I had this coming for a long time. My blog was originally hosted on Tumblr.com. When I wrote articles I would utilised the public folder of Dropbox to upload and host my images. This worked beautifully until they disabled this feature in september 2017 effectively making all my images become broken. Combined with the sub-optimal editor of Tumblr this suggested it was time to move. Time to search for an alternative. Enter the battle of the blogs.
- Good writing experience
- Free or low cost
- Ability to write in Markdown
- Copyright of my thoughts retained
- Bonus: ability to import my current articles from tumblr.com
Almost everybody knows Wordpress. You can download and host the software yourself which also make you responsible for upgrades & backups to prevent data loss. If you do not want to do this you can also take a subscription for as little as $5 a month to have wordpress.com do this so you can focus on writing high-quality content.
Due to the large install base it is also a big target for CVE exploits so I decided to take the Paas offering for a spin. Luckily, getting some content into it was trivial because they support importing your blog from Tumblr.
But the downside is the editor which was still a pretty basic HTML WYSIWYG editor. UPDATE - After writing this blog I found out that they now have a blog based editor alike Medium and Ghost called Guttenberg which was not enabled by default in their hosted offering.
Medium is a big platform with a large userbase, cross-referring blog articles to keep users engaged and give your articles more exposure. The downsides of this are that the brand is Medium so they first made it difficult and finally unable to have your own custom URL. The UI is also very much fixed and you as an editor have very little influence over this. But the writing experience is o so sweet. It is the sirens lure of blog writing.
In the end I chose not to go with Medium. There has already been written a great deal by others why Medium in the end might not be the best place to put your content. For example:
But the final straw which resonated deeply with me was "OWN YOUR WORDS". If you let somebody have control over where you write they effectively have control over what you write.
Finally I reviewed Ghost and found out that they not only have paid tiers but the software is actually open source and you can host it yourself. It supports the same nice editing experience as Medium does and even has a native App to write articles on your Mac or even on your mobile device on the go.
Importing my existing content into Ghost was not trivial because in Tumblr the articles are stored as simple objects while Ghost uses the rich block-based approach. But having the Titles and metadata like creation date & tags is enough to polish my old content back into shape in the upcoming weeks.
After researching a lot about Ghost and also discovering that I would be able to host it for free using a Google Cloud Platform virtual machine I took the leap. And you are reading the results. Welcome on my new blog, hosted by Ghost.