New project on Ghost(Pro) or self-hosted?

Hi everyone,

Having been a long-time fan of everything to do with Ghost (I pretty much support everything you guys are doing and am a part of a free forum software myself called Flarum), I wanted to use the platform for my very own personal online presence. I intend to get into streaming in the near future and wanted to create a central base establishing my presence in the gaming community. Well, the internet in general. I am not a professional and although I have the basics down pat when it comes to coding, I am by no means proficient. I have set up all kinds of things on my server before from blogs to forums so I’m definitely up for the challenge in learning something new though and tend to try and figure things out myself before jumping the gun in requesting support.

Apart from the items outlined on the docs and alternatives pages, what exactly is the difference between installing it myself or going with Ghost(Pro)? I’ve read some topics on this forum too but most that I have seen are outdated.

I am a perfectionist and always want things to be on my own server which is why I’m in this predicament as I have done my research and find so many people posting about how good Ghost(Pro) is. I like tampering with the simple things like footers (copyrights, ownership and the like), how things are displayed, giving my users a means of simply exploring the site, etc. What I want out of this project is a place where someone can find me, read up about me and join me in my future ventures and prospects. This would be a way of me having something out of the usual Twitch/Discord/forum scene, and allows me to build the site exactly how I want it to be without having too many constraints or issues.

I personally have a thing for this site, 27B/6. I love the minimalist approach and find it extremely easy to use with no clutter and it displays quite nicely. Would something like this be achievable using this platform?

In a nutshell, what I intend to use the site for include;

  • Publishing posts and articles, perhaps the odd review or tips and tricks, product discussions, etc
  • Establishing my online presence in the form of my alias (to begin with of course, who knows what the future holds!)
  • I may look into generating an income (in some way, shape or form) too

Of course the above is a summed up version but I’m sure you get my drift. The price doesn’t phase me too much as the monthly charges for hosting is higher on my end, but I have a thing for paying for something that I already have if that makes sense. Regardless of my decision, I intend on supporting Ghost with a donation of some kind should things work out and this project go ahead.

I have some questions for you as well;

  • Members - What is this exactly? Are these total visitors to my site or are these paid users of my site? How are they labelled as a member? Do they require registering to my site, creating their own account, etc? Do I pick and choose who a member is?
  • Is the 500 member limit at any one time? If one member leaves and another joins to replace him/her, that won’t add to the cap?
  • Should I opt for Ghost(Pro) and decide later to self-host, do I get access to all of my files to transfer over?

I may add this this list as things pop into my mind and after reading your replies. Thanks in advance guys and sorry for the essay…

Self host. Use unraid, install the ghost docker, mariadb docker, and cloudflare docker for reverse proxy and as a CDN. Boom! Free website!

Thanks for your reply shodandad, much appreciated mate.

Can you elaborate more on why I should simply go with a self-hosted instance of Ghost? I know it’s as simple as that, but I don’t mind the idea of using my time for site functions and publishing content as opposed to dealing with the admin or backend so much.

I’m just on the fence to be honest so any insights, opinions, suggestions and comments would be great!

Free, and with docker you don’t have to worry about the backend. You literally click a few buttons and it updates the backend for you.

Pretty awesome!

Look at the plugin/theme you might want to use in short term and how much you are ready to pay for it.

Personally, I was keen to support Ghost by choosing the Pro version then I made my list of plugin I would like to use and 25$/m is quite a lot for me, so I decided to host my 3ghosts on a 5$ Linode with OpenLiteSpeed, which give me plenty of choice and great performance. Such as 2 example; I’m able to sync my tweaked theme from github and use n8n instead of zapier.

Maybe in long term I’ll switch to the Pro version, but for now I’m just fishing and testing the market.

Do the pro and cons, try the pro version for 14days, look at the performance, versus if you host yourself

Ghost is pretty easy to import/export.

That’s a good insight, thanks mate. I have a list of pros and cons already and I’m still on the fence unfortunately. There aren’t any stand out plugins or themes that I’ll need as I want to just start off with something basic and purchase necessary features/benefits as they come up.

Are hidden pages (accessible via direct URL) possible with Ghost as well? For example, if I create a page to be linked to with my community, they will be able to see it but I don’t want the page listed on the site for public access.

@shodandad Thanks for the feedback, shodandad.

Hey there @Prosperous
Hidden pages are definitely possible. Page creation is independent of the menu, so you can create lots of pages and choose not to link to them.
Here are my 2 cents… if the cost is reasonable to you, start with Ghost(Pro). See if you like the platform and what it has to offer. Then if you run into a roadblock or limitation, spin up your own. You can export your data from Ghost, and import it into your new server.
I’m running my own Ghost on a $5/month Digital Ocean server and it runs perfectly. Easy to manage and never had a problem. I started with the popular Casper theme and tweaked it a little (thepaulcushing.com). My initial setup probably took 5 or 6 hours of playing around with it, but now I haven’t touched it except to apply an update once every 3 months or so. (Aside from writing the occasional blog post)
As they say, “You can’t plan for everything or you never get started in the first place.” The barrier to entry is low either way, and I don’t think you can go wrong unless you don’t give it a shot. :smile:
Good luck!

Hi @pcushing, thanks for your reply mate.

Good news! I intend on making some pages that aren’t available to the public unless I directly link them to it. Do you have any answers for some of the other questions I have posted in my first post?

$9 per month is quite reasonable. It’s not about the money factor, it’s just the fact that I wanted to keep everything in the one place/server. I’m a bit pedantic when it comes to these things so having things hosted in different places just confuses me. I am definitely leaning more towards going for Ghost(Pro) so far though.

Your site looks good! I’m going for a little bit of a different set up but I’m sure Ghost will be able to provide me with all the features I need. My back up is to just stick with WordPress but I’ve used them countless times before and wanted to explore alternatives.

Ain’t that right… It’s difficult planning everything for perfection. I think my best bet is to just jump into the deep end with what I have now and go from there. Thanks again for your help mate.

Oh, the Members question.

Members are folks who’ve “subscribed” to your site. You can set up a paid subscription, (using Stripe for payments), or you can offer a free subscription. On the self-hosted version, there isn’t a limit, so I’m unsure of exactly how it works on Ghost(Pro), but I’m sure it’s about current subscribers.

You’ll find a good overview of Ghost Membership stuff at Introduction to Members.

Perfect, thanks for clarifying that mate.

Who then becomes a Member? Is it anyone that registers/subscribes, or only those that pay for a subscription on your site?