I've always loved the concept of Ghost. It's the (relatively) new kid on the block compared to WordPress and having competition is healthy. Recently, I ran CMS Critic on Ghost for a brief period using their paid Ghost Pro option, here's my Ghost Pro review and why I moved back to WordPress.
For those unfamiliar with Ghost Pro, it's basically an offering from the makers of the Ghost blogging platform that is fully hosted and managed by their support teams. Pricing ranges from around $29 to $199 per month (when billed annually).
The initial appeal of trying something different led me to run this site on Ghost Pro for a period of about 4 months (January until May 1 this year) as a trial. During that time, I came across a number of positives and a number of negatives. Sadly, the negatives outweighed everything else so I ended up moving back to WordPress (which the site is now running on again as of this article).
- The editor is simple and easy to use and makes Gutenberg look like it was developed by monkeys (and not smart ones).
- The speed at which you can navigate the dashboard, publish a post and perform tasks is significantly better than WordPress.
- The fact that I didn't have to rely on any plugins for SEO unlike WordPress which pretty much makes Yoast or something similar mandatory (and you can argue with me on that if you like but you'll still be wrong as far as I'm concerned).
- Ghost does not have a media library therefore every time you write a post, you need to re-upload any images for it. This means that if you write quite a bit about WordPress and typically use the logo for your featured image, for example, you'll be uploading that logo every time for each post. This is just silly and poor management of images and disk space.
- NO ftp or SSH access. I can somewhat understand the no SSH part but for the hundred dollar a month range, not being able to use FTP and grab files or upload files to my server simply makes me mad. I don't want to have to email (and wait for) their support every time I need to do this.
- Support is slow. If you are on the middle plan ($99 monthly if you don't take an annual plan) you only get support Monday to Friday so if your site goes down (on a HOSTED AND MANAGED PLAN mind you) you will be out of luck until Monday. Someone tell me I'm crazy for thinking this is ridiculous. Furthermore, their support is just slow.Here's a scenario to help you understand: I emailed Ghost Support on a Saturday asking for an image export so I could move back to WordPress. I received a reply at 6:30 Monday morning asking me to do a security verification (no prob, did that and replied back literally 1 minute later). I didn't get a reply back from them again until almost noon. That's 5 hours. The export I wanted was 3 gigs and doesn't take 5 hours to prepare. Sorry but for “premium” support, that's too slow for this guy.
“Thanks for reaching out! We're not able to load files into the root directory of your site.“I was then told I could add it to my theme and upload it which would then make it accessible at the root of my website, so I asked if they could do that for me. The answer was no.Hm, so what can they do for me then for $99 month?
Now let's discuss why I feel so entitled as to think that they SHOULD be able to do these things for me. It's simple. I'm with BigScoots as my hosting provider of choice when running WordPress and I don't think there's anything I've ever asked them within reason that they've ever said no to. In fact, I'm pretty sure they've done things for me that I totally didn't even expect so why should it be a different experience with Ghost Pro. In short, it shouldn't.
Ghost itself is a solid blogging platform with some great features and an excellent editor but when combined with the hosted offering, Ghost Pro, there are too many shortcomings to make it something worth investing in.