Choosing a blogging platform

There are countless open-source blogging platforms available on the Internet. As of July 2016, WordPress is currently the most widely adopted blogging platform. It's a well-established platform with great community support, extensibility, and documentation. However, there are several viable alternatives. In a few previous side projects, I experienced running WordPress on shared hosting environments, such as GoDaddy, found it to be quite slow. I don't necessarily blame WordPress for this as much as I do sub-par hosting providers. However, I didn't want to repeat this experience with my own personal blog. Additionally, I was interested in finding a more modern, lightweight alternative to PHP-based WordPress. Since I am also interested in newer web technologies, running a blog on Node.js was compelling to me. After reviewing several Node.js blogging platforms, I contemplated using either KeystoneJS or Ghost. Keystone looks like an excellent CMS & Web Development platform built on Node, but was a bit overkill for my needs of running a simple blog. Ultimately, I decided to go with Ghost.

What is Ghost?

Ghost is a free and open source blogging platform written completely in server-side JavaScript, which runs within a Node.js server instance. The direction for this blogging platform is managed by the non-profit Ghost foundation. Ghost's source code is available on GitHub and distributed under a MIT license. The Ghost Foundation encourages its community of users to contribute to the project. Ghost's code base is clean, well-organized, and intuitive. If you wish to get more involved with the future direction of Ghost, the Ghost Foundation conducts weekly public development meetings and publishes meeting dates on their development site.

From my experience, Ghost has a cleaner, more intuitive UI than WordPress because it focuses on being an efficient blogging platform rather than a full-blown CMS and web development platform. If you need a business platform with E-commerce, custom plugins, or a complete CMS solution, you may wish to stick with WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or KeystoneJS. However, if you want a simple, performant blogging platform, I'd encourage you to consider using Ghost.

Ghost Editor

Ghost's split-screen blog post editor features a Markdown lightweight text markup langauge editor on the left and a real-time preview of your posts on the left. The minimalist editor UI makes it easy to focus on the primary task at hand- writing blog posts. It's a great solution, and helps you focus on writing content. This is personally one of my most favorite features of Ghost.

Ghost content markdown editor UI