Chase Away Winter with Ghost

Chase Away Winter with Ghost
Photo by Johannes Plenio / Unsplash

February is finally over. I am all about the love and romance and kitsch of Valentine's Day, but even still, I am always thrilled for February to wind down as the winds of March guster and bluster through the streets, whipping up whatever duster they can muster—you see what I did there.

Anyway, by the time February is only half-way through, I find myself in a sort of annual rut, lacking much inspiration and longing to change things up. It's perfect timing to do some much-needed pre-spring cleaning and redesigning of this website. It's been pretty mundane and almost not worth mentioning.

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

I was going to pass over the opportunity to share the steps taken in giving this website a facelift, but then I was sitting in a café, sipping a cup of Kenyan blend, and it dawned on me the difficulty I had in getting my first site up and running so long ago. And then there were the seemingly countless data losses and rebuilds that brought at least as much pain as learning. Maybe the experience gained through running this site is worth penning after all.

First, it's important to know why I chose to go the route of self-hosting as opposed to just paying a fee to whatever blog site and just start cranking out the ideas. I initially said it was about control and not wanting to open myself up to the possibility of cancellation. That wasn't the entire truth; I wanted this site to be as much about actively learning full-stack development as it was about showcasing the learning I was doing on the side at the time—network engineering.

I knew there wouldn't be much of an audience, but that didn't stop me. I knew there would be like-minded individuals out there, searching for answers about website building, and I hoped my little site could help light the way through some of the dark and obscure corners of that research.

In short, I wanted to learn the technology and then turn around and teach it.

My first attempt at building a website was fraught with all the problems you might expect from a WordPress site in 2020. With a bare-metal installation on a Raspberry pi 3 and all the accompanying plugins, my site was a mess. Let's just say that once the site was up and running, I was too exhausted from building and configuring it to actually use it. There had to be a better way.

"As luck would have it, there is a better way; it's called 'Ghost.'"

The words still ring in my ears. "Ghost," I thought, "That sounds like some high schooler built it." Boy, was I wrong. Ghost is a top-notch CMS that doesn't use plug-ins. It is used by professional individuals and organizations the likes of Apple Inc., Mozilla, Ookla Speed Test, and Open AI to name a few.

You choose from one of the many included attractive themes, customize one (, build your own from scratch, or hire a pro developer), launch the Ghost server, forward some ports on your router, and you're off to the races. The only question was how was I going to deploy Ghost?

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