Having once met in person and corresponded with John O’Nolan (the original founder of Ghost) via email a number of times, I figured it would be an interesting thing to do to shoot him a quick email mentioning our recent “Ghost vs WordPress” article in order to see what he thought of it.
Luckily, he seemed game and was also kind enough to add a little extra information regarding the comparison between the two hosted versions, i.e. WordPress.com and Ghost(Pro).
Here’s what he had to say — in his own words (published here with permission):
“One really interesting point is that WordPress.com and Ghost(Pro) aren’t actually comparable – this is a very common misconception, so I don’t blame you at all for making it! Ghost(Pro) is, in fact, almost exactly like WP Engine or FlyWheel. This is a really important distinction, here’s why:
WordPress.com / Medium / Tumblr are all 1 big app, with multi-tenant installs.
Advantage: It keeps costs down, so you can offer millions of free accounts to everyone at minimal cost.
Drawback: All sites are linked, so you can never (ever) allow 3rd party code. If one user installs a bad theme or plugin, the entire could potentially come unstuck.
Ghost(Pro) / WP Engine / FlyWheel are all managed software as a service, so every single site is a unique application.
Advantage: Every site is independent, can run *any* code, and can scale whenever it needs to.
Drawback: This is a much more sophisticated platform which is expensive to run, so no free accounts.
So in WordPress-land, WP.com is only ever used by beginners, because it’s (in essence) similar to a social network in which you have very little control over anything. People eventually “graduate” to self-hosting WordPress when they get serious about their site.
The point of Ghost(Pro) is to combine these concepts into one platform: It’s easy to use for beginners thanks to its 1-click setup, and it’s also a fully-managed service for professional users, too. Because there’s no official WP equivalent like this, there’s often chatter about Ghost “not being easy to host” — which is something that’s just far less relevant when there’s already a world-class official hosted service.
If you want to host Ghost yourself, you can. But in Ghost-land, you really don’t have to. Best of all, the entire project is funded by people who use the official platform.”
– which is something I for one — and I’ll bet many others too — had pretty much failed to realize (and hence I thought it worth this extra post in order to help clarify).