Building a new Blog/Website is 2023 is easy. Believe it or not, due to the HUGE amount of options, the hardest part is to choose what you will actually use for your Website/Site.
Today I'll be doing a quick comparison and I'll share my personal reasons to choose Ghost instead of WordPress.
That is the first question that I to did myself was "which kind of site I really need?"
WordPress is flexible and you can definitely achieve a great design without coding. You can also have great features without coding and you can get a lot for free. For TheSelfHostingArt, I just wanted to write and have a blog. There is no direct ecommerce, no landing page, nothing really complex, I just wanted a simple way to write.
The defualt way to write posts in WordPress nowadays is using Gutenberg, the new block editor. While you can still use the old way (Classic editor), you probably want to adapt yourself to it. Gutenberg is easy to use most of the time and have great features while you are writing (you can use / to choose the block type, so you can easily create a title, subtitle, image, link, paragraph, block of code etc).
There are however two main issues with Gutenberg in my opinion:
- Performance sucks. Yep, that is right. Try to write a large and complex post. You will quickly notice that the editor becomes slow. It will take time to write new words and you will feel laggy all the time. They are working on it, but for now it's definitely not as good as the Classic Editor used to be in terms of performance. Do you doubt me? Ok, just try to add more blocks at this page. Specially if you are on a older computer, you will notice how laggy it is to spam words and blocks. The CPU usage will also increase by a great margin at your browser.
- No good dark mode. I love to write in the night and I still can't believe that WordPress doesn't have a dark mode. I'm sure that there are more people hating the white screen of the post editor in the night. Of course, there are some plugins like "Dark my site". They help with that, but you can easily notice that it is not well integrated. It will show some bad colors on some selectors. It's annoying specially if you are building your site with a block theme, which is a popular way to build new WP sites.
Ghost on the other side, have a editor called "Koenig". It is a full markdown editor, which is a great thing for me since I love writing in markdown.
The performance absolutely beats gutenberg and they have a AWESOME native dark mode. It's everything that I need . The experience of writing a large post on Koenig is much better than on Gutenberg. You can test the editor here.
For my usage, I really don't see any downsides comapred to Gutenberg, just benefits. That was one of the main reasons on why I choose Ghost.
I love fast sites. You probably love it too.
In WordPress, you can have a fast website, however, it will require a lot of work from your side. You need a fast theme, a fast hosting with a great CDN and a great caching engine. You also need to reduce hearbeat API frequency and do a few additional things to remove features you don't use and remove the bloat.
In Ghost, while you can benefit from a great hosting, a great CDN and a caching engine, you don't really need anything extra unless you have a LOT of traffic. In this post I added 12 tips that you must follow to have a fast Ghost site: All tips are blank. That is the point of Ghost. It was created to be a leaner WordPress and it is using nodeJS instead of PHP. In the last benchmark that I found about Ghost vs Wordpress, Ghost was 19 times faster than WordPress. You may think that it doesn't matters because you can cache WordPress.
Sure, you can cache WordPress just like you can cache Ghost. But what happens when the cache isn't created or when the page is dynamic? That is right, WP will be slow while Ghost will be blazing fast, even without caching.
In theselfhosting.art I'm using full page cache with BunnyCDN (I will do a guide about it soon). That ensures a great global performance, but even without a CDN, my Ghost site blows any WP site in real world performance. PageSpeed may be tricked and is stupid to test sites in my opinion. What really matters is the real world speed. And Ghost absolutely blows WP in this case.
WordPress is really famous. It's the number #1 target for hackers because there are a lot of vulnerable plugins and themes. Also, there are a lot of bots trying to hack WP all the time. Just create a new WP site, install a brute force protection and check the logs. Even without having any content, bots will be trying to hack you.
Although I agree that WP core code is safe overall (most security issues don't come from the core), it's undeniable that WP isn't safe by default. Try to use a host that don't offer a great security and hackers will be hitting xmlrpc.php and /wp-admin all the time to hack you. There is no brute force protection by default, so you must tweak a few things to get more secure.
Ghost was built with security in mind. That is right, there is no xmlrpc.php, no vulnerable plugins (there are no plugins at all) and Ghost has less security problems than WordPress overall. It comes with built in brute force protection and by default only logged users can comment. Sure, Ghost already had some critical security issues, but they were fixed quickly by the developers.
Ghost also don't save the password of your subscribers. They actually have no passwords at all. They can only login using a magic link, so even if your site is compromised, no one will have to worry about their data because you are not saving it.
Ghost also have a feature called "SQLi Prevention" which prevents a lot of SQL injection attacks.
It's clear that by default, Ghost is way more safe than WordPress. You can make WP safe too, but by default Ghost is much safer, that is undeniable.
As I said, this is a personal list. Plugins are great on WordPress, but each plugin added reduces your speed a bit and increases your chance of getting hacked (if the plugin is somehow vulnerable, you can get hacked).
Also, plugins are often expensive. The demand is high, so prices are also high in the WP world. With Ghost, I have to adapt myself to the features that it contains, but I'm not spendign extra money with plugins. I've security by default, speed by defualt and SEO by default. On WP you would need at least some free plugins to achieve that. For a better performance and more customization, you usually need a premium theme, which comes with a price too. That is all free in Ghost, so it's definitely a good thing for me.
I'm not saying that WordPress is a bad project. It is still amazing, but for my site, Ghost was definitely a much better choice. I love the editor, performance and security that I have right now.
With that said, I can't foresee the future, so if I ever need something that I can't achieve with Ghost, I might move to WordPress.
If you are also in doubt about WP vs Ghost, see the plugins and themes that you would need, compare the costs that you would have and see if there is any Ghost theme that you likes. If there is, your site will look very similar to the theme since there isn't much customization that you can do inside Ghost compared to WordPress.
WordPress may be better if you don't mind about having to tweak more and if you don't mind about Gutenberg. It will give you more features and it's definitely better than Ghost for a landing page for example.
If you are looking to write a lot, Ghost will probably be the better choice. I choose Ghost, and I'm loving the experience so far.
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