Publish your creative work to the right people and run a fully-fledged membership business.

Protected content in Ghost allows you to set up a site where members need to login to view your content. This allows you to grow a real audience and generate sustainable income from your work with recurring subscriptions.

Protected posts automatically display a call to action to logged out visitors, using your brand settings and theme styles.

Choose your business model

There are three methods of running memberships using Ghost:

  • Free — collect members who sign up for free
  • Paid only — run a premium publication, blog or newsletter and prevent free members from being able to sign up at all
  • Free + paid — combine the two and publish both free and paid content.

You'll need to consider which one of these business models you'd like to use so you can configure your Ghost site to support this with the appropriate sign up methods and payment options.

Then all that's left to do is to start creating content and assigning the appropriate access level to each post.

Post access levels in Ghost

Ghost supports these business models using simple post access levels which can be selected with a simple drop down menu in the Post settings area.

This is the same place where information such as a feature images, post URLs and custom meta data is added — so you can prepare your content for distribution from a single menu.


The public access level allows you to publish content that is visible by anyone who visits your website.

Public content is great for:

  • SEO and getting content ranked in the search engines
  • Sharing articles on social media
  • Promoting your website in any other way.

Members only

Publishing members only content allows all logged-in members (free or paid) to access it.

This type of content is most commonly used by:

  • Completely free email newsletters that anyone can sign up for without a credit card
  • A "Freemium" option — attracting new members to your site so you can convert them to paid subscribers later.

Content that is set to paid-members only is only visible to members of your site who have an active subscription in Stripe.

This type of premium content

Specific tiers

When using Tiers, it's possible to protect content so only paid members with an active subscription on the selected tiers can access it.

Further reading

Is it possible to get around the login system using incognito mode, or disabling JavaScript?
No. Unlike several other platforms, Ghost access levels are set on the server. There’s no secret way for people who are not members to access your content. The only way to allow anyone to view your posts is to set the access level to public.
Is member only content indexed by search engines?
URLs with protected content are still available to be indexed by the search engines, but protected content on that URL can’t be accessed or crawled. How content indexing worksAll posts and pages published on your Ghost site are automatically included in your sitemap, regardless of the content access…
How to leverage SEO for a membership website
Search engine optimization can work for membership business and newsletters too — here’s how.