Patreon vs Ghost – A Comprehensive Comparison

David Utke •  Updated: March 8, 2023 •  Online Business

Patreon vs Ghost, there are a lot of differences between these two platforms and I’m going to break everything down as best I can. I’ve used Patreon in the past and I currently run my own private Ghost blog which I use as a Patreon alternative.

To get started, let me first break down what each platform is intended to be used for at what niche the serve for you the online creator/publisher.

More of a vide person? Check out my YouTube video on this.

Patreon is a free membership website for creators

Patreon is not a donation platform as many assume; it is instead a done-for-you membership website where they take care of all the technical details of running your subscription service. In the past, creating and running a private membership website was a total headache and quite technical, but not anymore.

Now, with a service like Patreon, any blogger, podcaster, YouTuber and so forth can easily setup a Patreon page where they can offer a paid subscription option to their audience. You can have multiple tiers of subscriptions and provide your audience with members only access to private content. Your Patreon page will be found at

Ghost is a feature rich blogging platform with email marketing and paid subscriptons

Ghost is a blogging platform with email marketing and paid subscriptions built in. With Ghost, you can have blog posts that rank organically and get free search engine traffic, leverage affiliate marketing, run Google AdSense, and have private blog posts that only paid subscribers get access to.

In addition, memberships are built into the platform, so it’s your choice if you want to offer a free, paid or combination of the two subscriptions. Last, you can have private content only readable in an email client and you can email people who subscribe to your website whenever you want.

With Ghost, you’re not just creating a “page” like with Patreon, you’re building out a complete website with email marketing and paid subscriptions.

Ghost vs Patreon Breakdown

Pricing & transaction fees$9/month starting, no transaction fees.5–12% of your revenue. No monthly fee.
Content✅ Video, audio, blog posts. ✅Video, audio, livestreams
Design & Branding✅ A nice selections of themes.❌ Basic, cookie-cutter design for all Patreon pages.
Blogging features✅ Yes, you can create blog posts that rank and get traffic. You also get content blocks with added features.❌ No, Patreon is not for blogging and content marketing.
Private, members only content✅ Yes, you can have blog posts and email content with members only content. ✅ Yes, your Patreon page will have subscriber only content.
Custom domain✅ Yes, use your own branded domain name.❌ No, your Patreon page is just that, a web page on
Email marketing✅ Yes, grow an email list. Send new blog posts, offer exclusive offers and content.❌ No. You’ll need to pay for a 3rd party service.
Subscribers ✅ Anyone with an email can subscribe to your website. You also get access to promotional tools.❌ Users have to have a Patreon account to subscribe.

Pricing and transaction fees

The most massive difference and the reason you may want to use Ghost over Patreon is that Ghost does not charge any transaction fees. This makes an enormous difference if you start successfully growing your membership website.

If you have 500 subscribers who are paying say $7 a month, you’re earning $3,500 a month. If you’re using Ghost you’re only paying $9 a month to host your website. If you’re on Patreon’s mid tier “Pro” plan you’re paying 8% transaction fees or $280 a month.

$280 a month vs $9 a month in this reasonable example alone makes Ghost that much more of a compelling option. But, let me break down the costs further:

Ghost fees

Ghost charges a flat monthly fee based on how many email subscribers you’re able to attract known as “members.” The starter plan allows for 500 subscribers and access to all the free themes. The “creator” plan allows for 1000 subscribers, access to a wider array of themes, Zapier integrations and 2 staff members (meaning two people can log into the site).

For most, the starter plan is quite good and very lucrative once you start getting paying subscribers because the monthly cost is so low and you don’t have to pay for any transaction fees.

Patreon fees

Patreon is free to signup and use. If you’re not making money you don’t need to worry about any costs to get started. However these transaction fees become excessive once you actually start having success.

Currently, there are three plans: Lite, Pro, and Premium. Lite is suitable to create a Patreon page and offer a simple subscription with private posts and images. The Pro is their best plan as you can provide multiple tiers to your audience, and you get access to analytics, integrations, and promotional tools.

The premium plan is ideal if you know for sure you want to start offering merchandise to your audience and you have a team helping you run your business.

Winner: Ghost

Honestly, once you do the math you will see how much money you can save using Ghost. Andrei Jikh (a YouTuber with 1 million+ subscribers) currently has 725 subscribers and he is making $5000 a month. On Ghost he would be paying $25 a month. But because he’s on Patreon he’s paying $400 a month in fees (at 8%).


With a Patreon page you can publish:

You can’t combine these media options into one piece of content and instead need to publish each item as a separate piece of content.

Patreon is also rolling out 500 GB of video storage as well so you can keep video content exclusive instead of embeding an unlisted YouTube video. Finally, you can livestream on Patreon which is a huge selling point if it’s something you do regularly.

With a Ghost website you can publish:

With a Ghost website you can combine all multi-media into once piece of content. You also get an email newsletter built in to help keep in touch with your audience.

You can’t livestream however with a Ghost website and you’re limited to a measly 5mb of audio or video uploads on their starter plan and 100mb on their creator plan.

Winner: Tie

Ghost is better if you want to have private blog posts with multi-media and an email newsletter. Patreon is better if you want to livestream or upload a lot of video content.

Design and branding

Design and branding is another big difference between these two platforms.

Patreon pages

Patreon pages have a great, simple design that converts. You can adjust the hero image at the top to something more custom and branded and then you can display your subscription options below.

Underneath the subscription options are the private, “Patreon member only” posts so users can get an idea of the content your creating as they can see the titles but not the content of the posts.

Last, I really like how Patreon incorporates social proof by allowing you to show how many subscribers and “exclusive” posts you have.

The only issue I have is that all Patreon pages have a cookie cutter design with minimal customization.

Ghost design allows you to build out a full fledge website with your own branding, themes, custom domain, pages, content, email list and private subscriber only content.

There are multiple themes to choose from as well depending on your plan:

The only criticism I have of Ghost is that you have few themes to choose from on their cheapest plan. But if you upgrade your plan to the “creator” plan, you can have the whole experience.

But upgrading only makes sense if there is a specific theme you want or you have a developer designing a custom theme. For most, the default free themes are adequate to get started.

Winner: Ghost

Ghost wins because you can build out a full website with blog posts, videos, pages, a custom design, custom URL, email list and offer paid subscriptions. You have more flexibility too because you can make your Ghost website totally private like a Patreon page, or public, or a mix of the two.

Blogging features

There is a little comparison here because you can’t blog with a Patreon page. Patreon is designed for you to send traffic to it from another already established traffic source, like a popular YouTube channel or a podcast. You can create posts, however, that are publicly available or for a select subscriber tier. by contrast you can blog, create content that ranks organically and attract new subscribers that way. You can also use a website like I do as my personal, branded Patreon alternative.

Patreon blogging

With Patreon you can create basic text posts with an attachment, text, tags to help organize posts, set who can see the post and set when the post goes live.

Patreon posts don’t rank and will only be viewable by anyone you send to your Patreon page.

Ghost blogging

Ghost is a powerful, feature rich blogging platform where you can create search content that ranks organically. Below is my post on the Ha Giang Loop in Vietnam ranking on the first page of Google:

With creating content on a Ghost website again you can choose to create content that is private for subscribers only or content that is publicly available.

Generally speaking, you want to make content that is going after a specific keyword public, so you have a change of ranking and your blog posts that are about whatever you want (social commentary, hot button issues, something private you don’t want to share with the world) private as a way to entice subscribers.

As for the actual blogging experience it’s similar to WordPress:

You have blocks where you can add in text paragraphs, h2 or h3 headers, images, custom HTML, markdown language, a divider, audio and my favorite, “email only” content block:

This block hides content in your blog posts that is only readable by people who subscribe to your website. Giving you another unique selling point to get people to subscribe.

For example, when you’re creating a blog post that will be publicly available you can reward your subscribers by including email only content.

Winner: Ghost

Ghost again comes out on top simply by being more feature rich. With private content, publicly available blog posts that can rank, images, video, text, audio and exclusive email only content – you just have a lot more options with Ghost over Patreon.

Private members only content

Both platforms allow you to create private, members only content. Here is how they differ.

Patreon content

Patreon works by way of creating posts. Posts can be either text, image, video, audio, a poll, link, or a live stream. For all posts you can add a title and text too. However you can’t mix and match media in the same post.

With Patreon you can set if the posts you create are private for subscribers only or public. You can also set them to go live at a future date.

Live streaming

One feature that Patreon has that Ghost does not is the ability to offer a private livestream for your subscribers. Livestreams can be on YouTube, Vimeo or Crowdcast. content websites work by way of creating blog posts that are media-rich. You can have images, video, audio and text in one blog post. You can also incorporate content blocks like the high converting “product box” to push an offer or the “email only” content block that is readable in an email client only.

Winner: Tie

Patreon has an edge with integrating private livestreams; Ghost wins because you can create personal, media-rich blog posts for your subscribers. Both platforms have enough options to create valuable, private content.

Custom domain

With Patreon, your page will be found at Your Ghost website, by contrast will be found at With Ghost you can set a custom branded domain name for your website if you like. With Patreon this is not possible.

Winner: Ghost

Brand your website and create your own, personalized membership website.

Email marketing has email marketing built into the platform; Patreon you have to purchase a 3rd party plan through an email marketing software provider. So there is nothing really to compare. Ghost offers email marketing and Patreon does not natively offer email marketing.

Patreon and Mailchimp

Patreon does offer a free Mailchimp integration. Mailchimp provides 500 subscribers on their free plan and limits you to 1000 email sends a month on the free plan. Beyond that you’re going to start needing to pay for Mailchimp. email marketing

By contrast, the starter plan at allows you to have 500 subscribers and unlimited email sends. When you write a blog post, you can also decide if you want to publish it on your site and have it be emailed to everyone who is subscribed, or if you only want to publish on your site or email your list only.

On top of that, when someone subscribes to your Ghost powered website you can setup a dedicated “thank you” page where you can offer a coupon code, upsell, discord access or simply say “thanks for subscribing.”

Winner: Ghost

Not only does not charge a transaction fee so you keep more of your money, you get email marketing included in your plan. Patreon has a mediocre at best Mailchimp integration which simply does not compare as the “free” plan on Mailchimp will have Mailchimp branding on all emails you send out where with your content has your branding.


Finally both platforms allow you to have monthly or yearly paying subscribers. Both also allow you to offer promo codes to get new subscribers. Here are the differences:


To subscribe to your Patreon, someone first needs to create a Patreon account. Then once logged into their account they are presented a feed for different Patreon accounts they are subscribed to.

Personally I don’t like this as it creates a two step process to get someone to subscribe and give you money because when they click on the “subscribe” button on one of your tiers they are presented with a “sign up for Patreon” account creation form.

Apart from this, it’s easy for your subscribers to manage their account and you can also create promo codes to get new subscribers which you can share on social media.

Multiple tiers

One thing Patreon does really well is to showcase multiple paid tiers on the homepage. You can also limited membership to each tier level to create scarcity and also incentivize your visitors to subscribe to a higher tier.

Ghost you can offer multiple tiers too, but on the basic plans Ghost only allows you to show two tiers to subscribe to.

Thank you page

With Patreon you can set a “thank you” page that new subscribers are direct to. On this page you can include access to a Telegram chat, Discord, coupon code or just say “thanks” for subscribing.

Ghost subscriptions

When a user visits your website powered by Ghost and clicks any “subscribe” button, a giant light box will pop up showing one or two subscription options. On higher tier plans, you can custom design every aspect of your Ghost website, but if you’re on the primary “starter” or “creator” plan, these are your design choices.

What I really like is that a user does not need to create a separate account for in order to become a subscriber. They simply enter their email, select the plan and then are taken to a payment gateway. A very simple, high converting process.

Thank you page

Like Patreon you can setup a “thank you” page for new subscribers where you can offer a wide variety of upsells or simply instructions for your new subscribers on what to expect.

Promo codes

Ghost does an excellent job of leveraging promotional offers for your tiers. With there promo offers, they are a custom link you can share on social media and your Ghost blog as a way to attract new subscribers.

Winner: Tie

Patreon I like more if you’re wanting to offer 5+ tiers for subscribers. I also like how you can limit how many subscribers at each tier are allowed. Ghost is better because the sign up process is fast and easy. The platform also allows for a better use of promo codes. Both platforms provide adequate “thank you” page customization.

Ghost vs Patreon conclusion

So that’s it for my breakdown of Patreon vs. Ghost. Overall I love using Ghost. No transaction fees and you can create content that ranks organically where you can engage in affiliate marketing or run display ads on your website like Google AdSense, custom design, and a custom domain. You also get unlimited email marketing.

Patreon has brand recognition, offers superior live streaming integration for your subscribers, and does a better job of showcasing multiple tiers. Apart from that, there are not many selling points when compared to Ghost. Particularly when you consider the excessive transaction fees.

David Utke

David Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 27k+ YouTube subscribers!

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