WordPress.com is a private-owned publishing platform for hosting blogs and websites. It should not be confused with WordPress.org, which is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) for self-hosting WordPress.
Ghost.org is another popular blogging platform which, like WordPress, is partly free and is easy to use. However, it's different from WordPress in that the software is open-source, not proprietary.
Both WordPress and Ghost let you start a blog or website instantly, without having to install anything. Basically, they take care of the hassles of hosting so you don't have to.
In this article, I'll compare the two platforms and offer use cases where one might be a better option than the other.
WordPress vs. Ghost
WordPress.org is completely free for anyone to install and use. It's also very easy to install (thanks to its widespread use), and many web hosts provide a one-click install for it. This is why WordPress is considered to be a great option for non-technical users and users with no knowledge of coding.
By contrast, Ghost is way more technical to set up on a shared hosting account, and there are not many web hosts that support it. Digital Ocean is arguably the best platform to install Ghost on because of its compatibility. However, a drawback is that you have to access it using a command terminal, which may be too technical for many users.
When it comes to flexibility, there is also some difference between the two.
Ghost is niche-specific; it is geared towards blogging. Therefore, if you're a professional writer or blogger who wants to create a blog, write blog posts, build an email list, and run paid subscriptions, then Ghost is perfectly fine for that.
But if you want to do something bigger, such as integrating an online store into your blog or running paid ads on your website, then you are better off using WordPress.
As I mentioned earlier, Ghost was designed for writers and bloggers. As a result, writers have complete control over how their content is distributed to their audience. For example, as a writer using Ghost, you can choose to send your posts to just the users that subscribed to your website.
In addition, you have absolute control over how your emails look and feel. You can change the design and customize it to your taste. Ghost uses Mailgun as its email delivery service.
By contrast, WordPress is geared towards the regular online marketer because it doesn't have any email client by default. Instead, the user has to use third-party mailing services like Mailchimp and ConvertKit.
In summary, WordPress is more flexible because you can use any third-party mailing service of your choice, whereas Ghost's built-in mailing service is geared toward bloggers and gives them a lot of control in that regard.
Plugins allow you to add new features and capabilities to WordPress. There are so many plugins available for doing different kinds of things in WordPress. For example, you have plugins for SEO optimization such as Yeast SEO, database optimization plugins such as WP-Optimize, and form management plugins like WPForms.
To use a plugin in WordPress, you simply log into the back-end and search for the plugin that you want to add. Thereafter, it takes just two clicks to install and activate it.
In Ghost, you add new functionality through integrations. From the Ghost admin dashboard, you can search for any integration of your choice and go through the instructions to learn how to install it. Unlike WordPress, you can't install an integration in Ghost directly from the website.
Both WordPress and Ghost have a dedicated marketplace and numerous third-party marketplaces for purchasing themes. But the main difference between the two is in the ease of customizing the theme.
In WordPress, theme customization is more non-technical. There is a built-in theme editor which has a drag-and-drop feature that you can use in customizing your site's design easily.
However, in Ghost, the process is more technical. You'll be required to know basic web design with HTML and CSS in order to customize your website's design. Due to Ghost's rich selection of themes, however, you often won't need to customize anything.
WordPress is very easy to set up and use. It's very customizable and can be integrated with many other third-party tools. You also have more freedom with what you can do in WordPress: you can run paid ads, affiliate marketing, and so on.
Ghost was designed to be a platform for blogging. As a result, many of its features—such as its email system—are tailored for writers and bloggers. This unfortunately places a limit on what you can achieve as a non-blogging user.
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