Ghost CMS vs. KeystoneJS: A Comprehensive Comparison of Two Powerful Content Management Systems

Ghost CMS vs. KeystoneJS: A Comprehensive Comparison of Two Powerful Content Management Systems


Welcome to our comprehensive comparison guide between Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS. In this article, we will explore the various features and functionalities offered by these two popular content management systems, helping digital leaders and decision-makers make an informed choice for their organization. Both Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS have their unique strengths and capabilities, so let's dive in and explore them in detail.

Foundations of CMS

Both Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS are modern content management systems that are built on powerful foundations.

Ghost CMS is a lightweight platform that focuses primarily on blogging and content publishing. It provides a clean and intuitive user interface, making it easy for writers and editors to create and manage their content. Ghost CMS is developed using Node.js and is known for its speed and performance. It offers a simple yet elegant editing experience, allowing users to focus on their writing without distractions.

On the other hand, KeystoneJS is a robust and extensible CMS that is built with developers in mind. It utilizes the popular Node.js runtime and MongoDB as the default database. KeystoneJS provides a solid foundation for building complex websites and applications, offering a highly customizable and flexible content management experience. With KeystoneJS, developers have the ability to create custom data structures and schemas, making it a preferred choice for building dynamic and data-driven websites.

While Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS have different focuses and target audiences, they are both powerful solutions in their respective areas.

Design & User Experience

When it comes to design and user experience, both Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS offer intuitive interfaces that are easy to navigate and use.

Ghost CMS provides a minimalist and elegant design that allows content to take center stage. The editor is clean and distraction-free, ensuring a seamless writing experience. It offers a wide range of theme options, both free and paid, allowing users to customize the look and feel of their websites. Ghost CMS also supports responsive design, ensuring that content looks great on any device.

KeystoneJS, on the other hand, provides a more developer-centric approach to design. It allows developers to create custom templates using their preferred front-end technologies like React or Handlebars. This level of flexibility enables complete control over the design and user experience. KeystoneJS also offers a wide range of pre-built templates and themes, making it easier for non-developers to create visually appealing websites.

Ultimately, the choice between Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS for design and user experience depends on the specific needs and preferences of your organization.

Content Management

Effective content management is a crucial element for any CMS, and both Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS excel in this area.

Ghost CMS offers a simple and streamlined content creation process. The markdown-based editor allows users to write and format their content easily. It provides essential features like tags, categories, and featured images to help organize and enhance content. Ghost CMS also offers support for scheduling posts and publishing them at specific dates and times. Additionally, it provides a powerful content editor with real-time preview, making it easy to see how the content will look like before publishing.

KeystoneJS offers extensive content management capabilities. It allows users to create custom data models and relationships, providing the flexibility to define complex content structures. KeystoneJS also includes a powerful WYSIWYG editor that enables rich text formatting. With KeystoneJS, users can easily manage different types of content, including blog posts, articles, images, videos, and more. It also supports versioning, allowing users to keep track of changes and easily revert to previous versions if needed.

Both Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS provide a solid foundation for managing content effectively, and the choice between them depends on the complexity of your content management needs.

Collaboration & User Management

Collaboration and user management are vital aspects of any CMS, ensuring smooth workflows and efficient teamwork.

Ghost CMS offers multi-user support, allowing organizations to have different roles and permissions for their team members. It provides user management features such as role-based access control, enabling administrators to define user roles with specific permissions. Ghost CMS also offers a powerful content review workflow, allowing editors to leave comments and collaborate with writers during the content creation process.

KeystoneJS also provides robust collaboration and user management features. It allows organizations to define custom user roles and permissions, providing fine-grained control over the CMS. KeystoneJS also offers advanced user authentication options, including social login integration and two-factor authentication. Additionally, KeystoneJS provides built-in support for team collaboration by allowing users to assign tasks and track progress within the CMS.

Both Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS offer comprehensive collaboration and user management functionalities, ensuring efficient teamwork and smooth content workflows within organizations.

Performance, Scalability, & Hosting

When it comes to performance, scalability, and hosting options, both Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS have different strengths.

Ghost CMS is known for its exceptional performance, thanks to its lightweight nature and efficient codebase. It is designed to handle high volumes of traffic without sacrificing speed. Ghost CMS also offers optimized hosting solutions, such as Ghost(Pro), which provides dedicated infrastructure specifically tailored for Ghost CMS. Additionally, Ghost CMS supports easy deployment and scaling using popular cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, and DigitalOcean.

KeystoneJS is highly scalable and can handle complex websites and applications with ease. It provides built-in caching capabilities, ensuring fast and responsive websites even under heavy traffic. KeystoneJS can be deployed to various hosting options, including shared hosting, virtual private servers (VPS), and cloud platforms. It also offers integrations with popular hosting providers like Heroku and AWS, allowing for seamless deployment and scaling options.

When considering performance, scalability, and hosting options, it is essential to assess your organization's specific needs and infrastructure capabilities.

Customization, Extensions, & Ecosystem

Customization options, extensions, and a thriving ecosystem are crucial factors to consider when choosing a CMS.

Ghost CMS provides a range of customization options, allowing users to create unique websites that align with their brand identity. It provides an extensive library of themes and templates, both free and paid, enabling users to personalize the look and feel of their websites. Ghost CMS also supports custom development, allowing developers to build custom plugins and integrations to extend its functionality further. The Ghost CMS ecosystem includes a vibrant community, active forums, and marketplace, providing ample resources for customization and support.

KeystoneJS offers a highly customizable platform, providing developers the ability to build complex websites and applications. It supports custom data structures and relationships, allowing for dynamic content modeling. KeystoneJS also provides a wide range of reusable components and integrations, making it easier to extend its functionality. The KeystoneJS ecosystem includes a growing community, documentation, and plugins marketplace, facilitating collaboration and support.

Both Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS offer extensive customization options and a community-driven ecosystem, ensuring flexibility and growth potential for your organization.

SEO, Marketing, & Monetization

Search engine optimization (SEO), marketing features, and monetization options are vital considerations for organizations looking to maximize their online presence and revenue.

Ghost CMS provides built-in SEO features to optimize content for search engines. It offers options to define meta tags, URLs, and canonical URLs, ensuring proper indexing and ranking. Ghost CMS also supports social media integration and provides features like automatic XML sitemaps, RSS feeds, and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) support, enhancing discoverability and engagement. When it comes to monetization, Ghost CMS offers membership and subscription functionality, allowing organizations to generate revenue through gated content or recurring payments.

KeystoneJS also offers SEO-friendly features to enhance online visibility. It allows users to define custom meta data and URLs for better search engine optimization. Additionally, KeystoneJS provides marketing features like email subscriptions, newsletter integration, and analytics integration, enabling organizations to track and analyze website performance. For monetization, KeystoneJS offers customizable e-commerce options, enabling organizations to sell products and services directly through their websites.

When considering SEO, marketing, and monetization capabilities, it's important to evaluate your organization's specific goals and requirements.

Security & Compliance

Security and compliance are critical factors to consider when choosing a CMS, especially for organizations dealing with sensitive data.

Ghost CMS takes security seriously and provides several measures to protect websites and content. It offers automatic SSL encryption for secure data transmission, preventing unauthorized access. Ghost CMS also follows best practices for data protection and has an active security team that keeps the platform up to date with the latest security patches. Additionally, Ghost CMS allows organizations to comply with data privacy regulations by providing granular user management and data export functionalities.

KeystoneJS also prioritizes security and includes features to ensure website and data protection. It provides various authentication options, including password hashing and encryption. KeystoneJS follows industry best practices for secure development and provides regular updates to address security vulnerabilities. Additionally, KeystoneJS supports role-based access control, allowing organizations to define user permissions based on their specific needs.

Both Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS offer robust security features to protect websites and content, giving organizations peace of mind when it comes to data protection and compliance.

Migration, Support, & Maintenance

Migration, support, and maintenance are essential aspects to consider when adopting a new CMS for your organization.

Ghost CMS provides convenient migration options, allowing users to import content from various platforms like WordPress, Medium, and even other Ghost installations. Ghost CMS offers official documentation and a supportive community, making the migration process smoother. For support, Ghost CMS offers various subscription plans that include priority support and access to exclusive resources. The Ghost CMS team also provides regular updates and bug fixes, ensuring a stable and secure platform.

KeystoneJS provides migration tools and documentation to facilitate the transition from other CMS platforms or custom-built systems. The KeystoneJS community is active and supportive, offering guidance and solutions for any migration-related challenges. KeystoneJS provides regular updates and bug fixes, ensuring an up-to-date and stable CMS. Additionally, KeystoneJS offers support through its dedicated community forum and strong developer community.

When considering migration, support, and maintenance, it is crucial to evaluate your organization's existing infrastructure and the availability of resources for ongoing maintenance and support.


In conclusion, both Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS are powerful content management systems that cater to different needs and preferences. Ghost CMS, with its lightweight and user-friendly design, is a great choice for organizations focusing primarily on blogging and content publishing. On the other hand, KeystoneJS, with its robust and extensible architecture, is well-suited for building complex websites and applications.

When making a decision between Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS, it is important to consider factors such as the specific requirements of your organization, the level of technical expertise available, and the desired features and functionalities. Both CMS options offer unique strengths and capabilities, so it's essential to evaluate them carefully to choose the one that aligns best with your organization's goals and objectives.

Remember, selecting the right CMS is critical for the success of your organization's digital presence and content management strategy. Take the time to assess your needs, explore the features and functionalities offered by Ghost CMS and KeystoneJS, and make an informed decision that will support your organization's growth and success.


Martin Dejnicki
Martin Dejnicki

Martin is a digital product innovator and pioneer who built and optimized his first website back in 1996 when he was 16 years old. Since then, he has helped many companies win in the digital space, including Walmart, IBM, Rogers, Canada Post, TMX Group and TD Securities. Recently, he worked with the Deploi team to build an elegant publishing platform for creative writers and a novel algorithmic trading platform.