RSS

Is Ghost just a blogging platform marauding as a webhost?

Wed, 15th January 2014, 15:47

Blogging services and content management systems are great, right? Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal and the like are the perfect marriage of form and functionality- godsends for the end user: writers, bloggers, e-marketers, anyone with the desire to publish web content on their own terms.

Thus far, the one crucial step beyond actually learning to operate the system is, of course, finding a suitable host. If you're reading this article, chances are you know something the depth of the hosting world- maybe daunting to some, but endless in its opportunities for any who care to look, including hosts with an eye towards these services, like HostPapaArvixeSitegroundHostGatorA2 HostingWP EngineMDDHosting ... The list is endless.

But it does seem a logical progression of the consolidating, streamlining forces of progress to try and cut out the middleman, taking the middle ground of customizable but user oriented services and inching them ever closer to the public by wrapping hosting up in the mix: enter Ghost.org, the trendy not-for-profit that turned heads with its successful six-figure Kickstarter campaign.

Now, with a few months passing since their successful launch in October, Ghost is launching the hosted version of their platform, and the end result is worth taking a look at.

Ghost describes itself as entirely oriented on publishing, and there's something to be said for the style and ease of access provided by their blogging-hosting combination. But there's a number of pitfalls to hosting that have to be avoided, and ultimately raise the question... Is it all worth it?

1. Hosting is not easy- or cheap.

If dedication to making the best blogging platform available is Ghost's goal, incorporating hosting is an odd choice. Despite partnerships with Fused Network and SingleHop (as well as Site5) one can expect that keeping their ever-expanding hosting operation under control will be a major priority for Ghost's ambitious creators. This in a niche which is growing at a breakneck pace- Ghost may be off to a head start, but how long will that last?

2. Ghost's hosting is... Adequate. Their prices? Less so.

We checked the domain whois to see where Ghost hosts their website and found cloudflare nameservers which masks where the domain is actually hosted. They used Vidahost when Ghost.org became active (domain was first registered in 2005 by a nameless domain squatter)

2013-06-23 Sedoparking.com to Vidahost.co.uk

2013-08-06 Transfer Vidahost.co.uk to Vidahost.com

2013-11-27 Transfer Vidahost.com to Cloudflare.com

A simple speedtest of Ghost's new servers reveals that what you're getting is not that bad, but it's certainly not cutting edge, and if you're willing to pick and choose you can probably find a service better optimized for your needs.

A speed test of ghost.org using GTmetrix.. The results, although adequate, are nothing special: http://gtmetrix.com/reports/ghost.org/e22X8PfJ. One could question (and you should) whether that page load time of 4.02 seconds is going to impress the google bots! 

Not so terrible, until you consider Ghost's prices: forget bandwidth, you're paying for pageviews, and that's something that should make prospective customers more than a little uneasy: sudden success, even with intelligently decentralized, embedded content can take you to a class of service you're not ready to pay for... Leaving you wishing you hadn't stuck with the proprietary option.

Perhaps, in time, like Wordpress, Ghost will evolve into a full on content management system, with it's complimenting hosting service to make it just right for the boutique website/blog with no setup hassles. But for a company that prides itself in being 'just a blogging service', Ghost sure is piling on the functionality. Maybe it will turn out to be the perfect recipe to attract casual bloggers in droves: or maybe there's something to the maxim 'Jack of all trades, master of none.'

web hosting by Vidahost