The Ghost CMS is becoming more and more popular, and whilst it offers an out-of-the-box, hosted solution; if you want full control, it's better to self-host.

In this article we'll install Ghost on the latest version of Ubuntu (20.04), and although it states on the website that it only supports up until 18.04, if you follow this guide fully, you'll have no problems.

Also, if you're interested in a local->production git workflow, there's a link at the bottom of the page with a full walkthrough.

This guide implies you've already set up your Ubuntu 20.04 (or 18.04) server.

If you haven't, I recommend using Linode... super reliable! (p.s that link has my referral code)

Server setup

Create a new user and give sudo privileges

# login
ssh root@your_server_ip

# replace <user> with a new username of your choice

# create user 
adduser <user> 

# give admin privileges to the new user
usermod -aG sudo <user>

# log in as new user
su - <user>

Update server packages

# Update package lists
sudo apt-get update

# Update installed packages
sudo apt-get upgrade

Install Nginx & allow through firewall

# Install Nginx by running:

sudo apt-get install nginx

# allow Nginx through the firewall:

sudo ufw allow 'Nginx Full'

Install MySQL Server

sudo apt-get install mysql-server

Make MySQL Server compatible with ghost-cli (remember to update the password

sudo mysql

# update 'password' with a new password and keep the quotation marks
ALTER USER 'root'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED WITH mysql_native_password BY 'password';


Install Node.js

curl -sL | sudo -E bash

sudo apt-get install -y nodejs

Install ghost-cli

sudo npm install ghost-cli@latest -g

Create a directory for you installation

# replace <sitename> with your site, i.e
sudo mkdir -p /var/www/<sitename>

# Replace <user> with the name of your user who will own this directory
sudo chown <user>:<user> /var/www/<sitename>

# set permissions
sudo chmod 775 /var/www/<sitename>

# change to that directory
cd /var/www/<sitename>

Install Ghost

ghost install

You'll now be prompted with a few questions. Here's what you should answer:

System checks failed with message: 'Linux version is not Ubuntu 16 or 18'
Some features of Ghost-CLI may not work without additional configuration.
For local installs we recommend using ghost install local instead.

Hit enter to continue

Enter your blog URL: https://<yourwebsiteurl> (i.e
Enter your MySQL hostname: localhost
Enter your MySQL username: root
Enter your MySQL password: <your root mysql password>
Do you wish to set up "ghost" mysql user? NO **SUPER IMPORTANT**
Do you wish to set up Nginx? Yes
Do you wish to set up SSL? Yes
Enter your email (For SSL Certificate) <youremail>
Do you wish to set up Systemd? Yes
Do you want to start Ghost? Yes

You should now be able to access your website via your server ip or domain name (if it's configured).

To access the admin area go to <yoursite>/ghost

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If you have any problems, leave a comment below and I'll try my best to help!