Remote Content for Local Theme Development

I have a Ghost website ( which runs a custom theme.

To develop my custom theme, I run a local Ghost instance. To populate the local instance with content, I import the content from my production website via the “Export your content” feature in Settings>Labs.

There are some issues with this approach. For example, the “Export” feature does not include images, and to get the images I need to take some additional steps. Furthermore, as I keep adding content, keeping local content up-to-date becomes a chore.

I am looking for a way to “connect” my local Ghost instance to my production instance so that all content on my production server is mirrored in the local, and I have an up-to-date view of my content as I develop my theme.

This should be possible with the Content API, but what would be a reasonable way to implement it?

This is a great question, and I’m excited to hear how other devs approach this challenge.

First, does your development site need to be 1:1 copy of the original? If it has similar data, is that enough to do theme development?

Alternatively, you could edit your export file to use the production image URLs. Your Ghost export will use __GHOST_URL__ for the first part of the path. If you find and replace this to, then your images should load without having to download them.