Recently, I made a move to self-hosting on DigitalOcean away from hosting my blog on Ghost's servers. The ride wasn't exactly smooth, but all the support from Ghost and DigitalOcean customer service members still made the transition possible. I have been a Ghost customer for the past 7 years and have been thinking about this transition for a while.
The first thing was definitely the cost. A couple of years ago, Ghost automatically upgraded my plan to a more expensive tier when the traffic grew. The shady thing is, they do it for the rest of the year and charge you upfront even if traffic goes down in subsequent months. For example, if my site traffic goes above 10k visitors on any given day in a month, Ghost will auto-upgrade my account from say $10 to $30 tier and pro-rated charge me a bill of $30 per month for the rest of the year. If my traffic drops to say 1k users per month for the rest of the year, I still have to foot the bill for 10k / month of traffic. This definitely wasn't financially sustainable.
Second, I didn't really see any benefit in hosting all the content on the Ghost server. Of course, they provide higher bandwidth, server maintenance, and built-in services, but there was nothing I couldn't do on my own server with additional efforts. Kudos to Ghost for making it open-source and providing us with an excellent documentation and customer support team. So in one way, they were asking tech-savvy users to migrate away from Ghost hosting - Possibly to reduce their own cost as their user base is growing.
Third, I never set up my own server. I heard people boasting about how they pay $5 / month on DigitalOcean to run their own website. I was excited about that. I have mainly been a front-end developer and always shrugged away from back-end development. This project was my one chance to get my hands dirty setting up a domain and a self-hosted blog. It was a struggle, but after a lot of time, some help, and self-help, I was able to transfer everything to DigitalOcean. (Not to mention $100 in credit for the first 2 months)
Do You Need Help Transfer Your Ghost Blog to a Self-hosted Space on DigitalOcean?
Although I struggled during this transition, you don't have to do the same. If you also want to migrate your Ghost blog from Ghost Hosting to the DigitalOcean ecosystem, feel free to message me. I have notes of my own and I learned from many mistakes. I will be more than happy to help you out with my expertise and experience for the transition.
If done correctly, including a few mistakes, the transition will take less than a day to complete. So your new site will be ready to run the same day.
Cost is one of the constraints in today's economy and unfortunately, it has also affected me. If I were making any money from my blog to break even, I would've stayed with Ghost. But given that there are no returns, I made a transition to a cheaper alternative at the cost of service quality. (Website now loads slower than it was on Ghost).
Right now, it's a wise decision. Who knows, things might change, there may be more traffic and I need to scale up. In that case, I may have to move back to the Ghost server. But for now, I am happy.
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