Setting up Ghost CMS on a subdomain of domain managed by Vercel nameserver

Posted September 5, 2021 689 views

Hello, I am currently running a Next.js frontend deployed to Vercel, and I am using the Vercel nameservers to manage the domain.

Now, I want to deploy Ghost CMS to a DigitalOcean droplet on a subdomain, and thus have the admin interface at

My A DNS records in Vercel look as follows:

Name Value
@ [vercelIP]
cms [DO droplet IP]

when i attempt to install the droplet and set it up, it fails to generate a SSL certificate, and it seems like it cannot use the root domain’s certificate from Vercel if i just provide the IP to the setup script

I am very green with DNS stuff so if anyone knows how i can achieve this setup that would be great.

I am trying to do this because I would not like a user to be able to go to and be able to see the CMS login. Additionally, if the user goes to first, then to, a 404 will be returned until the cache is cleared. This is why i am trying to put the ghost CMS on a subdomain.

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1 answer


I believe that it is important to do the process in a specific order, what I could suggest is doing is:

  • First create the Ghost Droplet and note down the IP address
  • Then go to your Vercel’s DNS zone and add the A record for your cms subdomain to point to that new Droplet’s IP address
  • Then after that add a CNAME record for to point to, that way you would have the www version also covered
  • After that SSH to the new Ghost Droplet and finish the installation process

Let me know how it goes.

  • I tried this method and it worked, which is good. Ghost is now available at and the SSL cert generated.

    The problem now is that the SSL cert for my root domain seems to be invalid. Vercel provides a certificate automatically for and, and does not seem to allow for additional certificates to be added without a pro plan :(

    also the certificates Vercel provided cannot be deleted and it cannot generate new certs…

    • Hello,

      Happy to hear that the Ghost instance is working as expected now!

      The SSL certificate for your subdomain on your DigitalOcean Droplet can not really affect the SSL on the main site that is hosted elsewhere. As the SSL for your main site has been issued automatically and can not be deleted, what I could suggest is contacting Vercel in this case.