The number 10, portrayed over a noisy gradient in a neumorphic effect

βž• Build with Ghost: Recommendations for the open web

Our newest feature, Recommendations, is a game-changer. Learn how we're pushing the boundaries with Webmentions, 1-click subscriptions, and theme enhancements. Plus, get a sneak peek into our latest tech developments and a spotlight on groundbreaking journalism.

Welcome to issue #10! Here's what's cooking:

  • Get to know our newest feature: recommendations
  • Design inspo, advanced layouts, and pathfinding algos
  • A behind-the-scenes look at how we optimize Ghost
  • We found 404 Media and didn't go blind
Pro tip: Our video tutorials on YouTube teach you everything you need to know to build awesome custom themes.


We just released an exciting new feature: recommendations. Now, it's possible to recommend your favorite sites, no matter where they live on the web. Likewise, other publications can recommend you 🀝

Access recommendations from the updated Settings page. Recommendations show you not only how many clicks or subscriptions you've referred to recommended sites, but also how many signups have been sent your way. Read the Changelog for more about the new feature, visit the Help center to understand how it works, and check out these recommendations to see the feature in action.

But this is Build with Ghost, so we're going to get just a bit more technical.

Under the hood

One of the most exciting aspects of recommendations is that it's built on an open standard called Webmentions. By building it this way, Ghost's recommendation feature escapes walled gardens and vendor lock-in, operating, instead, across the entirety of the internet. That means you can recommend publications on other platforms β€” and they can recommend you πŸ’ͺ

1-click subscriptions

Recommendations have another trick up their sleeve. As its name implies, 1-click subscriptions streamline the membership process by allowing readers to sign up for a publication with a single click.

Currently, 1-click subscriptions are only supported between Ghost publications. However, we're eager to help other platforms implement this 1-click functionality, and and Steady have already expressed interest. If you're a platform that wants to build 1-click subscriptions for the open web, get in touch.

Recommendations & themes

The recommendations feature brings two new theme helpers with it.


The recommendations helper outputs a list of your recommended sites. Highly customizable, this helper is a great way to share your favorite publications with readers. Below is the default template Ghost uses to output your recommendations (but you can create a totally customized template, too).

Check out the docs for all the details on this new helper and see how it's already implemented in our Source theme.


The readable_url helper outputs a human-readable URL. When linking to a recommended site, instead of showing, it'll just show In short, it's a glow-up for your URLs and works beautifully with the recommendations helper mentioned above.

See the docs to learn more about this helper.

Just shipped 🚒

Ideas and tools πŸ› οΈ

From the community

Ghost Forum user, Jannis, has created Myrtle, a tool to add mock data to your Ghost site using OpenAI's API.

Jannis explains the tool best:

See, as somebody who loves good design, I hate it when it’s destroyed by Lorem Ipsum content. So, I always try to put realistic content onto my theme demo sites. Something that tells a story – and actually demonstrates how it can be used.

We used Myrtle to create this mock site, Delicious Curry. The story it tells: we're hungry. If you're looking for a tool to whip up some stand-in content, this works great πŸ›

A food website showing different elaborate articles on curry
Friendly reminder: While we love celebrating community innovations, we also prioritize your safety. Please remember, when using software found online, especially those involving API keys, exercise caution. Always verify the source and understand the permissions you're granting.

Behind the scenes

Our DevOps engineer, Sam, recently wrote an article on some work he did to optimize Playwright tests in Ghost by making them run 185% faster 🏎️

In a nutshell, this means Ghost engineers can spend less time waiting for tests to run and more time building cool features, and we all get a more resilient, bug-free Ghost.

Formed by four journalists previously at VICE's Motherboard, 404 Media is a publication committed to sustainable, society-shifting tech journalism. They recently got to the top of Hacker News by publishing a story about how attendees at a Bored Ape NFT owners conference went blind with searing eye pain. Yes, you read that right.

β€˜Couldn’t See Anymore:’ Bored Ape Conference Attendees Wake Up With Searing Eye Pain, Vision Loss
β€œBeen to lots of concerts, festivals, Burning Man, and never have I ever experienced fucked eyes like this.”

Aside from the important, captivating journalism like "In Defense of RAM" and "Mastodon is the Good One," 404 Media has a simply gorgeous custom theme. The typography, layout, and post elements will make you swoon and provide some inspiration for your future themes.

404 media homepage

Sites featured in the Build with Ghost newsletter are discovered through our creator network, Ghost Explore. It’s a way for creators and readers alike to discover their favorite new publications. Anyone running a Ghost site can add themselves to Explore to be featured throughout the wider Ghost ecosystem. If you’d like to be featured in this newsletter, add your site to Explore and reply to this email.

Thanks for building with us.

Have an idea for a Ghost tutorial? Reply to this email and let us know ❀️

Were you spending all your time looking for other Ghost creators and developers on Omegle? Unfortunately, you may need to look somewhere else. Come and join us on the official Ghost Forum, where we talk about all things Ghost!

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