Where to Host Your Ghost Blog
There are many different places to host your Ghost blog and new ones are popping up almost daily. With all of these different hosting companies looking to get people to host with them, it can be hard to decide who you should choose and why.
We have done installs on over 30 different platforms, but there are three that we highly recommend. We have extensive experience with each of these platforms, and feel very comfortable recommending them because we know they have a great product, and excellent customer service. This list is in no particular order, because each host offers its own unique benefits that are different from the rest.
Ghost(Pro) is the hosting that is offered by the Ghost team themselves. It seems like it may be an obvious choice for this list to just choose the company that made the product, but the Ghost team has created an amazing product at an incredible price.
With Ghost(Pro), it takes about 30 seconds to get your Ghost blog up and running. They give you a subdomain to access your blog that will look something like testblog.ghost.io. You can access your blog through your subdomain, or, if you have purchased a domain name, you can point it at your subdomain to use a different URL.
If you want to customize your Ghost blog, Ghost(Pro) offers you the ability to upload any theme you want. Ghost(Pro) does not give you access to any of the core files. If there are specific changes you would like to make, you can edit the theme files locally and then upload them. You should be able to do everything you need from these theme files and should not need to touch any of the core files. If you are a developer and want to be using the bleeding edge of Ghost from Github, then Ghost(Pro) is not the option for you, but if you are just looking to host a Ghost blog somewhere, Ghost(Pro) is perfect.
The cheapest plan with Ghost(Pro) is $19 a month for a single Ghost blog. I have seen a lot of people complain about this price and page view limit saying it is too expensive. For $19 a month though, you are getting a fully managed server with automatic software updates that allows you to not worry about anything except writing. This means that you do not have to worry about security holes, firewalls, or even updating your Ghost blog itself. The Ghost team is taking care of all of this for you.
TL:DR - Great for theme developers and people who just want to use the Ghost blog. No access to core files, so if you want to develop on the core of Ghost, look elsewhere.
DigitalOcean is the hosting company that we currently use for our Ghost blogs. DigitalOcean provides Ghost on its own VPS. What this means is that you have access to the entire operating system that your Ghost blog is running on. DigitalOcean's one-click install of Ghost launches one Ghost instance, but with a VPS you have full access to all the files, you can spin up a 2nd or 3rd Ghost blog if you wanted, at no additional cost. Of course you will have to do all of this yourself and you are responsible for keeping the server up to date.
We love DigitalOcean because it offers so much flexibility. Their limit on the $5 a month plan is 1TB of data transfer. So, if we wanted to, we could have as many Ghost blogs running as we wanted until we hit that 1TB limit.
DigitalOcean is great for developers because you can always keep up to date on the latest Ghost software, or if you want to try something out, you can launch a whole new Ghost VPS, try it out, then terminate that VPS and you will only pay for the number of hours it was on. That ability to launch and terminate an individual VPS is one of DigitalOcean's biggest advantages. Since technically, with DigitalOcean, you only pay for every hour that you have that instance, you could launch a second instance to try something out for a few hours, and only pay a couple extra pennies for that time.
Even if you are not a developer, DigitalOcean can be a great place for your Ghost blog. The $5 a month plan can handle a huge amount of traffic and there is no risk to at least trying them out. Since there is no contract, if you sign up, try them out for two days and decide you want to go elsewhere, you only owe them for those two days, which ends up being like $0.30.
We would highly recommend this option as it is what we currently use ourselves.
TL:DR - Access to all system files. Great for developers or someone just looking to blog. Can have multiple Ghost instances. No risk, only pay for what you use.
Amazon, like DigitalOcean, uses VPSs to run Ghost. The best part about hosting on Amazon, is that if you are a new customer, the first year of hosting (using a micro instance) is free. This gives you plenty of time to evaluate and try out Ghost before it starts to cost you any money.
We created what is called an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) with Ghost already installed. So installing Ghost on Amazon is very simple. Since Amazon is a VPS, you have access to all of the system files and can make any tweaks you would like. Amazon gives you 750 free hours of time that your VPSs are running. So if you shut down your VPS, these hours are not counted. This is great for doing testing because you can shut down an instance, and launch a new one to try out new tweaks, and then, if you want, when you are done, shut that one down and go back to the original. You even have the ability to make an exact copy of the VPS that you currently have on a new VPS.
Hosting on Amazon is the most popular post on our howtoinstallghost.com site. Amazon is a very popular place to host and try out Ghost. Definitely worth at least checking out.
TL:DR - Free. Popular for people to try out Ghost. No risk involved. Easy to launch new Ghost instances to do testing.