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Choosing Ghost CMS for your site? Think again!

Hey there! I'm Chitranshu Kamal, and today I want to share a story that might change the way you perceive Ghost CMS for your site. Now, don’t get me wrong. When I first decided to stray away from WordPress, caught my attention. Its simplicity and focus on quality blogging were refreshing.

However, as I delved deeper, my journey with Ghost took some unexpected twists and turns. I had encounters that ranged from forum dramas to technical glitches, and even unexpected billing surprises.

So, if you're considering Ghost CMS for your site, you might want to hear me out first. My hope is that my experiences can help guide your decision in one way or another. Let’s dive right in!

Some key details about Ghost CMS

Before diving into my personal journey with Ghost CMS, it's essential for you to have a basic understanding of what Ghost CMS really is. At first glance, Ghost CMS promises a sleek, modern publishing platform built specifically for bloggers and publishers. Unlike WordPress, which has evolved into a multipurpose CMS, Ghost remains focused on providing a clutter-free writing and reading experience.

There are two primary ways to use Ghost CMS. First, there's "Ghost Pro", a hosted solution where you pay to Ghost's website directly to handle all the technicalities from hosting to updates. It's somewhat like managed hosting, where they look after everything for you. The second is the "self-hosted version". Here, you grab their open-source software and install it on your server, be it DigitalOcean, Linode, or any other provider you trust.

One thing that appealed to me, and probably to many of you, is its simplicity. It's like they took the core essence of blogging and served it on a silver platter. The minimalistic design, the user-friendly interface, and the promise of "just write" were truly alluring. It felt like a fresh change, especially for someone like me, not the biggest fan of WordPress's complexities. But, as with anything, there's more to the story than what meets the eye.

So, strap in as I share some critical experiences and insights on using Ghost CMS for your site.

My Experience with Ghost CMS Forum

When I first started with Ghost CMS, I was genuinely smitten. The platform was different, sleek, and seemed to promise a quality-focused blogging experience. It was a refreshing change from the complexities of WordPress. Like many users, I wanted to delve deeper into the community, so I hopped onto their forum, expecting a supportive environment.

Now, here's the thing. Companies evolve, and they release updates. Ghost CMS was no different. Every month, like clockwork, they'd roll out an update. But what really got me was their penchant for dramatizing minor changes. They'd present these small tweaks as if they were groundbreaking revolutions. Being the honest person I am, I once left a comment on one such update post, questioning the exaggerated promotion for what I considered to be just a minor adjustment.

You'd think constructive feedback would be valued, right? But their response was shockingly dismissive. "Ghost is open-source," they retorted, "Instead of complaining, contribute to our software." I tried drawing a parallel with Android, explaining how Google took responsibility for their updates. Instead of a thoughtful reply or a nod of understanding, they went nuclear. My account got deleted. Not suspended, not banned - completely wiped out. It felt like they were trying to erase my presence, my voice.

My proof of conversion on Ghost’s forum
Proof of my conversation on Ghost’s forum

To add salt to the wound, they did acknowledge my feedback, but in a manner that was the epitome of corporate coldness. I still have that email, a testament to their curt, unapologetic attitude. All of this simply because I dared to speak out about a minor update.

My Experience with Ghost CMS Self-Hosted Version

When I first came across Ghost CMS, its simplicity struck me. Like many of you, I was drawn to the idea of hosting a site on my own server. Ghost CMS seemed like a promising alternative to WordPress, especially given the self-hosted option it provides.

I eagerly chose to host it on my server – it could be from DigitalOcean, Linode, or any that you prefer. The installation process? Surprisingly smooth. Ghost CMS does make it easy for users like us to set things up. But, here's where things got tricky. The periodic updates.

We all know the importance of updates; they patch vulnerabilities, introduce new features, and optimize performance. But with Ghost CMS's self-hosted version, updating isn't as straightforward. Even though it's meant to cater to individuals like us who prefer the flexibility of managing our platforms, every update felt like a challenge. This is mainly because of its reliance on Node.js. Unless you have an advanced understanding of Node.js, updating Ghost CMS on your server can quickly turn into a hassle.

It makes me wonder: Is this complexity a tactic to push users towards Ghost Pro? It’s a thought worth pondering. You see, with Ghost Pro, updates are managed for you. But why should the self-hosted version, which is marketed as user-friendly, require such technical expertise for something as fundamental as updates?

To me, this was a significant drawback. Every time there was an update, I felt stuck, pondering whether to take the risk and update it or let it be. This isn't something you'd expect from a platform promoting simplicity and user-friendliness, is it?

For many of us who were looking for a genuine alternative to WordPress, this became a point of contention. WordPress, despite its criticisms, offers a seamless update experience. With Ghost CMS, it felt like a step back in this particular aspect. So, if you're considering using the self-hosted version of Ghost CMS for your site, do take this into account. The ride might not be as smooth as you’d anticipate.

My Experience with Ghost CMS Billing

Let me share an incident with you that left a sour taste in my mouth. When I transitioned my website from Ghost to WordPress, I understandably removed my credit card information from the Ghost dashboard. I thought that was the end of it, but, boy, was I wrong!

You see, even though I removed my credit card details, I missed out on canceling my subscription. A simple oversight on my part, I agree. But what followed was nothing short of shocking.

As the month came to an end, I received an email from my bank informing me of an upcoming $11 deduction on behalf of Ghost. Alarmed, I immediately blocked this transaction from my end. I thought the matter was settled then and there. But to my surprise, two days later, Ghost's system (or maybe someone there) tried once more to process the payment. They failed thanks to my bank's alertness. However, the persistence continued, and they managed to make a successful deduction the following day.

Invoice of that 11$ payment that Ghost deducted forcefully
Invoice of that payment

I was flabbergasted! They somehow found a way to forcefully extract those $11 from me, even when I had deleted my card details. To top it off, that amount went down the drain for a service I wasn't even using anymore. While the amount might seem minuscule to some, it's the principle that counts. It's about trust. I’ve attached the invoice I received as proof for those who are as taken aback as I was.

In the digital age, where our data and financial details are shared online, such incidents really make you question: Can you truly trust the platforms you use? This was my experience with Ghost CMS billing. And if you’re thinking about using Ghost CMS for your site, I’d say – be cautious and always double-check.

Why you should and shouldn't use Ghost CMS for your site?

Navigating the world of CMS platforms can be overwhelming. Ghost CMS, with its modern aesthetic and promises of simplicity, might seem like the beacon of hope amidst the sea of complex platforms, especially if you, like me, aren’t a big fan of WordPress. But let's break it down and see if Ghost is truly the right choice for you.

Why you might consider using Ghost CMS for your site:

  • Simplicity: Ghost CMS stands out for its simplicity. It’s genuinely a breath of fresh air for those who crave a hassle-free writing environment.

  • Focus on Blogging: Ghost CMS is laser-focused on providing a clutter-free blogging experience. It isn’t weighed down by unnecessary plugins or extensions.

  • Open Source: You've got to appreciate the beauty of open-source. It allows a community of developers to contribute, constantly improving and evolving the platform.

But, here’s why you might want to think twice:

  • Updates, Updates Everywhere: While frequent updates might sound appealing, it's not always the case. Ghost's regular updates aren't necessarily major, and yet, they're projected as if they've reinvented the wheel. You’re not alone if you find this misleading.

  • Customer Support & Forum Issues: My personal interaction with their forum wasn’t pleasant. A platform that doesn’t entertain genuine feedback or silences voices isn’t a good sign. Remember my account deletion episode? Yep, it’s still hard to believe.

  • Technical Hitches with Self-hosted Version: If you’re not tech-savvy, this could be a pain point. The self-hosted version of Ghost CMS requires a decent understanding of node.js for updates. This could be off-putting for many.

  • Billing Concerns: My experience showed a lack of transparency and perhaps some trust issues. It's crucial for any service to handle financial matters with utmost care and transparency.

So, should you go for Ghost CMS for your site? Weigh out the pros and cons. Every platform has its quirks. I've presented mine with Ghost. But in the end, the decision rests in your hands. Remember, the best platform is the one that aligns with your needs, values, and gives you peace of mind. Choose wisely!

My Final Thoughts

Navigating the digital realm can be an exciting yet perplexing journey. When I embarked on using Ghost CMS for my site, it was out of an eagerness to diverge from WordPress and explore a platform boasting simplicity and a focus on quality content creation. And true, Ghost CMS did provide a unique experience. But, as you've read from my encounters, it was a mixed bag of experiences.

We all have bumps on our digital roads, and my experiences with the Ghost CMS Forum, the self-hosted version, and their billing practices were mine. But it's not just about my personal encounters. The larger takeaway here is that when you're choosing a platform for your website, it's imperative to take a deep dive into its community, its technical demands, and its after-sales and billing practices.

Trust is the cornerstone of any service. We trust platforms with our content, our financial details, and our time. It's crucial that they live up to that trust. Now, this isn't to say Ghost CMS doesn't have its strengths or that many don't find it beneficial. It might be the perfect fit for many, but based on my experiences, it might not be for everyone.

Before jumping into any platform, especially one like Ghost CMS for your site, do thorough research. Interact with the community, understand the technical intricacies, and keep a vigilant eye on billing practices. This might sound like standard advice, but as my journey shows, these steps can save a lot of heartache down the line.

In the ever-evolving world of technology, we must remember: being informed is being empowered. Choose wisely, and always ensure that your platform aligns not just with your site's needs, but also with your values and expectations.

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