I’ve been a fan of self-hosted WordPress for years, and always used it as my preferred blogging and website management tool, but when it comes to performance I’ve never been very impressed by it and have always had to rely on third-party options to speed it up.
So, when I saw Ghost 3.0 had launched I was keen to try it out and see how it performed vs WordPress using the Lighthouse Audit built into Google Chrome.
I wanted my testing to be as fair as possible, and I wanted to know how each would perform under the same conditions and with the same content so I installed Ghost in a subdirectory of this website at /news/.
To make the test fair I published a copy of my Two years later – did Traefik replace nginx and HAProxy? article on Ghost to compare them side-by-side.
Performance test result for WordPress
Performance test result for Ghost
The first test was run using the standard page that gets served to desktop users, and as you can see the results are not good at all in WordPress, Ghost is much better.
That said, in WordPress I also have the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) enabled to ensure mobile users get the best experience possible and Ghost also has AMP support so in the next test I ran the same Google Chrome audit on the AMP enabled pages.
Performance test result for WordPress with AMP enabled
Performance test result for Ghost with AMP enabled
The important score here is the overall performance, and the fact both scored over 90 is a testament to the value of having AMP enabled. If you don’t have AMP enabled then I suggest you enable it right away because it makes the experience much better for your mobile users.
I’m sure you noticed that Ghost only scored 79 in Accessibility but I wouldn’t worry about that at all, I believe it was caused by an unset alt tag for the images. For mobile pages it’s the performance score that matters most.
So, Is Ghost a better choice than WordPress for blogging?
From a “mobile performance” perspective it’s clear there isn’t much difference between WordPress and Ghost, but if you already have a site and most of your visitors aren’t mobile then you might want to consider switching to Ghost.
However, if most of your visitors are mobile then you’re probably fine sticking with WordPress.
Reasons you might want to switch to Ghost
Performance aside there are some other reasons why you might want to consider switching to Ghost.
1. The Ghost Editor
The editing experience in Ghost is amazing, it allows you to pull in dynamic blocks of content like images, embeds and videos and Markdown. It’s built on a smart, open-standard that’s fully extensible.
2. Search Engine Optimization
This is a big one, Ghost’s SEO is built-in and you can trust it. That can’t be said for WordPress that’s heavily reliant upon third-party plugins that can change or become vulnerable at any time.
Membership functionality was added to Ghost in version 3, and it hooks up directly to Stripe payments. Again, in WordPress you must rely on third-party plugins and a lot of time, effort and stress to create a membership system.
If I were starting a blog today I’d do it on Ghost.
The fact that self-hosted Ghost has amazing performance, SEO you can trust and a membership system that hooks up directly to Stripe and it’s all built-in with no third-party plugins is enough to make it the smartest choice in 2020.
And if you’re an existing WordPress user you might want to consider reducing your “plugin anxiety” by minimizing and switching. I know I am!
Either way I think you should at least try Ghost for yourself.