I was looking recently for a simple and low maintenance blog solution. Nothing too fancy, for I will have not so many articles and I don’t need weird plugins, for now anyway. I also need simple things like code highlight in my articles if I am to include code and if possible a way of customizing my pages without too much effort.

Naturally, at first I looked at Wordpress and Medium for they are the most common way to get up and running with a blog.

What if I need a custom page and a custom design for that particular page?
I will then have to try Wordpress and maybe the self-hosted version to have it under my control.

But there are tons of things that can go wrong here, because Wordpress needs “special care”. Maintenance has to be done regularly, upgrades for bugs and security purposes, and it’s way too complex for the small things that I need. There are tons of articles like this on the internet https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/7-reasons-why-novices-should-not-self-host-wordpress/ and even though I don’t look at myself as a novice, I still am when it comes to Wordpress.

It’s been only 2 days since my brother-in-law Lucian (he’s a great guy, and if you're not like me and you are into fly fishing please visit Troutline.ro or his blogs: Flytying.ro and Flyfisher.ro) had an unpleasant hacked event on his Wordpress blog which was not updated for some time. Fortunately, it was a White hat Hacker that injected a message into a post suggesting to upgrade.

I need something else!

“It’s way too much trouble” I thought, and at that point, a friend of mine recommended Ghost CMS which is now at version 0.11.4

From the get-go Ghost seemed simple and friendly.

  • It’s entirely build in JS, like KeystoneJS but simpler;
  • The download version is open source;
  • Articles are written in Markdown;
  • Images and Videos can be embedded easily;
  • It has Post Scheduling, with just entering a date in the future;
  • Ghost themes use Handlebars templating language;
  • The admin panel is simple and straight forward;
  • It has a nice collaboration feature, for multiple authors, but I use it independently;
  • Redirects are easy to setup from redirects.json file;
  • Comments can be enabled through third party services. Take a look at this tutorial: https://www.ghostforbeginners.com/how-to-enable-comments-on-a-ghost-blog/

I downloaded the self-hosted version, unzipped it and I was ready to go since there is almost no configuration to be made.
Follow this guide for quick and easy setup: http://themes.ghost.org/docs/getting-started

For those that have Webfaction hosting (which is absolutely great and versatile) there is a prebuild Ghost application that can be deployed at a click-distance.

Ghost documentation is still evolving but it’s currently enough to help you have your way around.

If you require a collection of readymade themes and fancy plugins, maybe there are better options for a JS and Node powered CMS like Keystone, which I haven’t tried yet, but definitely will.

For something simple, yet powerful give Ghost a try.
I liked it from the very beginning.

Troubleshooting Facebook Share

Facebook share needs OG tags to be added to the post.hbs template file. Full description found here:
http://blog.siddhuw.info/customising-facebook-share-dialog-content-on-ghost/

Note: Once an article has been shared, Facebook will automatically cache the page information found in the meta tags. This is Facebook normal behavior. In order to update it (e.g. if another description is needed later) you need to manually go to:
https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/
and press the Scrape Again button.