Lightweight comments and analytics

Hello, I’m starting to set up a self-hosted personal blog (may switch to Ghost Pro later if it becomes something growing…). At the moment I’m looking for simple, lightweight and privacy-respecting analytics and comments integrations.

For comments I would like something where visitors can just enter a name and email to comment - my audience is unlikely to use a lot of SSO. I have found Commento and commentbox which allow either anonymous or sign-in comments, but not just a name & email. Is there any other suggestions? Disqus adds ads and tracking, and Discourse seems overkill.

For analytics, I’m thinking of Plausible which, along with Fathom, seems simple and lightweight enough to use. Is there experience of hosting this alongside Ghost?

Thank you!

Have you seen Ghostboard?


Check out Cove by @dan

On the topic of Cove @dan, will Google index comments? I’m using Disqus at the moment, because I really like the post reaction widget (literally, that’s all). If Cove could build this feature in, I’d move to it. But I’d also want comments to be crawl enabled.


Thanks benravetta, it looks good though for a personal blog I’d be more looking at something self-hosted to minimise cost (it all adds up a bit for a hobby…). And Cove seems to rely on membership too, it’s unclear what happens if you don’t turn on membership?

I use Disqus, and you can turn off the ads/tracking stuff inside the dashboard. I think Cove is specifically commenting for subscribers, you’re right. But there are other options out there. Most obvious is Commento, which you can self host.

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Thank you!
Having looked a bit more through forums and example sites, and in the interest of self-hosting, I’m thinking of going with ISSO for comments as it is the kind of simplicity I am after, and GoAccess for analytics from the server logs - as mentioned in this thread. Will reply here to say how it’s gone!


GoAccess looks very interesting, I hadn’t seen this until now. Thanks! And good luck!


Hey @curiousdungbeetle

I’ve been looking for an open-source commenting plugin as well, were you able to find a tutorial to implement ISSO into a Ghost theme?

Hi Ben. Comments should be crawled by Google as typically they can crawl injected content.

I haven’t got to a reaction widget for a page yet. I’m undecided if that’s something Cove should have, or if it should stick to comments. Thanks for the idea/input!

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If you don’t turn Members on, Cove will not work. The Members feature contains the authentication system that Cove requires to identify who is commenting.

Thanks @dan, I think it would be a great addition. Perhaps with a minimal kind of look that suits Cove.

Hello. I have managed to install both GoAccess and Isso, and I am happy with both.

GoAccess was painless thanks to these excellent tutorials by @GainfulShrimp

Isso has been testing my skills!! Not recommended if the last time you managed a server was 15 years ago (like me). I tried with ubuntu package (outdated), with Docker (buggy), with pip install (buggy), and what ended up working was installing with pip using the latest github master. This tutorial has been very helpful, but installing using pip3 install git+git:// --no-binary :all:. This post shows how to embed in Ghost in post.hbs. And here’s my config in case of interest.

Overall very happy to have minimalist tools, that are not intrusive for users, and just useful for a small personal blog.


Really pleased to hear that the GoAccess tutorials helped, @curiousdungbeetle! :slight_smile:

I had the same pain with the latest PyPi package for Isso being broken. In my case, I fixed it by pip-uninstalling the auto-installed version of workzeug package and installing a compatible version, but only after trawling Github issues etc to work out what was going wrong…
It’s sad, because installing Isso was easy until recently. I hope they get the package updated soon as it’ll no doubt be putting people off what is a great little lightweight commenting system imho.

One thing you might like to do is look into the data-isso-css="true" attribute in the Isso client settings, which prevents - when set to false - automatic injection of the default Isso CSS. It means you can define your own CSS, which I did because I use (modified) Casper theme - including the dark mode CSS.
My Isso comments also have their own dark mode CSS tweaks so they look OK on either light (the default) or dark preference (according to the OS setting, on supported browsers).
If you decide to use custom CSS, as a starter, you can use the default Isso client CSS and modify to suit.


Try for comments.
You can customize anonymous comment to require email, site etc

Hyvor Talk’s customisation is nice but for now I prefer to self-host - and the privacy policy leaves me with a few questions…

Oooh interesting, thank you! Will definitely try the CSS customisation.

An update on analytics: I have found GoatCounter (Thanks to a big list on Plausible’s blog), and it rocks: free for personal use - though I will likely make a small recurring contribution, very easy, very lightweight, and respects privacy. I could also self-host it, but it is so easy and well done… for me, it rocks!

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For anyone reading along who’s looking for a commenting system, I’ve just launched a new “native” commenting system called Evergreen into closed alpha and am looking for early users.

As an early user, your feedback would shape the development of the product and inform the decisions I make as I build it out.

It’s a “plug-and-play” option, rather than self-hosted. (So if self-hosting is important to you, it’s probably not a fit.)

My goal is to provide a seamless commenting experience that works well with Ghost’s built-in login system without requiring any coding chops to integrate or manage.

If you’re interested in joining the closed alpha, you can fill out this form and I’ll reach out to onboard you.