Ghost vs Squarespace: Choosing the Right Platform for Your Website Needs

When considering building or transferring a website, the choice of platform is a crucial decision that can impact visibility, engagement, and sales. Two popular options are Ghost and Squarespace, each with its own set of benefits and limitations. I've researched and experienced both platforms to help shed light on this topic.

Ghost is often celebrated for its focus on professional content publishing. As an open-source platform, it's geared towards those who want more control over their website's design and functionality. On the other hand, Squarespace is known for its sleek templates and user-friendly interface, making it a go-to choice for entrepreneurs and creatives who prefer an all-in-one solution.

Key Takeaways

  • Ghost offers more control for content management, while Squarespace shines in user-friendliness.

  • Squarespace provides a wide range of sleek, designer-made templates suitable for various needs.

  • Both platforms have their distinct advantages but evaluating specific requirements will determine the best choice.

Overview of Ghost and Squarespace

When comparing Ghost to Squarespace, I note that both platforms serve as solutions for creating and managing websites, yet they have distinct focuses and features that cater to different user needs.

  • Ghost: Primarily designed for bloggers and publishers, Ghost emphasizes content creation and offers a minimalistic, markdown-based editor. As an open-source platform, it allows for deep customization and appeals to developers and those preferring full control over their site.


    • Open-source

    • Markdown editing

    • Customizable themes

    • SEO tools

    • Membership & subscription features

  • Squarespace: Known for its all-in-one approach, Squarespace is a website builder that prioritizes design with a range of beautifully crafted templates. It caters well to small business owners, artists, and entrepreneurs who need a visually appealing online presence without the complexity of coding.


    • Drag-and-drop builder

    • Pre-designed templates

    • Integrated E-commerce

    • Built-in analytics

    • Comprehensive customer support

In terms of pricing structures, Ghost's starting plan is typically geared towards professionals and is priced at $29 per month when billed annually. Squarespace, on the other hand, suits a broader market with its entry-level plan at $18 per month when billed annually. Each platform showcases a commitment to user experience but from their unique angles—one from a developer and content creator perspective, the other from a design-centric and user-friendly standpoint.

Core Features

In comparing Ghost and Squarespace, I focus on the core features that are crucial for users when choosing a content management system or website builder. These include blogging capabilities, customization options, the user interface, and e-commerce functionality.

Blogging and Content Creation

Ghost is designed specifically with writers and publishers in mind, offering advanced blogging tools. The platform facilitates seamless content creation with its Markdown editor, allowing for quick formatting and rich media embedding. Additionally, it's known for its fast loading times and SEO efficiency, which are essential for content-driven websites. See how Ghost supports advanced bloggers in their detailed tutorials and extensive integrations.

Website Customization

Squarespace is praised for its visually appealing templates and drag-and-drop editor that make website customization approachable for users regardless of their technical skills. It offers a broad selection of pre-designed templates that are flexible and can be tailored to fit different branding needs. In contrast, Ghost provides more control to users who have a grasp of coding, allowing for more tailored customizations. Learn more about Squarespace's design capabilities at this side-by-side comparison with Ghost.

User Interface and Experience

When it comes to the user interface, both platforms cater to user experience but in different ways. Squarespace's interface is intuitive, providing a clean and streamlined experience ideal for beginners. Comparatively, Ghost offers a minimalistic content management experience focused on writing and publishing, which may appeal more to users looking for a straightforward, no-frills interface. User comparisons and preferences can be further explored at Capterra.

E-commerce Capabilities

For launching an online store, Squarespace offers built-in e-commerce capabilities enabling users to manage products, transactions, and inventory all in one place. With various pricing plans, users can select the one that aligns with their business needs. Ghost, although not primarily an e-commerce platform, can integrate with other e-commerce solutions to support sales. I suggest evaluating the e-commerce features of both platforms via TrustRadius comparisons.

Ease of Use

When comparing Ghost and Squarespace in terms of ease of use, I focus on the simplicity and intuitiveness of each platform. Squarespace is renowned for its user-friendly interface, offering a smooth drag-and-drop experience that allows users without any coding expertise to create and manage websites effectively. Its visual style editor enables me to see changes in real-time, which simplifies the design process.

Ghost, on the other hand, caters to users who prioritize content creation. Its editor is clean and streamlined, which is appreciated by those looking for a focused writing environment. However, it may require a slight learning curve for users unfamiliar with Markdown.

FeatureGhostSquarespaceInterfaceMarkdown-basedDrag-and-DropCustomizationLimitedExtensiveTemplate OptionsFewer ChoicesWide VarietyLearning CurveSteeperGentle

I find Squarespace's all-in-one platform to be particularly beneficial for individuals seeking extensive features without the need for external integrations. In contrast, Ghost's ease of use focuses more on content management and offers a less cluttered interface, which is something content creators might prefer.

In essence, my choice between Ghost and Squarespace would largely depend on what I value more: the ease of design and feature integrations with Squarespace, or the simplicity and content-focused approach of Ghost.

Design Flexibility

In comparing Ghost and Squarespace, I find that the design flexibility each platform offers caters to different user needs and skill sets.

Themes and Templates

Ghost provides a minimalist and streamlined selection of themes that are especially geared towards writers and bloggers. The themes focus on content readability and are designed to present text-heavy websites in a clean, uncluttered way. For example, users have access to a variety of free and premium themes that they can select to match their publication's aesthetic.

Squarespace, on the other hand, is renowned for its vast array of professionally designed templates. These templates are highly customizable and cover a wide range of styles and industries. Squarespace templates are known for their sleek design and mobile responsiveness, offering users a polished look with minimal effort.

Custom Design Options

When it comes to custom design options, Ghost presents a more hands-on approach for those familiar with web development. I've observed that it allows direct editing of the theme’s source code, which offers maximum control over the website's design and functionality. This can be highly advantageous for users with coding skills wanting to create a bespoke design.

Squarespace also offers a high degree of customization but does so through a user-friendly interface with drag-and-drop elements. This intuitive system permits users like me, who may have less coding experience, to easily adjust layouts, fonts, and colors. Squarespace's style editor enables users to personalize their site extensively within the constraints of the chosen template, making it less daunting for those without a background in web development.

SEO and Marketing Tools

Having the right SEO and marketing tools can be the difference between a website that thrives and one that falters. In my comparison of Squarespace and Ghost, I'll scrutinize the specifics of how each platform supports your SEO efforts and marketing integrations.

SEO Features

Ghost: I find that the platform emphasizes SEO through its lean and fast-loading site architecture. It supports meta tags, canonical tags, and mobile optimization out-of-the-box. Furthermore, Ghost generates a sitemap.xml automatically which helps in streamlining site indexation by search engines.

Squarespace: This platform excels in providing extensive SEO features that are user-friendly. Squarespace automatically generates and links a proper sitemap.xml, creates clean HTML markup that is easily indexable by search engines, and even includes SEO checklists to guide users through best practices.

Marketing Integrations

Ghost: With Ghost, I recognize that marketing integrations primarily come from its integration with Zapier, which connects to over 1,000 external services. You have the option to embed third-party services directly into your Ghost site for email campaigns, social media, and more.

Squarespace: On the other hand, Squarespace offers a plethora of built-in marketing tools. It integrates with various platforms, including but not limited to Google Analytics and Mailchimp, to aid in comprehensive campaigns from email marketing to social media promotion without needing external services.

Pricing and Value

When comparing Ghost and Squarespace, it's essential to consider the subscription costs, any additional fees, and the overall value each platform provides for your financial investment. I will dissect these factors so you can understand which might offer better value for money.

Subscription Plans

Ghost: Subscription options begin at $9 per month for the Starter package, which is designed for those just beginning to build their audience. The prices scale with three other tiers: Creator, Team, and Business, costing $25, $50, and $199 per month respectively. Each tier offers increasingly advanced features tailored for different levels of user needs, from individual creators to large businesses.

Squarespace: Pricing starts at $12 per month for the Personal plan, scaling to $18 for the Business plan, which introduces complete customization with CSS and JavaScript. For online stores, the Basic Commerce and Advanced Commerce plans are priced at $26 and $40 per month, respectively, offering more sophisticated e-commerce features as you move up.

Additional Costs

Ghost: One of the standout features is that Ghost does not take a cut of your revenue generated through the platform. This means more money stays in your pocket. Transaction fees for payment processing are standard and vary depending on the payment gateway you choose.

Squarespace: Apart from the subscription fee, Squarespace also charges transaction fees on the Business plan which amount to 3% per transaction. However, if you subscribe to either of the Commerce plans, these transaction fees are waived. Custom domains, e-commerce integrations, and premium blocks may incur additional costs.

Value for Money

Ghost: The value proposition of Ghost lies in its focus on professional publishing and content monetization, with no revenue sharing. Ghost provides email newsletter features, and the higher tiers include enhanced support and more extensive integrator options, contributing to its value for money.

Squarespace: Squarespace is often recognized for its user-friendly interface and beautifully designed templates. The all-in-one platform includes hosting, domain name, SSL certificate, and a variety of website widgets and functions. Squarespace positions itself as a well-rounded solution, balancing cost with ease of use.

Performance and Uptime

When evaluating Ghost and Squarespace in terms of performance and uptime, it's crucial to consider the technical infrastructure they provide. I've found that Squarespace users enjoy a reliable service, largely due to their fully managed hosting environment. Reviews generally indicate that Squarespace has a strong track record of uptime, which is a significant factor for ensuring that websites are always accessible to users.

On the other hand, the performance of a Ghost site can vary more because it depends on the hosting solution chosen. If you opt for Ghost(Pro), their premium hosting, you can expect comparable high uptime to Squarespace, as the service is maintained directly by the Ghost team. For those hosting their Ghost instance elsewhere, uptime can differ based on the quality of the chosen hosting provider.

FeatureGhostSquarespaceHosting TypeSelf-hosted / Ghost(Pro)Fully managedKnown UptimeHigh with Ghost(Pro)HighServer ManagementSelf-managed or by Ghost(Pro)Managed by SquarespacePerformance CustomizationPossible with self-hostingLimited customization options

Ghost offers more flexibility in performance optimization, given that tech-savvy users can tweak their server settings if self-hosted, while Squarespace simplifies this by not offering this level of customization. This simplicity can be particularly appealing for users who prefer a hands-off approach.

In essence, I've discovered that while both platforms strive to offer strong uptime guarantees, the route to achieving this differs. Squarespace provides ease and simplicity, while Ghost offers flexibility along with a responsibility to manage or select a high-quality hosting environment if not opting for Ghost(Pro).

Security Features

When assessing the security features of Ghost and Squarespace, I consider several key factors. Squarespace is known for its all-inclusive platform, which provides a managed security environment. This means users don't need to worry about applying security updates or patches themselves; Squarespace handles everything. Their secure sockets layer (SSL) certificates are automatically generated for all domains, establishing a secure connection and encrypting data in transit.

Meanwhile, Ghost's security measures include automatic SSL on all its sites as well. However, being a self-hosted platform when not using Ghost(Pro), it requires you to set up and manage your security protocols if you choose to host the platform yourself. It's essential to note that Ghost operates under an open-source license, meaning it's updated by a community of contributors, which can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, security issues may be identified and fixed quickly. On the other hand, staying on top of updates is your responsibility.

Below is a comparison of their security highlights:

FeatureGhostSquarespaceSSL CertificatesAutomaticAutomaticManaged SecurityOnly with Ghost(Pro)YesUpdate ManagementUser-DependentManaged by PlatformOpen-Source AvailabilityYesNo

I ensure data is encrypted when using either platform, and I recommend regularly reviewing each platform's security practices to stay informed about how they protect my site. For a more comprehensive understanding of Squarespace's user experience in security, you may find it beneficial to refer to G2's comparison between Ghost and Squarespace. Additionally, insights from real users regarding the security features can be found on TrustRadius.

Customer Support

When it comes to customer support, both Ghost and Squarespace have their strengths that cater to their users' needs in distinct ways.

Support Channels

Ghost: My access to support with Ghost is more limited; they primarily provide support via email. It's worth noting that, while this might suggest a narrower scope of immediate support, the support I do receive tends to be in-depth and helpful.

Squarespace: In contrast, my experience with Squarespace support includes a variety of channels. They offer 24/7 live chat and email support, which means I can often get immediate help when needed, irrespective of the time of day.

Self-help Resources

Ghost: Ghost has a comprehensive range of documentation available to me. This includes guides and tutorials that can assist me with using their platform effectively.

Squarespace: Squarespace shines with an extensive help center that I have found to be very user-friendly. It includes video tutorials, webinars, and a community forum, where I can learn from other users' questions and solutions.

User Community and Resources

When it comes to community support and resources, both Ghost and Squarespace boast robust platforms. My experience with Squarespace has shown me that it offers a broad user community with a variety of resources for help and inspiration. The platform provides an extensive knowledge base, user forums, and 24/7 customer support to assist users with any issues they encounter.

On the other side, Ghost’s community may not be as large as Squarespace's, but it is known for being passionate and supportive. One of the strengths of Ghost is its open-source foundation, which fosters a community of developers and content creators who contribute to the platform's growth. They typically gather around official forums and third-party platforms like GitHub.

Both platforms offer the following:

  • Documentation: Detailed articles and guides on using their respective platforms.

  • Tutorials: Step-by-step instructions aimed at users with different levels of expertise.

  • Community Forums: Where I can ask questions and share knowledge with other users.

  • Customer Support: Accessible through email or live chat, depending on the platform.

FeatureGhostSquarespaceDocumentationComprehensive guidesIn-depth help articlesTutorialsDeveloper centricWide range for all usersCommunity ForumsOpen-source community discussionSquarespace Circle for professional usersCustomer SupportEmail and forum support24/7 live chat and email support

My experience underlines the importance of a supportive community and abundant resources when using a website building platform. Whether I desire a platform with a large, diverse user base or one more centered on developer engagement can greatly influence my choice between Ghost and Squarespace.

Platform Updates and Future Roadmap

In assessing the evolution of Ghost and Squarespace, I've noted a clear tendency towards regular updates that enhance user experience and add new features.

Ghost: Dedicated to maintaining an open-source platform, I find Ghost’s commitment to transparency evident in its update cycle. They place a high value on community engagement and open-source code contributions, which drive their updates and feature rollouts. Users can expect:

  • Frequent version releases

  • Additions to their extensive directory of integrations

  • Improvement to content management capabilities

From their change log, it's apparent that Ghost prioritizes the power and flexibility for developers and content creators.

Squarespace: In contrast, Squarespace takes a more curated approach to updates. Historically, their focus is on:

  • Streamlining user experience

  • Introducing sleek design templates

  • Offering robust eCommerce features

Squarespace's updates lean towards providing a hassle-free platform for businesses and creatives who value simplicity and design.

Looking Forward:

Ghost will likely continue to bolster its platform with developer-focused features, while maintaining a strong commitment to the principles of open-source software development.

Squarespace is expected to further refine its usability and expand the capabilities of its all-in-one platform, concentrating on aesthetics and user-friendly functionalities for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, I'll address some common inquiries regarding the differences and similarities between Ghost and Squarespace, focusing on specific aspects such as content management, pricing, user-friendliness, SEO, e-commerce capabilities, and website migration.

What features set Ghost apart from Squarespace in terms of content management?

Ghost is recognized for its emphasis on clean, minimalistic design and a focus on professional publishing and blogging. Independent publishing tools and an open-source platform geared towards developers set it apart, offering greater control over customization and automation for content creators.

How do Ghost and Squarespace compare in pricing and value for money?

When considering value for money, Ghost offers a tiered pricing model that caters to individuals and organizations with varying needs, starting at a higher entry price compared to Squarespace. Squarespace, known for its streamlined pricing, provides an all-inclusive cost structure, which can be a more straightforward option for small businesses and personal sites.

Which platform, Ghost or Squarespace, is more user-friendly for beginners?

Reviewers often find Squarespace easier to use, set up, and manage, primarily due to its drag-and-drop interface and extensive library of templates. This can make Squarespace more approachable for beginners who are looking for simplicity and ease of use.

In terms of SEO capabilities, how does Ghost stack up against Squarespace?

Ghost offers advanced SEO options and is highly optimized for speed and performance, appealing to users with specific SEO needs. While Squarespace also provides robust SEO tools, Ghost's focus on content delivery and performance may give it an edge in SEO ranking potential.

Can Ghost be used for e-commerce purposes like Squarespace?

Squarespace is widely recognized for its built-in e-commerce capabilities, offering a variety of integrated tools to create an online store. Ghost, on the other hand, is not inherently designed for e-commerce, but it integrates with third-party tools that allow for the sale of memberships or subscriptions, reflecting its focus on content monetization rather than traditional retail.

Is it possible to migrate a website from Squarespace to Ghost easily?

Website migration from Squarespace to Ghost involves several steps and can be complex depending on the website's content and structure. However, Ghost provides resources for migrations and there are professional services available to assist with transferring content and design elements, facilitating a smooth transition from one platform to another.

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