How To Install and Configure Ghost on Ubuntu 16.04
A previous version of this tutorial was written by Kevin Isaac
Ghost is a light-weight open-source blogging platform. Ghost is fully customizable, with many themes available.
In this tutorial, you’ll set up a production-ready Ghost instance on Ubuntu 16.04 using the official
ghost-cli installation wizard. This will install Ghost, configure Nginx to proxy requests to Ghost, secure it with a Let’s Encrypt certificate, and configure Ghost to run in the background as a system service.
To complete this tutorial, you will need:
- One 1GB Ubuntu 16.04 server set up by following the Ubuntu 16.04 initial server setup guide, including a sudo non-root user and a firewall.
- Node.js installed using the official PPA, as explained in How To Install Node.js on Ubuntu 16.04.
- Nginx installed on your server, as shown in How To Install Nginx on Ubuntu 16.04.
- MySQL installed by following How to Install MySQL on Ubuntu 16.04.
- Optionally, a domain name configured to point to your server. You can learn how to point domains to DigitalOcean Droplets by following the How To Set Up a Host Name with DigitalOcean tutorial. You’ll need this to enable SSL support with Let’s Encrypt through Ghost’s installation wizard.
Step 1 — Installing the Ghost CLI application
We’ll install Ghost using the official
ghost-cli program. This program will install Ghost, create the MySQL user and database, configure Nginx as a reverse proxy, and secure the site using SSL/TLS encryption.
- sudo npm i -g ghost-cli
We’ll place Ghost in the
var/www/ghost directory, which is the recommended installation location. Create this directory:
- mkdir /var/www/ghost
Then ensure that your user owns this directory.
- sudo chown $USER:$USER /var/www/ghost
/var/www/ghost directory must have full permissions for your user, and read and execute permissions for everyone else, so set the permissions with the following command:
sudo chmod 775 /var/www/ghost
With the CLI installed and the directory in place, we can set up our blog.
Step 2 — Installing and Configuring Ghost
The Ghost CLI app has an installation wizard that will walk you through all of the steps to configure a working Ghost blog.
Switch to the
- cd /var/www/ghost/
Then use the
ghost command to install Ghost. It will configure Ghost to use MySQL as the default database. While you can use other databases, MySQL is the recommended choice for production setups.
- ghost install
The installer will first ensure you have the necessary prerequisites installed, and will then download and install Ghost:
Output✔ Checking system Node.js version ✔ Checking logged in user ✔ Checking current folder permissions ✔ Checking operating system compatibility ✔ Checking for a MySQL installation ✔ Checking memory availability ✔ Checking for latest Ghost version ✔ Setting up install directory ✔ Downloading and installing Ghost v1.22.2 ✔ Finishing install process
Once the install process completes, you’ll be prompted for your blog URL, along with your MySQL database information. Provide the root username and password in this step. For the database name, you can use the default of
Output? Enter your blog URL: http://example.com ? Enter your MySQL hostname: localhost ? Enter your MySQL username: root ? Enter your MySQL password: [hidden] ? Enter your Ghost database name: ghost_prod
The configuration wizard will then create a ghost system user and will ask you if it should create a ghost MySQL user, which you should allow:
Output✔ Configuring Ghost ✔ Setting up instance Running sudo command: useradd --system --user-group ghost Running sudo command: chown -R ghost:ghost /var/www/ghost/content ✔ Setting up "ghost" system user ? Do you wish to set up "ghost" mysql user? Yes ✔ Setting up "ghost" mysql user
Next, it will ask you if you wish to configure Nginx. Confirm this and the installer will create the appropriate reverse-proxy server block for your blog:
Output? Do you wish to set up Nginx? Yes ✔ Creating nginx config file at /var/www/ghost/system/files/example.con.conf Running sudo command: ln -sf /var/www/ghost/system/files/example.com.conf /etc/nginx/sites-available/example.com.conf Running sudo command: ln -sf /etc/nginx/sites-available/example.com.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/example.com.conf Running sudo command: nginx -s reload ✔ Setting up Nginx
Next, you’ll be prompted to set up SSL support. If you are using a registered fully-qualified domain name and have configured your DNS settings to point to your server’s IP address, then press
Y to continue.
Output? Do you wish to set up SSL? Yes
You’ll be prompted for your email address, and then the certificate will be installed.
Output? Enter your email (used for Let's Encrypt notifications) email@example.com Running sudo command: mkdir -p /etc/letsencrypt Running sudo command: ./acme.sh --install --home /etc/letsencrypt Running sudo command: /etc/letsencrypt/acme.sh --issue --home /etc/letsencrypt --domain example.com --webroot /var/www/ghost/system/nginx-root --reloadcmd "nginx -s reload" --accountemail firstname.lastname@example.org Running sudo command: openssl dhparam -out /etc/nginx/snippets/dhparam.pem 2048 Running sudo command: openssl dhparam -out /etc/nginx/snippets/dhparam.pem 2048 Running sudo command: mv /tmp/ssl-params.conf /etc/nginx/snippets/ssl-params.conf ✔ Creating ssl config file at /var/www/ghost/system/files/example.com-ssl.conf Running sudo command: ln -sf /var/www/ghost/system/files/example.com-ssl.conf /etc/nginx/sites-available/example.com-ssl.conf Running sudo command: ln -sf /etc/nginx/sites-available/example.com-ssl.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/example.com-ssl.conf Running sudo command: nginx -s reload ✔ Setting up SSL
Next, the configuration wizard will prompt you to set up a systemd service. Press
Y to continue and the wizard will create a new systemd service called
ghost_example-com and enable it to start on boot:
Output? Do you wish to set up Systemd? Yes ✔ Creating systemd service file at /var/www/ghost/system/files/ghost_example-com.service Running sudo command: ln -sf /var/www/ghost/system/files/ghost_example-com.service /lib/systemd/system/ghost_example-com.service Running sudo command: systemctl daemon-reload ✔ Setting up Systemd
Finally, the wizard will configure your database and ask if it should start Ghost, which you should allow by pressing
OutputRunning sudo command: /var/www/ghost/current/node_modules/.bin/knex-migrator-migrate --init --mgpath /var/www/ghost/current ✔ Running database migrations ? Do you want to start Ghost? Yes Running sudo command: systemctl is-active ghost_example-com ✔ Ensuring user is not logged in as ghost user ✔ Checking if logged in user is directory owner ✔ Checking current folder permissions Running sudo command: systemctl is-active ghost_example-com ✔ Validating config ✔ Checking folder permissions ✔ Checking file permissions ✔ Checking content folder ownership ✔ Checking memory availability Running sudo command: systemctl start ghost_example-com ✔ Starting Ghost Running sudo command: systemctl is-enabled ghost_example-com Running sudo command: systemctl enable ghost_example-com --quiet ✔ Starting Ghost
Your Ghost blog is now installed and ready for use. You can access your blog at
http://example.com. Now let’s create an account so you can create your first post.
Step 3 — Creating an Account and Configuring your Blog
To log in and configure your blog, visit
http://example.com/login. You’ll be greeted with the following screen:
Press the Create your account button to get started.
You’ll see the Create your account screen, which asks you for your blog title, as well as your name, email address, and a password:
Fill in the details and press the Last step: Invite your team button.
The wizard will ask you to enter email addresses of other collaborators, but you can select the link I’ll do this later at the bottom of the screen.
You’ll then see a list of posts, which Ghost calls stories:
The menu on the left lets you create a new story or manage your blog’s other settings. Consult the official documentation to learn more.
In this tutorial, you installed Ghost, configured Nginx to proxy requests to Ghost, and ensured that Ghost runs as a system service. There is a lot more you can do with Ghost, though. Take a look at these tutorials to learn more about how to use your new blog: