In the blogging world, Ghost is the new kid on the block. It expresses the new design credo: It’s clean, simple, minimal – and fast! It’s in contrast to the incumbent content management systems such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. They’re all very feature rich, but they’ve become bloated. Ghost tries to bring back the simplicity and speed that a blogging platform should have.
Softaculous, the most popular one-click installer, has recently added a Ghost script to its list of Blog options (http://www.softaculous.com/softaculous/apps/blogs/Ghost). But that doesn’t mean that every hosting company that uses Softaculous automatically offers one-click Ghost installs. The web hosting companies can add the new Softaculous script as soon as their servers are upgraded to include all the required software. At present, there are very few.
Recommended Low-Cost Hosts
All the hosts in this list are highly recommended; the only differences are the types of services that they offer:
- Shared Hosting
- Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
The Best 5
- A2 Hosting : An “unlimited” Shared hosting company that offers a one-click Softaculous Ghost install,
- A Small Orange : A Shared hosting provider offering a one-click Softaculous Ghost installs on all plans,
- WebFaction : A premium Shared hosting provider that supports one-click installs with their in-house installer,
- Digital Ocean : A developer-oriented cloud VPS provider with a one-click Ghost install and premium-level developer support,
- Ghoster : A fully-managed hosting company that offers only Ghost.
Read more about them after the break!
A2 Hosting, based in Ann Arbor, MI (“A2”), has added a one-click install of Ghost. They use cPanel and the Softaculous install. A Ghost site is also available as part of the initial setup process for new customers. It installs Ghost automatically with the order ($4.97/month), so it is a “no-click” option. A2 Hosting has also recently upgraded their servers to SSD. Solid-state drives are available on their low-cost shared hosting plans but as an added charge, making their shared hosting plan bit less than “low cost”. Solid State drives, though, are dramatically faster than mechanical disks, so its a good idea to look for that.
A Small Orange ($2.92/mo as 35/yr)
A Small Orange (ASO) has also added the Softaculous one-click install option to their cPanel. Shared hosting plans start at $35/year, which works out to $2.92/mo. Their lowest cost plan is limited to 250MB of storage and 5GB bandwidth. It may work for you as a “beginner” plan, but if you outgrow it, you will need to switch to a higher cost plan. In contrast, A2 Hosting’s low-cost plan is an “unlimited” shared hosting plan.
RAID SSD drives are included as part of their standard feature set. There is no upselling here. All their shared hosting plans have storage limitations for improved performance. A Small Orange is widely known for not overbooking their shared servers.
WebFaction offers their own one-click install instead of Softaculous. They don’t try to offer cutthroat prices. The flat fee of $9.50/mo or $8.50/mo with a one-year contract includes 100GB storage and 600GB bandwidth. More memory is $7 per 512MB, more storage is $5/month per 500GB, and more bandwidth is $5/month per 300GB. This plan is obviously for more ambitious sites than the entry-level packages. Their prose makes it sound like a VPS plan but it is not. It is a shared hosting plan in which each customer is allocated the amount of resources described in the terms of the plan. For Ghost, the minimum plan should be plenty.
Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
DigitalOcean ($5.00/mo + pay as you go)
DigitalOcean does not even offer shared hosting; they are a VPS company. Their plans start at only $5/month, but it is not “unlimited” anything. In contrast, they have a “pay as you go” personality. This is how Cloud VPS companies roll. For Ghost, their $5/mo plan should be more than enough. Ghost is super-efficient.
Instead of Softaculous, they offer their own one-click Ghost install. DigitalOcean has an unusually complete and detailed library of articles and FAQ on geeky topics like this and node.js.
Just for example, the article on installing Ghost is written by the lead Ghost programmer! Like A Small Orange, they also feature SSD on all their plans, with no upselling.
Managed Ghost Hosts
The difference between a Managed Ghost Host and the generic hosting companies is that they are deluxe, full-featured Ghost-only hosts. Only Ghost is supported, but it is supported very well. The mother ship, ghost.org, also offers managed ghost hosting. They charge by the blog: $5 for one, $14 for 5 and so forth. It is roughly analogous to WordPress.com.
ghoster.io ($4.99; 7-day free trial)
This is a third-party that does fully managed Ghost-specific hosting. They also charge by the blog, starting at $4.99 for one blog. You don’t need to buy a domain. By default, your blog is a subdomain of ghoster.io, e.g., myblog.ghoster.io. Managed ghost hosts offer a no-click install and include a library of optional themes. They also include automatic backup and automatic upgrades. This is a good deal for people who don’t want to deal with any aspect of site administration. The disadvantage is that you can’t do anything else on a managed Ghost host.
Both A2 Hosting and A Small Orange are excellent hosts that are among the very few to offer Softaculous one-click installs of Ghost as part of their shared hosting plans. Either are highly recommended in that category. Any of the shared hosting plans are for those who want the low cost of a managed host but also the freedom do to something in addition to a Ghost blog.
DigitalOcean is our choice for geeks who want do the development themselves. Unlike the recommended shared hosting plans, Digital Ocean’s one-click install installs Ghost and the Nginx server into a VPS (say “engine-X”. Nginx is a lightweight web server that is designed to handle a very large number of simultaneous connections. This package promises to be a speed demon – especially since it lives in a VPS instead of a shared host.
The managed hosts offer the opposite personality. Their nature is to offer no-click installs, automatic upgrades, and deluxe support for people who want to blog but not play web server admin. Ghost offers fully managed ghost hosting themselves as well as the recommended third party, Ghoster.org.