Why should I use GatsbyJS instead of WordPress and Ghost CMS for build my website
I had questions about using the Gatsby blogging platform instead of WordPress or Ghost CMS and others, so I thought I would do my full experience and why I chose it in boring detail so that others can benefit from this reference and know in its next guide which platforms to choose and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
I will try to simplify the post in a language that everyone with a simple technical background can understand. Later, if I see a response, I will make a separate post explaining the combinations of Gatsby and Ghost with a technical software explanation start with some.
In the last decade, many software platforms have spread that help you build your website, blog or whatever you want to build, and these platforms are keen on your ease of use and guarantee you many plug-ins with one click that will work for you within seconds, and among this software:
Joomla: A popular platform that has spread for some time and then died out in the last five years.
WordPress: A well-known and well-known platform became famous as a blogging platform and later developed to serve a broader field, such as electronic stores and others.
Many have disappeared, but they all flow into one stream, which is content management. They provide a ready-made control panel and pre-installed tools (built-in). All of them require at least hosting with certain specifications to work (some of these platforms provide free hosting with conditions), but we are talking about the platform you host yourself.
With the tremendous development of the web, these platforms have expanded to serve larger areas such as WordPress, turning from a blogging platform to a software platform that builds for you any site you want and expanded its functions. The person who wants to build his blog becomes lost amidst complete chaos of plug-ins, tools and explanations that do not interest him!
Bloggers are looking for alternative software that is easy to use and serves a specific purpose in itself. More than that, it does not need all the features that WordPress contains. It is also interested in the ease of use experience. With simple clicks, pages or ready-made codes are published for it, which later appeared platforms that received great admiration and use by bloggers and even companies that You want to build a network of newsletters or updates, including the Ghost CMS platform, and then catch up with Gatsby to do the same thing, although each has a different storyline.
Ghost is an open-source platform that allows you to create and publish your blog with great ease, away from the complexities of WordPress; Built on Nodejs.
The idea to build Ghost came after a former deputy WordPress interface developer wrote a post expressing his frustration with the complexities and overlap of using WordPress as a blog rather than a content management system. He decided to build a similar but customized version. In 2013, he released the first publicly available version of Ghost, writing in the front of the site, “The new WordPress alternative, easy, modern and modern!”
I would say it is a smart marketing move; both are indeed blogging platforms, they are open source and have common features, but they differ in goal.
Features of Ghost:
- Open source “free”.
- Fast, because it is built with modern technologies allowing faster loading time.
- Easy, flexible and secure.
- Very good and great user experience, text editor supports HTML / Markdown, images and many more things.
- You can invite whoever you want to write and edit with you.
- It provides many different additives.
- Archiving (SEO) is fast and optimized.
- Provides API’s for your site that you can associate with any other software.
What it does not contain:
- It does not support right-to-left RTL. Also, the control panel does not contain the Arabic language.
Gatsby star shined in a short period because of its ability to create your site very easily, simple and fast and at the same time supports the technologies that users need, works on any server and does not require pre-installed databases, no passwords, no control panel, and therefore complete security and high performance and excellent.
Another strength of Gatsby is that you can write and edit your text in Markdown and convert it into HTML-encoded pages.
Why didn’t I use Wordpress as a blogging platform?
I avoided using WordPress initially because it does not serve my need, which is “blogging”. However, I have a complete and old experience building themes for many clients and different sites, and unfortunately, it’s expansion, tools and large size by writing blogs only. I have to search for lighter platforms, faster and simpler, and give me a good user experience, away from the hustle and bustle of plugins that I don’t need 98% of!
My experience with Ghost
With the fame of Ghost, and my experience using WordPress, I moved directly to it. I created a copy of it on my device (Localhost) and ran it, and started modifying and localizing a template for me to shorten the time. I finished the site within a week easily with the daily work pressure that I go through.
Building the templates in it is incredibly easy. I solved the problem of the Arabic language and switched the direction from right to left (RTL), and prepared my pages. Everything was a hundred per cent perfect, but when I reached to upload it (Deploy), it cost me a lot, and in the end, I, unfortunately, did not use it.
The reason is that I didn’t notice that it works on a private server and doesn’t work on Shared Hosting, which is cheap for me.
In the first version of Ghost, everything was easy to upload to any hosting with certain specifications. But after many updates, its developers cancelled some features and made it work on a private hosting or use their paid plan with certain features, and I didn’t notice until later.
This means that if we want to calculate the operating costs of a single blog, we have two options:
1- Your server:
Let’s say we use the cheapest cloud hosting like DigitalOccen; at least it costs you $60 annually with your site’s domain expenses and other maintenance expenses or buying drivers such as cPanel if you want to develop server capabilities.
This means that the total expenses are at least $75, which is a lot of money to start a blog like this.
There are patchwork solutions like partially free AWS plans, but they are not ideal for me.
2- Ghost Pro Paid Plan:
Ghost offers three paid plans with different features that are “frankly good”, but in a blog like this, we assume that we use the regular Basic plan for 29 per month, which means 348 dollars per month! Without calculating the price of the domain, the total is 360 for one year only! The cost of running four years for your server.
So it is not suitable for me, and both are very expensive, and finally, we conclude two things:
- The Ghost platform is more helpful for those who do not find problems paying the amount of hosting to run and prefer ease and simplicity and “reduce headache” with the philosophy of techniques, installation problems, and others.
- It is geared towards businesses and helps them manage their blogs easily and securely.
And last but not least, I do not deny the power of Ghost, its features and its ease. If I go back in time and have fixed expenses for a server that I previously owned, I will return to use it again, but now all these expenses are indispensable, and I provide them to renew my domains.
My experience with Gatsby
After I cancelled the idea of Ghost, I had to use another platform that was cheap, fast and convenient at the same time, so I headed straight to Gatsby.
Thus, I only pay the cost of the domain, which is $13 per year, which means I have reduced expenses compared to just 27 times, or say 90%!
However, the cost is nothing compared to the non-existent Ghost features. The Gatsby platform is not suitable for everyone because there is no need to risk using it if you do not have advanced and prior development experience.
Among the problems that I see frankly tiring is that every time I need to write an article on my device, I upload it manually via the terminal, and it takes from minutes to minutes until the post gets updated and appears regardless of the (errors) that you sometimes encounter and need some time to solve it. What’s more, you need your computer every time you have to adjust, which means that if you’re travelling, it’s hard to make adjustments from your phone.
And finally, because I am a developer and I understand these techniques, it becomes easy and routine compared to those with little background in development with GraphQL and ReactJs in general.
To reach a clear conclusion, which platforms are suitable for your site or blog, we must divide the data and output into four things:
- Ease of use, deployment and maintenance.
- Operating expenses.
- Advance technical background.
- Desired goal.
- Suppose you want ease of use, a ready-made text editor, maintenance, templates, continuous publishing, features such as adding other editors with you, and good operating expenses. In that case, Ghost is 100% suitable for you.
- If you are building a blogging platform, and later you want to develop your site to serve other areas such as adding a store for sale, purchase, reservations, etc. Your technical background is simple, you should use Wordpress, and there is no need to use the second platforms and waste more time, effort and money.
- If you want a fast, simple, feature-limited blog, cheap running costs, use second software to cover the shortcomings like a text editor and have good technical expertise, I recommend Gatsby. I think it is sufficient and appropriate for you, And later you can develop it to whatever you want. You can even link it to software like Strapi or Netlify Forms, among others.
I hope my experience and advice are clear for you to choose the right platform for you in the future. If you have any questions, comment, and I will be glad to answer them.
This original article is written in Arabic lang, translated from my blog.