Getting started with my blog

Hello guys, 1 month ago I started a blog using ghost CMS. it is super clean and easy to use, but I have a few troubles which I would like to fix. If you can help me it will be great.

First of all my blog is a totally non-profit information venture so I cannot pay 5 dollars here, 10 dollars there to get basic stuff like search option, popup option for gdpr, comment option. It seems that Ghost platform is made for people with very deep pockets and exclusive for people who understand coding. That is the thing that I didn’t know before converting from WordPress.

If you know any free and I mean free… not like a trial or until 1000 visits it is free but later it is 25 dollars… alternative for search, comments, etc. I will be very grateful…

For now, this is a very painful experience, I hope CMS alone will get these basic things in the future.

Have a nice day and have a great start of a week. Kind regards

Hello, I made a similar discovery! However I also found a few ways to reduce the bill:

  • Hosting on DigitalOcean where a personal blog fits on a $5 droplet, it did require a few technical skills (using SSH) but that wasn’t too much.
  • Analytics with GoatCounter (free for personal use), no cookie and no GDPR notice needed.
  • Comments with Commentbox (free under 100 comments / month)
  • There’s some free search tools in the forum (e.g.), or for example I see that the free Liebling theme has search included.

None of these require coding skills by the way, just copying-pasting a bit of code in the “code injection” box in your blog settings.

I agree that the apparent simplicity of Ghost is deceiving if you are not a techy person, as I quickly found out that going beyond the basics require either more payments, or technical skills. I’m taking this as an opportunity to re-learn forgotten skills, but it’s clearly not for everybody.


Thanks for a reply.
I already use $5 droplet from digital ocean which is really cheap. The search tool looks very good and I think I will start using it.
I don’t like 100comments/month. Because topic which I do is conversational in my area so I think that I will with a little bit of marketing hit that limit very fast. :sleepy: :sleepy:

Thanks for helpful comment :slight_smile:

For comments, if you will have a lot of conversations, it also makes sense to pay a bit for that :slight_smile: . Other ones I have found include Talkyard (€2 for 1k replies per month), Hyvor talk (free under 40k pageviews per month), Cove ($5, but only with your Ghost logged-in members I think), Commento ($99/year).

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Hi @mitkomitrovski!

I am the developper behind SearchinGhostEASY. You probably won’t need my help but just in case, feel free to send me a message if you need a hand.

About the comments services out there, if you are not too conserned about your users data privacy, the best free option is probably Disqus. Easy to setup, no usage limitation.

For the hosting, there is also an even cheaper solution from OVH with a $3.50 per month. OVH is the leading cloud provider in France and the infrastructure is solid so I think it is a good price for a VPS.

And finally, in the analytics fields, I personally tested Matomo. It was OK but there is probably more lightweight solutions.

Hope you will find the right solutions for your needs :smiley:

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thank you for your help, it seems that you already crossed the path that I am crossing right now. will check all of these in the future

Oh, nice to hear that you are part of this forum. I already installed your search option and made it work for me. It is just what I need, lightweight, good looking and simple. Great job for this one! if there is some donation button I would be glad to donate few bucks :wink:
Now I am looking at how to convert language so instead of Search it is written (“Pretraga”).

Regarding Disqus, I checked it, but it seems that in free plan they have some ads included inside of comments. I am trying to make my blog ads free, so this is not working for me for now. but if I don’t find something better there is big probability that Disqus is a way to go.
Thanks for your time and help.

Hi there,

what is your feedback/review of Liebling theme and Ghostcounter?

thank you.

@mitkomitrovski, thanks! Happy to see that it is useful to people. Great improvment idea, I will create a new option to write what even you want as search text placeholder in the next release.

I did not create a donation/payment button. It is purely free and open-source minded, if people enjoy using what I made, that is the only thing that matters :smiley:

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:fist_right: :fist_left: thank you very much!

I see this has been resolved, but in case someone else comes along: Midnight offers Ghost hosting for a lower price than the official Ghost one (starting $15/mo). More expensive than the VPS you’re using, but would be useful to someone without the tech skills.

Personally, I’m using the free Heroku plan with Ghost on Heroku, and keeping my database and images (via WebDAV) on HelioHost. But the final site presented to users is via an SSG (Gatsby) on Netlify. Complicated but free :crazy_face:

Hi MereCivilian,

GoatCounter (not GhostCounter!) is great - very simple and seems to do the job. The Liebling theme is fats, good-looking and simple, the author is very responsive and keeps improving it. It doesn’t have advanced membership features, just sign-up, but that’s enough for me.

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Not resolved. I am still trying to find good looking and free solution for comments. :sweat_smile:

Thank your for the clarification. I mixed up Ghost and Goat in my mind lol

Will certainly give it a go.