Ghost(Pro) isn’t the only way to get a Ghost site.
Setting up a self-hosted site with Gloat is cheaper but a bit more work. Find out which option suits you best.
Ghost is a blogging platform. It is free open-source software, meaning that anyone can download and run the code for free.
A self-hosted Ghost site can be run on any server. If you sign up to DigitalOcean yourself, you can pay just $5/month but someone will need to install (and sometimes update) the software.
Gloat offers affordable installations and updates for self-hosted Ghost sites.
Gloat is a pay-as-you-go service, giving you flexibility with your self-hosted set-up.
An expensive and limited option, but installation-free.
Ghost(Pro) offers “managed” hosting. This means that you sign up, create a site and they maintain the server for you. They make updates to Ghost and will make sure the site is kept online, plus offer extra security measures through the use of CloudFlare.
For this extra service, you will pay much more than self-hosting ($36, $99 or $249 a month; cheaper if you pay a year up front). Included in this price is an email integration, which means you never pay for sending emails if you use members and newsletters.
Aside from the larger costs involved, the biggest downside to using Ghost(Pro) are the contrary limits that are added to your site.
The default version of Ghost software (which you can download and install for free) comes with zero limits for page views, members (email subscribers) and staff users. With Ghost(Pro), each pricing tier has different limits for each. For example, if you have more than two staff users, you have to pay $99/month and if you have 5,001 email subscribers, you have to pay $249/month.
Get a cheaper, self-hosted site with no limits, on the same infrastructure as Ghost(Pro).
Gloat is a concierge service that sets up self-hosted Ghost sites on your behalf (on DigitalOcean, the same platform as Ghost(Pro)).
This allows you to both a) reduce your monthly hosting fee to just $5/month and b) never be faced with fiddly server or installation work.
The trade-off with a self-hosted site is that it’s not “managed”. You are in control of the server so any Ghost updates are your responsibility. (You can, however, run Ghost for years without updates or maintenance.) Gloat offers Ghost updates for $19 when that time comes.
If you use Ghost member features on a self-hosted site, you also need to sign up to and pay for Mailgun—the same provider Ghost(Pro) uses—to deliver your newsletters plus log in/sign up emails ($0.80 for every 1,000 emails).
Self-hosting will give you a Ghost installation with no limits on page views, members or staff users. This means you will always pay $5/month, regardless of how many members, page views or staff users you have. If you get consistently high levels of traffic (millions of views per month), it’s easy to upgrade your server within DigitalOcean.
Like Ghost(Pro), you can also use CloudFlare to boost security; their free plan is good enough for most blogs.
Gloat is your on-demand service for one-off installations ($59 or $89 each) and updates ($19 each).