Ghost 4.0 Update Gives a Self-Hosted Substack Alternative

Ghost 4.0 came out today! It’s been a long-delayed update, partly due to COVID, but it’s finally here for everyone.

Product Hunt Launch for Ghost 4.0

The update brings memberships and the newsletter feature of the beta. I have been using the lab “beta” features since the early days of the launch. They were largely unpolished and half-baked up until today’s update.

Now, Ghost feels like a full-fledged alternative to Substack and other newsletter systems. The benefits of self-hosting your newsletter and blog together includes:

  • Custom Branding for your newsletter & blog
  • You own the data and the relationship with your site
  • Startup costs are minimal with Ghost’s new startup plan at $9 a month
  • You get a public archive along with SEO while building an email newsletter

I’ve dabbled with blogging and email lists over the years but never kept collecting emails or stuck to a platform. WordPress meant stringing together plugins and services, but it’s all bundled together in a fairly neat package with Ghost.

There is a bit of development and management to keep Ghost up to date if you’re not hosting with Ghost themselves. The update progress from version to version includes the terminal and ssh’ing into the server. Unlike WordPress, there is not an easy button press to update versions. The integrations are done through Zapier, which means no-code or development.

The update makes Ghost feel more polished. It gives a strong option for folks to use Ghost instead of Substack. Having a built-in Strip setup, no fees, and member-only content makes it an amazing way for any creator to start collecting emails and blogging.

This site is, and the IronMic Blog is now running Ghost 4.0. I self-host and update the sites myself. The two sites are hosted on Digital Ocean on a small droplet that costs around $15 a month. If you’re looking for a blogging platform or a way to start a newsletter, I strongly recommend looking at Ghost!

If you need help with Ghost or have any questions, send me a tweet!

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