Blog status update (April 2021): Eight months with Ghost

Website artwork

Last updated on July 8th, 2023

A short update on the current status quo for the blog since the last time I wrote on such (back in November).

Comments are back (such as they are)

Since switching from WordPress to Ghost last year, I’d been looking for a comment system, as Ghost doesn’t have such built-in. Unfortunately, all the ones I tried:

  • Cost as much as my web hosting runs per month (or more),
  • Required too much technical skill (or resulted in too many technical problems) to self-host, and/or
  • Came with other concerns: Disqus threw up errors/had technical problems, and Facebook Comments are, well, Facebook.

As such, the default for months was directing users to my Facebook and Twitter pages for comments.

Recently, I’ve been giving a new comment system a try: Remarkbox. It offers a free tier, is easy to use, and doesn’t seem to come with the problems of Disqus/Facebook Comments. One downside is it lacks anti-spam controls; however, manually approving all comments helps.

While things are working OK for now, it’d be nice if Ghost added native comments.

Ghost screenshot
Default Ghost appearance. Image by Linux Screenshots (Flickr / CC BY)

Eight months on Ghost

This marks the eighth month of using Ghost as a content management system (CMS). The previously listed pros mostly still stand:

  • No multiple plugins to manage like in WordPress.
  • A better editor (WYSIWYG or Markdown) than WordPress’ Gutenberg one (part of what drove me off WordPress in the first place).
  • Some elements are built-in versus requiring an add-on plug-in (SEO support, etc.).

As for the cons, besides the lack of native comments:

  • No built-in site search. After initially going with DuckDuckGo, I opted to go with Google for in-site search, as it had better search results.
  • No media gallery like WordPress. I’d have to copy an image URL (and grapple with HTML) if I wanted to reuse a previous post’s image, versus re-uploading it into the current post.
  • No built-in analytics, and (like comments) setting up a self-hosted system wasn’t easy. Thus, I’m using Google Analytics.
  • Few themes exist for Ghost, especially free ones. I’d like a theme with an actual sidebar, but don’t want to pay $150 for such.
  • Ghost relies on Node.js among other tech, and thus there are relatively few web hosts that support Ghost. It’s also hard to manually install, though fortunately tools like Digital Ocean’s one-click installer exist. Still, if I ever want to switch webhosts and keep running Ghost, the options are limited.

For now, I’m still sticking with Ghost as a CMS, but will let you all know if anything changes.

Image by Mudassar Iqbal from Pixabay

Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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