How To Set Up Ghost Blog On DigitalOcean: I have already spoken about the pros and cons of the Ghost blogging platform in this article. Ghost is a simple yet elegant blogging platform that provides a minimalist interface to its users. As I have mentioned in my article on Ghost Review, I love the platform. But it is not the right option for beginners as it doesn’t have a free plan and the Ghost (Pro) Basic Plan costs $29 per month. This is expensive.

The ghost CMS is open source and can be downloaded for free. So, you can host it on your own server. However, the process of setting up Ghost on your own server is not an easy task. You need to be a technically sound in order to install ghost on your own server. Of course, there are several affordable, managed Ghost hosting services available but then again these are not up to the mark.

So, what’s the solution? Is there an affordable and easy way to set up a Ghost blog? Of course, there is 🙂 Thanks to Digital Ocean. With this cloud infrastructure provider’s Ghost Droplet, setting up your Ghost blog is easy-peasy lemon squeezy. Well, not exactly! But it is definitely easier than the other methods. So, in this article, I will explain how to set up Ghost on DigitalOcean.

How To Set Up Ghost Blog On DigitalOcean?

As mentioned above, DigitalOcean provides Ghost 1-click Droplet. So, what is this Droplet?

DigitalOcean Droplets are Linux-based virtual machines (VMs) that run on top of virtualized hardware. Each Droplet you create is a new server you can use, either standalone or as part of a larger, cloud-based infrastructure.

Basically, a Droplet in DigitalOcean is just a server. The Ghost Droplet of DigitalOcean is a server which is set up for Ghost. With the Ghost Droplet, you don’t have to get into the technical aspects of preparing your server for installing Ghost. And this is way cheaper than the Ghost (Pro) plans provided by Ghost – the minimum Ghost Droplet price being just $5 per month.

So, let us now find out how to install Ghost on DigitalOcean.

How To Install Ghost On DigitalOcean?

Installing Ghost on DigitalOcean and creating your Ghost blog involves the following four stages:

  1. Creating Ghost Droplet
  2. Connecting to Custom Domain
  3. Installing Ghost
  4. Setting Up Ghost

Let’s look into each of these stages in details:

How To Set Up Ghost Blog On DigitalOcean: Creating Ghost Droplet

First of all, you need to create your account on DigitalOcean. This will require you to have a valid Email ID, Mobile Number, and Credit/Debit Card. No money will be deducted when you sign up.

Once you have created your account, go to the Ghost Droplet page of DigitalOcean. Click on ‘Create Ghost Droplet’. This will open a new page wherein you will have to choose your droplet size. Select the $5 by navigating to the left. You can also enable various other settings. Just select your datacenter region closest to the region of your target audience and name your droplet. Everything else is optional. Then click on ‘Create Droplet’.

You will see the following screen with an IP address, let’s say 149.210.213.20 (the IP address will be there in place of the black box in the image below):

How To Install Ghost On DigitalOcean - Creating Ghost Droplet

Now, if you paste this IP address in your browser, you will see the following Ghost Installation screen:

How To Install Ghost On Digital Ocean - Ghost Installation Page

If you see this screen, it means the Ghost Droplet has been created successfully and hosted on DigitalOcean. You can then move onto the next step – Connecting to Custom Domain.

How To Set Up Ghost Blog On DigitalOcean: Connecting To Custom Domain

Before getting into the step-by-step procedure, you should know that this process of installing Ghost on DigitalOcean works for only domains (mywebsite.uvw) and sub-domains (blog.mywebsite.uvw). If you want to install Ghost in any subdirectories (mywebsite.com/blog/), additional steps are to be followed.

Anyway, connecting to your custom domain is a two-stage process:

a. Add Domain To Digital Ocean: Click on the three dots from the right side of the screen as shown in the image below and select ‘Add a Domain’ from the drop-down menu.

How To Install Ghost On Digital Ocean - Connecting To Custom Domain

Enter the name of the domain and click on ‘Add Domain’.

How To Install Ghost On Digital Ocean - Add Domain

You will see the DNS records as in the image below:

How To Install Ghost On Digital Ocean - DNS Records

b. Configure A-Record Within Your Domain Registrar: Once you have added the domain to Digital Ocean, log in to your domain registrar, and configure the A-records of the domain as follows:

  • Create an A-record for ‘blog’ pointing to the IP Address (ex: 149.210.213.20) if you want the sub-domain blog.mywebsite.uvw to house your blog.
  • Create an A-record for ‘@’ pointing to the IP Address (ex: 149.210.213.20) if you want the domain mywebsite.uvw to house your blog.

Note that the process of configuring A-records may vary from one domain registrar to another but the basic idea remains the same.

Once the custom domain is connected, it may take some time for it to propagate. You can use various free DNS Propagation Checkers available (like dnschecker dot org) to see if it has been propagated. After it is propagated, you will see the same Ghost Installation page if you navigate to the custom domain from your browser.

How To Set Up Ghost Blog On DigitalOcean: Installing Ghost

Now, you have created your Ghost Droplet and connected your custom domain to the IP address. The next step is to install Ghost. For this, follow the steps as under:

a. Log in to your DigitalOcean dashboard and click on the three dots from the right side of the screen as shown in the image below. Then click on ‘Access Console’. The DigitalOcean console will open.

How To Install Ghost On Digital Ocean - Install Ghost

b. Enter your Username (root) and Password (sent to your email ID after you created the droplet).

c. It will prompt you to change your password. Enter the current password and hit ‘Enter’. Then enter your new password twice. The installation will initialize.

d. Once it is complete, you will see a message on the terminal saying that Ghost will now prompt you to enter your domain and email address. Hit ‘Enter’. Ghost installation will begin. Then you have to enter the domain (or subdomain) and your email address (not necessarily the same one used to create the droplet). After a while, you will see a message on the terminal saying that Ghost has been installed successfully.

You can then visit the domain (or subdomain) from your browser to see if it is working. You will be able to see the default blog template of Ghost.

How To Install Ghost On Digital Ocean - Ghost Blog

How To Set Up Ghost Blog On DigitalOcean: Setting Up Ghost

Now visit the URL of your blog followed by ‘/ghost’ and you will see the following screen:

How To Install Ghost On Digital Ocean - Setting Up Ghost Blog

Click on ‘Create Your Account’. Enter your Site Title, Name, Email Address, and Password. Then hit ‘Enter’.

The next step wherein you can add members is optional. You can skip it. You will then land on the Ghost admin dashboard which is extremely easy to understand. From here, you will be able to add pages and posts, upload themes, etc.

So, now you know how to install Ghost on DigitalOcean. I hope this article helps you.

If you face any issue while installing Ghost on DigitalOcean, feel free to contact me. I will be happy to help you out.