June 1, 2019

The Ghost Publishing Platform

Setup of a blogging platform to document things that are worth remembering or sharing. This includes registering a domain name, setting up a home server and installing the Ghost publishing platform.

The Ghost Publishing Platform

I wanted to have a platform to document things that are worth remembering or sharing for quite some time now. Now I finally got around to:

  • Registering a domain name
  • Setting up a home server
  • Installing the Ghost publishing platform

Registering brokoko.eu

There was a deal from the registrar netim to register a .eu domain for 10 years for only 14.28€. What a deal – so i registered brokoko.eu.

After that I checked my options of hosting the web space. The options are, eigther you go to one of the usual webhosters, like wint.global or you roll your own. Considering that I would use existing hardware for the home server, that consumes about 10 Watts at idle, the cost of running the website from a local home server comes down to about 2€ a month. Since this is on par with the cost of a simple web hoster, I went with the home server option.

Name resolution in the internet is done using the domain name system. In order for your browser to resolve the url brokoko.eu to the ip address of my home server, I had to setup an account at afraid.org and register the name servers of afraid.org with my registrar netim. The name servers Afraid.org at can be updated with the public ip of my home network with a simple api call. This is done by my router every time it receives a new ip from my isp. I have a fritx box router and found a simple guide at tobiwashere. I configured port forwarding of the ports 80, 22 and 443 on the router, so that all requests against these ports from outside my home network are forwarded to my linux home server. 80 and 443 for http and https. 22 for ssh access.

Home Server Setup

I installed a linux server distribution onto my trusty Thinkpad X61. Then i disconneted all unneeded periperials, such as GSM, Wifi, secordary Fan and Display. I tried two distributions, Fedora Server 30 and Ubuntu Server 18.04 and measured the power consumption using a simple power meter.

Before tweaking the power consumtion with the help of powerTop the conusumption was with both distros at around 12-13 Watts. After using powerTops auto-tune functionality the consumption went down to 10 Watts in idle. This is quite high if I compare to my 2018 Xiaomi Notebook, which idles at around 5 Watts with screen at lowest brightness. But the X61 is from 2008, and that was before the mobiliy and ultrabook trend fully cought on in the industry.

In the end I went with Ubuntu Server since it made the installation of the publishing system simpler. The documentation of the Ghost publishing system officially only supports Ubunutu. Also the installation process of Ubuntu Server was very pleasant. During the installation you even have the option of importing your public ssh key from your Github account, which gives you instant access to the machine from your home network via ssh and disables ssh password login for added security. Nice – that is some good UX!

Ghost Publishing System

After a little research for a blogging platform that I can run at home, the choice came down to wordpress or ghost. I went with ghost because I did not know the platform and it looks interesting. It is build on node.js and a breeze to install – if you pick ubuntu server as the host system. I followed the setup described in the documentation and was done in 15 min. This including setting up ssl for https with letsencrypt, which was also fully automated – nice!

Super user friendly automated installation of Ghost. Love it.

Now I am typing away ...