In the next sections, we’ll describe the challenges we experienced with Onamae.com VPS service and the advantages that we saw by switching to Ghost Pro.
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Challenges with Onamae VPS Server
Un-managed Ubuntu web server
Onamae VPS (KVM) is an unmanaged server. It gives you the flexibility to configure and tune it to your needs. For development purposes, it is a good option.
For production, we wanted to use a managed service. This enables us to focus more on producing content for our members and readers.
Below is the server spec and configuration for Onamae VPS.
- CPU: 3 Cores
- Memory: 2GB
- Storage: 200GB
- Network: 100Mbps (Shared)
- RAID: RAID 10
- Virtualization: KVM
- IP Address: IPv4 (Fixed)
- Data Transfer: Unlimited
Using the How to install Ghost on Ubuntu guide, manually installed the below components on the VPS server.
- Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
- NGINX webserver
- Let’s Encrypt SSL
- Ghost Community Version
Manual maintenance is a task high on our priority list. We need to make sure that the server is up-to-date when it comes to security patches and product updates. The last thing we want is the site hacked and defaced.
Doesn’t scale well, no global CDN
Onamae VPS, as far as we know, doesn’t have a global CDN service. Having no CDN service will impact content delivery and website performance for regions that are not geographically close to Japan.
Ghost email newsletter feature unavailable
At the time of this writing, Ghost on Ubuntu did not support sending email newsletters natively. You have to set up a separate bulk-mail service provider to handle automated emailing of our newsletter.
Bulk-mail services that we considered.
Although the above services have free tiers, we decided not to use them. We felt that it is simpler to have Ghost Pro handle emailing newsletters. More on this in the next section.
Advantages of Ghost Pro
Ghost Pro has deep integration with Cloudflare as the edge CDN. Edge CDN is configured and optimized to serve Ghost sites with the best performance to our global audience.
Due to this deep integration with Cloudflare, at the time of this writing, using other CDNs on top of the edge CDN is not supported, as it may cause significant degradation in performance and cause problems.
Email Newsletter Support
From the Ghost Docs page about newsletter feature.
Email newsletters in Ghost can be scheduled and delivered to free and paid members, or a segment of free or paid members. Newsletters are delivered using a beautiful HTML template that is standardised for most popular email clients.
Ghost newsletters are beautifully crafted and customizable. Texts and images are superbly laid out and fit most modern screens.
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In tandem with the newsletter email functionality, analytics is built-in as well.
From the analytics dashboard, you can monitor member statuses and activities, such as:
- Free Member Count
- Paid Member Count
- Top Member Ranking
In the Member Activity Tracker section of the dashboard, you can monitor email newsletter activity, such as:
- How many newsletters were received
- How many of the newsletters were opened
- What email newsletters were opened
- When email newsletters were opened.
Contribution to Open-Source Software
Last but not least by using Ghost Pro, we’re contributing to, albeit in a small way, Ghost’s growth. We love the platform and would like to see more features and growth in the foreseeable future.
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Besides a couple of small hiccups with the DNS settings, the migration went smoothly. We will outline the technical migration process in another article, but we can say that the migration process was very straightforward.
First article delivered as a newsletter to members
This blog post, the 19th post for this year, is the first one successfully published after migrating to Ghost Pro.
Scratch Paint Editor
Very first blog post that we got to use the built-in newsletter feature. Email newsletters were successfully received by our members.
Our primary goal for this year is to produce great content for our members and readers. We believe that great content is the best way to increase readership. Through great content, we would like to increase our newsletter subscription and member count.
Content that is useful to our readers will be our currency going forward. We believe that our readers will help us pave the way to a paid subscription.
Converting skeptics to supporting fans is a hard undertaking. We believe we have the diligence and will to take this challenge. With Ghost Pro’s reliable platform, we can effectively reach more global audiences that are interested in the information and content we are producing.