My friend is a Ghost in the cloud

My friend is a Ghost in the cloud
Photo by José Ramos / Unsplash

Hey there, remember my old site, ""? Yeah, I took it down during the whole COVID-19 chaos. The plan was always to come back online eventually but I never felt ready for the jump. I also did not want to rebuild it the same way. That first website had been a straightforward endeavor where I employed the traditional method of simply paying for a backend service. This time, however, I yearned for something more. I wanted control over my domain, a hands-on experience managing my own server and hosting.

For this project, I have chosen Ghost which is a popular open-source Content Management System (CMS). The pursuit of this endeavor was a journey in itself as I had never even used ghost in the past however I was fairly confident I could do it after doing a bit of online research. After a while, I did manage to run Ghost localy on my machine. Getting it hosted online though was another experience and battle entirely.  If you are reading this, it means that I have been successful in making this website go live. 🥳  

How did I do it?

Well, it wasn't a walk in the park, I can tell you that. However I believe that each error message was a lesson, every failed attempt, a stepping stone towards my goal which was to add a new knowledge to my toolbox.

We are living through an incredible time. I have in large part been able to get this far thanks to  ChatGPT and my friends. These two are secret ingredients that made this project a reality.

ChatGPT as an Assistant
It is amazing how much this tool can actually help you if you know how to use it. I fed ChatGPT the context to Ghost's resources. I then told it to act as my assistant in the installation process. By doing so, I was able to get a line by line instruction specific for my situation. Due to this, the local installation of Ghost was quite smooth. I was also able to inform the AI when things did not work well. The AI was very helpful in providing solutions.

Thank you Ish & Vidush
These two were my go-to guys when I needed advice or was stuck on a problem. A machine can help but it still remains a machine and currently it still remains limited. The human factor must not be underestimated. Big thanks to Ish for taking time out during a developers' conference to help me. Ish also wrote about it, if like me you want to host ghost on an Ubuntu VPS, you can find the documentation by him here.

Why Ghost as CMS?

Why did I choose Ghost for my site? Simple - I loved its clean, straightforward design. My experience with WordPress and Drupal felt like trying to find my way in a cluttered room, while Ghost was like a clean, open space. Plus, Ghost gave me the control I wanted, with a bunch of cool features. Many of the features and integrations such as analytics and emails are also available in the form of plugins. For a simple personal website, I think ghost works great.

Why for my Server

Choosing my server hosting was a bit of a wildcard. I went with a local service called instead of big names like GoDaddy or AWS. Why? I was looking for flexibility, reliability, and good value. Plus, working with a local operator was a nice change of pace. My contact at, a guy named David, was super helpful and made the process easy. I opted for a Linux Virtual Server due to compatibility with Ghost and its open source nature.

My reflection

Looking back, I realize that although bittersweet, taking down the previous website was not a loss, but an opportunity. An opportunity to learn, to grow, and to build something better. As I write this, on my new website, hosted on my own terms, I can't help but feel a sense of accomplishment. I've not just built a website, I've gained a new knowledge, learnt some new skills and added some new tools in my marketing stack.