Migrating from Squarespace to Ghost

Migrating from Squarespace to Ghost
Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Recently, I moved my website from Squarespace to Ghost and it was a process that was about as complex and time consuming as I’d thought it’d be.

In short, this new Ghost site is running on a Digital Ocean droplet and has halved the price I was paying to Squarespace.

Don’t get me wrong, I would still recommend Squarespace and think it’s a fine service but the small things that bothered me — how slow and heavy it felt, lack of integrations etc — began to mount up. Shiny new toy syndrome kicked in and so I gave myself the extra work of migrating to Ghost and learning a few things in the process.

I’ll take you through each of the steps that I followed for setting up the Ghost site followed by migrating my content and pages, which was the finicky part of the process.

The vast majority of the process was following Matt Birchler’s YouTube series so if you’re a visual learner then this is the guide to follow.

Once I’d gone through this process there were a couple of things to iron out.

The first was making sure that my email address was no longer being managed through Squarespace. Spacespace have an integration with Gsuite (or whatever it’s called now) and I’d ponied up for that in the past.

Cutting that integration triggered an automated process where I received an email from Google to set up billing on their end. I was pleasantly surprised that this required next-to no effort on my part.

The real difficulty came when importing previous blog posts into Ghost and let me warn you now, it’s not a pleasant process.

The fact that Ghost’s official documentation spell out that migrating needs to be a manual (read: not able to be automated) process is telling and perhaps one of the best reasons to leave Squarespace if you think you’ll want greater flexibility over your content in the future.

Credit to Simon Facciol for writing a script and providing instructions for some of the heavy lifting and, having followed his lead, I was left with the final step of sanitising old blog posts.

Having to manually trudge through each blog post to correct formatting, images, links, and any other weirdness that arose during the process was, as I mentioned, not a pleasant process.

If you have an extensive archive of posts then the grunt work of re-editing each blog post might be a dealbreaker for you for the hassle but since I’m hardly a prolific writer it wasn’t more than a couple of hours to tweak each post.

Once I was over that hurdle I was free and clear of Squarespace. I cancelled my Squarespace subscription and deleted the site to be all in on Ghost.

One of the things I’m looking forward to is the challenge of learning the web dev side of maintaining this platform. My coding skills are rudimentary at best — the earlier migration script was pushing it — so there’s room to grow with and into Ghost.