The migration from Wordpress to Ghost has been an interesting one, at times even frustrating. Caused in part by the limited amount of online help available.
Whilst Ghost is STILL growing in popularity, resources are still limited, as I found myself. Due to this I thought it might be useful to others to publish the tools I use for paulobrien.com.
Table of Contents
- Ghost Hosting Provider
- Digital Press
- DNS Provider
- Website Analytics
- Website Comments
If something is free, ask yourself, what's the catch? - You will notice that nearly all the solutions listed below come as a cost, but unlike a lot of the free alternatives on the market, you pay with cash and not privacy and data. You get what you pay for and if you take your website seriously then carry on reading.
My hosting journey started with a small droplet at Digital Ocean, which I found OK to start with. Then I tried to configure a www → http redirect using the command line, and things started to go horribly wrong.
The problems were caused by myself, no fault of Digital Ocean. But it made me realise I needed a more managed approach.
There aren't many specialised hosting providers for Ghost CMS on the market, so it didn't take me long to find a new home for my blog. I decided on the Digital Press standard plan costing €12.90 per month.
Here are my reasons why.
👷🏻♂️ Digital Press do all the hard work. You simply signup, choose a blog name, decide either to use one of their sub domains yourdomain.digitalpress.blog or a custom domain, yourdomain.com and within a few minutes you are up and running.
- 👻 Digital Press handle all future updates to the Ghost platform, so you don't have to worry about updating the script via command line.
- 💾 Backups are automatic, so if the worse was to happen, they can restore your site from one of their regular backups.
- 👍🏻 Support is Fantastic - I migrated over to them on a bank holiday and received fast and precise help throughout the day.
- 🏎️ Super Fast hosting - Hosting is configured specifically for Ghost so page loading is turbo.
- 🔐 No need to worry about the SSL certificate or re-directs, they're also taken care of.
🤯 Unbelievably, there is even a free plan which can be used with your own domain name.
💻 DNS Provider
DNS plays a critical role for your website, in terms of speed, security and availability. I decided to go with cloudflare.com as they offer a free account which comes packed with fantastic features. Like advanced DNS, forced HTTPS page loading, traffic monitoring, DDOS attack defence and a CDN.
Plus a ton of other features. Too many to list here
For anyone going down the Digital Press hosting route, you may want to consider cloudflare.com as they support CNAME records at root level, which as I found out, the likes of Google Domains and Digital Ocean do not.
📊 Website Analytics
The default go-to for analytics is normally Google. But I am seldom one to stick to the norm. So I spent some time researching alternative solutions and decided upon plausible.io. Unlike Google they do not offer a free plan but you can get started from only $6 per month. There are lots of reasons to choose plausable.io over Google Analytics, with page loading speeds and data ownership being just a couple.
You can read their article What Makes Plausible a great Google Analytics alternative here for a full comparison.
I like Plausible a lot. I find the reports easier to understand than Googles. It also feels good supporting an alternative solution by paying a small monthly fee.
💬 Website Comments
I am not a massive fan of website comments and I'm still not sure if I'll continue to integrate them into my site, but I felt I should at least give them a go.
Starting with the most popular comments app, I signed-up to Disqus, which seemed fairly easy to setup and looked quite nice. But, I soon realised there were some downsides with going free, page bloating, privacy concerns and even adverts. All off putting and not what I wanted on my website.
I did consider their paid version at $11.00 per month but that wouldn't fix the page loading time, so I continued my search and after reading a few comments on a Subreddit, decided to give Commento.io a go.
At only $10 per month, it's a small price to pay for better privacy. a clean and modern design and a faster web experience. Disqus adds upwards of a megabyte to a page compared to Commento.io at only 15 KB total.
Services like Disqus and Facebook comments aren't really free — you pay by giving up your privacy and personal data
💬 Always happy to be contacted, the best way is to send me an email ✉️ [email protected]
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