Ghost and WordPress are two of the most popular open-source publishing platforms used by millions around the world.
But which one is better for you in 2024?
Today, I’ll compare Ghost vs WordPress across all the key factors like costs, features, ease of use, customization, support, and more.
By the end, you’ll have all the details to decide which platform is the best fit for your needs as a publisher, writer, or content creator this year.
Overview of Ghost and WordPress
Ghost is a newer lightweight platform focused solely on publishing content, while WordPress started as a blogging tool but evolved into a full content management system (CMS) and website builder.
You can read my full Ghost review for 2024 here ↗.
- Founded in 2013 as a non-profit Kickstarter project for independent publishers
- Currently has over 2.5 million installs but only around 7,000 active users
- Built as a streamlined publishing platform with fast speeds and a distraction-free writing experience
- The main focus is publishing content, email newsletters, and memberships
- Available as open-source software or hosted Ghost(Pro) plans
- Launched in 2003 and powers over 43% of all websites
- Used by top media publications, bloggers, and businesses
- Started as a blogging platform but expanded into a flexible CMS and website builder
- Has a thriving community with thousands of free themes, plugins, tutorials, and support forum
- Available in two versions — self-hosted open source WordPress.org or hosted WordPress.com plans
Ease of Use
For writers and publishers, a key factor is how easy the platform is to use for creating content.
Ghost’s Ease of Use
- Very intuitive and beginner-friendly interface
- Dashboard focuses solely on writing and publishing
- Distraction-free full-screen editor to concentrate on content
- Writing workflow similar to WordPress block editor
- Markdown formatting helps speed up content creation
- Overall simpler to use than WordPress but offers less flexibility
WordPress’ Ease of Use
- Needs some learning initially to understand key concepts
- Creating content is easy with the WordPress block editor
- Customizing a site requires learning about themes, plugins, widgets etc
- Huge selection of settings can seem overwhelming at first
- Integrated visual editor makes formatting content simple
- Drag and drop page builders available to build custom pages
- Overall easy to use for publishing content once basics are learned
Customizing the design and adding functionality is crucial for publishers and content creators.
- Comes with free themes but the selection is limited to around 20 options
- Additional premium themes available for purchase
- Lets users develop custom themes with Handlebars
- All site settings and customizations done under one Settings menu
- Can modify colors, fonts, logo, and other design elements
- Massive selection of free and premium themes on WordPress.org
- Ability to customize any theme’s design and settings
- Create child themes for advanced customizations without touching the parent theme
- Extend functionality with over 59,000 free plugins
- Drag and drop page builders like Elementor to create custom pages
- Open-source software allows full control over code for advanced users
- Unparalleled flexibility to build any kind of website
Costs and Pricing
The costs involved in using Ghost or WordPress can vary based on your requirements.
- Open-source Ghost software is free to download
- Will require paying separately for hosting and domain
- Managed Ghost(Pro) plans start from $9/month for starter plan
- More advanced plans available up to $199/month for business plan
- Costs based on the number of views, users, members, and features
- Self-hosted WordPress.org software is 100% free
- Hosting starts from around $7.99/month for basic shared plans
- Bluehost officially recommended WordPress host offers 69% off with free domain
- Managed WordPress.com plans range from $4 to $45 monthly
- Plugins, themes, and services are optional costs for added functionality
Search engine optimization is vital for publishers to drive traffic and get website visitors.
- Solid built-in SEO like metadata, sitemaps, canonical tags
- Integrates with Google Search Console
- Clean code and fast page speeds enhance SEO
- Lack of plugins limits advanced customizations
- SEO-friendly platform with editable URLs, meta tags, etc
- Further optimization possible with SEO plugins
- Plugins like Yoast SEO and RankMath offer advanced customizations
- Manage redirects, integrate with tools, and write SEO meta for each post
- Active community provides tutorials on optimizing WordPress sites
Support and Community
Getting help when needed is crucial, so the availability of documentation and community support is compared.
- Provides online knowledge base and documentation
- Email support available on paid Ghost(Pro) plans
- Smaller but growing community forum to get help
- Extensive official documentation and forums
- Massive online community with tutorials and articles
- Most hosts provide WordPress-specific support
- Theme and plugin developers offer assistance with their products
- Huge network of developers available for hire
Making money from your content, products, or services is important. So Ghost and WordPress ecommerce capabilities are examined.
- Focused on selling memberships and subscriptions
- Easy to create different membership levels
- Built-in tools to put content behind member paywalls
- Integrated email newsletter capabilities
- Robust e-commerce support with WooCommerce plugin
- Build online stores with products, payments, and shipping
- Sell digital goods, physical products, subscriptions and more
- Flexible options for payments, shipping, taxes, and accounting
- Integrates with email and marketing tools
Advanced users may want to self-host their Ghost or WordPress site for full control.
- Open-source software is free to download
- Requires technical expertise to manually install and configure
- Limited hosting providers optimized for Ghost
- DigitalOcean provides preconfigured Ghost server images
- Freely downloadable open-source WordPress software
- One-click install options from most major hosting providers
- Thousands of web hosts optimized for WordPress
- Easy migration, backups, updates, and security management
- Support articles help guide self-hosted setup
Alternative Publishing Platforms
- Popular centralized blogging platform used by millions
- Very easy publishing but limited customization options –Medium handles hosting, distribution and readership
- Best for beginners wanting exposure quickly
- Specialized for sending paid newsletters
- Allows writers to monetize and build audience
- Limited options for full website creation
- Focused on email-based publication model
- Easy tools for writers to charge subscriptions
- Free blogging platform owned by Google
- Very limited customization and monetization
- Allows basic blog creation and publishing
- Lacks features of Ghost and self-hosted WordPress
- Alternative for new users testing blogging
These platforms cater to specific use cases like email newsletters or basic blogging but lack the flexibility and ownership that Ghost and WordPress provide. For professional publishers needing custom sites and monetization, Ghost and WordPress are more full-featured options.
Bottom Line: Ghost vs WordPress
So when looking at Ghost vs WordPress, which publishing platform comes out on top in 2024?
Key Factors Favoring WordPress
- Lower startup costs with free open-source software
- Massive selection of themes and plugins for flexibility
- Scales easily from basic blogs to full-featured websites
- Larger support community with extensive tutorials
- Better optimized for SEO (if you use plugins) and driving website traffic
- More e-commerce options beyond just memberships
Key Factors Favoring Ghost
- Streamlined interface optimized solely for publishing
- Easier to use than WordPress for non-technical users
- Built-in SEO, email marketing, and membership tools
- Affordable managed Ghost(Pro) hosting plans
- Minimalist design leads to fast webpage speeds
- Ideal for writers and publishers focused just on content
Overall, WordPress emerges as the winner if you need a highly flexible and customizable platform optimized for search engines that can power websites beyond just a blog or publications.
However, Ghost is better suited for writers and publishers who want a platform solely focused on creating content with built-in tools for monetization, without unnecessary complexities.
So assess your specific needs as a publisher, writer, or content creator. Both Ghost and WordPress have their merits, but WordPress offers greater capabilities for growing an online business and presence long-term.