Choosing the right hosting provider is one of the most important decisions you’ll make regarding your Ghost blog. However, with Ghost Pro being the only known "hassle free" provider, is there any alternative out there that offers value?
Method of evaluation
To make this review as accurate as possible, I tried a variety of ways to test DigitalPress in full. Besides collecting information online from the company website, I also used first-hand experience.
First, I created a DigitalPress account and set up new websites. Then I conducted actual speed test experiments to gather performance data to compare.
Throughout the process, I was able to interact with the support team and experiment with the dashboard and control panels to better understand the user experience.
My focus of evaluation comes down to these factors:
- User Experience
1. User Experience
I must say this: DigitalPress goes straight to the point. The landing page is simple and explanatory at the same time. You know what to get right away.
When you sign up for a blog, you are instructed to create an account and after that, you go straight to the dashboard.
To create a new blog, just click the button, add a new address and bam: done. Funny thing is, this is so easy that I created three just to see if it was the real deal.
- Integrations built into the platform
- Reset feature
- Pre-loaded themes
- Unlimited users
- Free forever plan
The integrations are a nice thing to have to finish the set up of your blog without much hassle. I would love to have more if possible, but I'm sure this is on their roadmap.
The reset feature is something I never thought about, but that comes in handy to have it (remembering my good all WordPress days). With this, you can remove all your data and reset your blog to a fresh state as if it was just created.
The preloaded themes is very welcoming feature that I also never thought of having or needing. If I am new to Ghost, I don't know a thing or two about themes or whatsoever, so having some options to choose from and test without cost is game changer.
Another super cool thing is, that there's no user limit. If you plan to have a massive team of people adding to your blog, this is maybe the best hosting for that. Long live the magazine with guest users posting that you have in your mind.
And the free plan forever, its self explanatory right? The only "sacrifice" is that your blog will show ads. Nothing comes for free, and having Ghost COMPLETELY free for just a bunch of adds seems like a good tradeoff for me.
If you want a premium experience, you need to pay the premium then. Even if you are a developer, you will have costs. Bear that in mind.
To test this, I input the domain into Pingdom’s website speed test tool. Ran multiple tests using three different locations with one site having the Attila theme and the other with the default Casper theme.
The load times for my Attila site were:
- Sydney: 1.76 seconds.
- San Francisco: 1.08 seconds.
- London: 231 mili seconds.
The load times for my Casper site were:
- Sydney: 1.76 seconds.
- San Francisco: 846 mili seconds.
- London: 1.33 seconds.
In short: the hosting is good, and fast. We could argue that Ghost Pro is better (I tested it but not going into that), but this is good enough to be excellent.
The support from DigitalPress is very good and responsive. Now, for this price, I expect to have a more "responsive & efficient" support. Something chat based, all day online, like Kinsta in WordPress.
This is the same opportunity I see as well in Ghost Pro. At those price points, I'm just expecting that, period.
Overall, you get support via mail, and the team is dedicated to help you succeed. Bear in mind that you will have to wait at the lower tier plans.
This is were things get really interesting. Basically, the business model of DigitalPress is to charge for the storage and customization levels (Ghost Pro is based on views and amount of users/members). With that, these are the plans:
The closest to the Ghost Pro Basic is the Standard Plan, were you get all regular features, but having in mind that you only have 5GB of storage. If you use a lot of images, in the long run you will have to upgrade at some point.
I don't have a reliable way to test the amount of members, but I'll assume that you are also able to have unlimited members, so that's another point to have in mind.
Ultimately, its USD$22 vs USD$36 monthly. Take into consideration that you are also donating to the Ghost Foundation with Ghost Pro, so you are kind of paying (indirectly) for services like DigitalPress to exist.
Is this sustainable? I can't predict it. Although the prices are very good, I'm not sure how much sustainable is this in the long run. Hopefully this service can keep up for the next years to come.
Different to Ghost Pro, I don't have a clear picture of what's the type of security this service offers. Although I could test the regular enforcement security, I tried to see what the service offers against a planned, massive attack.
In the end, I need to put my faith for large scale blogs/plans on this one. My advice is to include a more detailed security description in a section of the webpage so more technical users can go through it.
DigitalPress is a very good managed hosting alternative to Ghost Pro. Maybe the best one out there in this regard. Its free forever tier packed with the unlimited users are something to take into consideration.
DigitalPress is your best choice if:
- You want to have a free Ghost Blog the easiest way possible.
- If you are in option one and don't care about ads.
- If you use very few storage and plan to have a lot of users.
- If you want managed Ghost hosting but don't care to contribute to the Ghost Foundation.
If you sign up through my links, please use my exclusive coupon code GHOSTPORT20 to get 20% off in any plan!
In addition, i'll be giving away 40 licenses for free! Each license is a 1 year subscription of a Standard plan worth ~240 EUR. I'll do it in rounds, and the first 20 will be for my subscribed members only!
What you need to do to participate? Just subscribe and that's it.