have to mess with getting it on my AWS instance if it wasn't going to work.

I'll stage it up locally and see how I like it. I used ghost for a while in the 1.0 days, but I had an issue with an upgrade and I ended up switching back to wordpress. I also was super into single pane transparent design at the time. These days I just want my writing to be easy to read and navigate. Cheers, and thanks again.

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