Every time I go visit the Wix website  (www.wix.com), I am impressed with the explosion of features available for a modest price.  Yet I am running the DrVax website on a custom configured Ghost site (ghost.org) hosted on Amazon AWS.   Rational, maybe not.  Let unpack this story.

The Grandaddy of website blogging software that dominates the blogging ecosystem is WordPress (wordpress.com).   While very rich with hundreds of plugins (add on software) and a wide range of hosting options from free sites at Wordpress.org to many commercial options, by the nature of its age it has become bloated, difficult to use, and slow.  

Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Since 2003 Wordpress has been expanded like a single bedroom home that now has 4 bedrooms, 2 new baths, and a family room in the back.  The floors don't quite line up properly, the infrastructure is out of date (Word Press is built on PHP and MySQL, two technologies getting a bit rusty), and simple changes to a blog layout are now complex.

Ghost is a youngster in the blogging platform world.  It is built on current Javascript/Node infrastructure and supports a very flexible and easy to implement templating system.  While it lacks some of the add-ons available to Word Press users it is this simplicity that makes it attractive.   The version 2 blog post editor is very simple, clean and easy to use. It has limited formatting options, however the options available are straight forward and fast.  (For example images within a blog post are always centers, there is no option to align them right or left and wrap text around them.)

Flexibility is provided via the Ghost blog template and theme subsystem. This subsystem is elegant in its simplicity making it practical for anyone with HTML, CSS and Javascript expertice to create and deploy themes without having to learn PHP a scripting language fewer and fewer web developers use.  By using themes with a knowledge of CSS anyone can add the missing formatting options they are looking for.

This all sounds great, if you are a web developers.  Ghost with default templates is fast, simply and limited.  As a developer I am very comfortable, and in fact I enjoy modifying the theme I am using to meet my precise needs.  If you are not a developer Ghost is ideal for creating a simple and easy to support blog – if you are hosting it at ghost.org.  Hosting either Wordpress or Ghost on your own site, in the cloud or locally, requires computer system administration skills.

Photo by Pankaj Patel / Unsplash

I host the DrVax site at Amazon Web Services (AWS) which requires that I update the Ghost software monthly, monitor the virtual services and do a bunch of stuff I would not need to do if I just used Wix.  The tradeoff is extreme flexibility as long as I am willing to spend the time.  While this continues to be fun I will use Ghost, once it is no longer fun I will probably move the site to Ghost.org and let them host my existing site or move to Wix.

The following links are provided for reference and to support further research into Ghost vs Wordpress vs Wix: