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SOLVED Is it really difficult to manage a server?


  • App Dev

    I'm thinking about running Ghost inside of a $5.00 server somewhere. What are some things that I should know about if I do this? Would just running the server with Cloudron be sufficient at this point?



  • Yes, and no. I followed Digital Ocean tutorials, and others from different sites, and conceptually there was a lot I didn't understand. This was challenging when something broke and I didn't even know what happened. But over time the tuts made more sense, the terminology was sticking, the concepts became clearer, but the amount of work and time needed to maintain and monitor the server didn't decrease much. The new Ghost works really really nice compared to how it started, and if that is all you will have running on the $5 server then you should be fine. Just always make backups of the Ghost app and assume at some point something will go wonky, or you will even get hacked, and learn from the experience. Restore from a backup and get back at it.

    On top of the server though you have domain/DNS issues to understand and maintain. This can be tricky too, but over time it all gets clearer.

    That said, using Cloudron is such a treat. Because I tinkered around on my own for awhile, I now better understand what Cloudron is doing, and how and why, and so it makes it that much nicer to use. But if you are starting from zero, then it is still a great way to get your Ghost site up and running. You could always familiarize yourself with webserver things locally while using MAMP or LAMP on Linux or...XAMPP (or whatever the windows version is called); and get used to servers locally with VirtualBox or VMWare and spin up an Ubuntu image and use it as a test server.

    I will add that using Cloudron to run a Ghost app is advantageous in that you will also have the option for the built-in email server, and the option to install other apps that use Apache rather than nginx, or for that matter, php instead of nodejs; I still find it challenging to run php apps that would usually run well under Apache on an nginx server if the main app is a Ghost app, and vice versa, getting a Ghost app to run under Apache so that the other php apps can remain undisturbed. Cloudron makes this mixing of apps seamless.


  • App Dev

    @scooke Thank you for your elaborated reply. I can tell you put some time into it.

    So technically, I could self host Ghost and make periodic backups, and if anything breaks I could restore Ghost back to a semi-decent form based on the backups I previously created? It does look like the JSON file contains just about everything besides images.



  • @Felix One really nice aspect of the modern Ghost is that backups are done within the app but saved to a place you choose. Restoring from that is just as simple (as long as the domain is the same). I've moved three different Ghost apps from three different servers over the last few years and it always went smoothly. I also use the free tier of cloudinary to host most of the media, so the Ghost backups don't end up huge - there are just links to backup! And it is better than semi-decent, they are exactly what the last backup backed up.


  • App Dev

    @scooke Thank you.

    @scooke said in Is it really difficult to manage a server?:

    @Felix One really nice aspect of the modern Ghost is that backups are done within the app but saved to a place you choose. Restoring from that is just as simple (as long as the domain is the same). I've moved three different Ghost apps from three different servers over the last few years and it always went smoothly. I also use the free tier of cloudinary to host most of the media, so the Ghost backups don't end up huge - there are just links to backup! And it is better than semi-decent, they are exactly what the last backup backed up.

    Thank you for that information. It makes the process less daunting. I feel that If I'm able to do that, it'll be easy to make mistakes and live with them, since I could potentially just revert back to the way things were via the backup files.


  • App Dev

    @Felix Installing cloudron is pretty easy too - https://cloudron.io/get.html

    I'd setup a digital ocean server, this link :https://m.do.co/c/93604d2ec646 is my referral link (Sorry for the shameless plug!). It will get you $100 in credits over 60 days when you spend $25 with them - I hope it helps!

    Or, if Digital Ocean aint your style, Kimsufi (I host my cloudron here) has DEDICATED servers for as low as $5: https://www.kimsufi.com/us/en/servers.xml (Depending on inventory for the day). If you can swing $15 or more a month for a server I'd go here instead. Otherwise for $5-$10, Digital Ocean is the way to go.


  • App Dev

    This isn't an endorsement, but I got a "feels too good to be true" deal from ssdnodes.com if anyone wants to check them out. I'm putting my purchase through its paces to see if it holds up to the advertised specs now. Here's my reference link if you are interested.

    I'm a volunteer app packager but avid user of Cloudron - it's the simplest thing I've ever done and a great community of folks working to enhance the catalog of apps. 🙂 It's built to just work!



  • Using Cloudron has been really easy for a person like me (with little prior server mgmt skills). When I first started out, the only video I found to help me visualize this process was this one https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kjCqd6Bwc78 (installing cloudron on Vultr server guide).

    For Ghost specifically, while Cloudron updates the Ghost package version, it does not update your theme. I use WinSCP to connect to the server, see the files/folders visually & make changes (to the theme, delete stuff) if needed. After that, remember to Restart your app on Cloudron dashboard for changes to take effect.

    In addition to Cloudinary (a great choice) that scooke mentioned, I’m using https://postimages.org. A little roadblock we’re having now is the ghost Subscribe function + Cloudron email SMTP. It’s not taking in the new subscriber’s email properly.

    For security, disable password login & use SSH keys to access your server. Change from port 22 to 202 as recommended in the docs. https://cloudron.io/documentation/security/#securing-ssh-access

    I can share with u now that I have learned a lot on this exploration. The folks on this forum have been so helpful & generous in sharing their knowledge and tips.


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  • App Dev

    @vjvanjungg Thank you for the informative post.


  • App Dev

    @scooke You're good. Thanks for adding value to this forum. I just finished reading the Go Giver by Bob Burg, and thought about how this book aligns with your approach to just provide valuable information without expecting a return via affilite links, etc. You should read that book, you'll probably like it.


  • App Dev

    Thank you for your reply. Do you know how I should configure the DNS settings in this case if I'm using Digital Ocean?



  • @doodlemania2 that ssnodes.com "11:25:42 sale ends" call to action feels fishy AF along with the 1/10 market price but if its legit I guess its a 10x price in terms of savings for us!, +1


  • App Dev

    @plusone-nick If it helps - I just went to the site and the sale ends in 10 hours, so it seems legit.

    That said, for $60 a year for 8GB RAM, 80GB SSD, 2 vCPU, 4TB transfer isn't terrible. Kimsufi is a bit more expensive but you get REAL hardware not a KVM. The best value at ssdnodes though is definately the 109/year plan.



  • @plusone-nick I've been with ssdnodes for a long time, and yeah, the sales are always happening. And sadly, the price often listed is the yearly price of a 3-year term! They had a blog post awhile back where they said they had received backlash about the pricing (people didn't like to see a low price and think that was available for just one year only to discover that is the yearly price when 3 years are bought!) and were going to try listing the yearly price upfront (which is higher than the yearly 3-year price, obviously) for a little while to see if sales improve. I guess they decided it was better to show the yearly 3-year price after all. Anyway, I've been using them for awhile, and for the most part I have no complaints. But I've never done any exhaustive comparisons either. I can tell you right now that my Cloudron dashboard tells me that, with my ssdnodes 24GB VPS with a 4GB swap, I am using about 4GB of ram with hourly spikes to 7.5 GB of ram, and a fairly constant 16% of CPU usage, for a Cloudron running (are you ready): 9 WP sites, Pixelfed, Analytics, Bitwarden, Matrix + RIOT, 5 LAMP, Etherpad, Wallabag, SOGO, Vikunja, Mediawiki, plus email for 3 or 4 of those apps. I guess I thought that running so many things that the percentages would be higher than 50 or so; it gave me the impression I could install more. But with the apps listed above, I need to have at least 4 of the 2096MB apps turned off for Cloudron to run without hiccups. But still, thats a lot of stuff on one VPS, I think!



  • @murgero So, the $60 /year VPS is actual 180 when you go to pay because you are getting that price for a 3-year term. If you buy just year by year then the price is $80. Likewise, the $109 /year is actually $294.30/3yr - you have to buy the 3 year plan. If you don't want to spend 294.30 all at once and prefer year by year then the price is actually $149/1yr. You can see why they got some complaints.


  • App Dev

    Hi @scooke

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    In this area, I just left the location empty and installed ghost into the bare domain. That's OK right? What does this mean, btw?

    Thank you 🙂



  • @Felix Hi there, yes, you did it! Leaving the Location window blank means the Ghost app will be reachable by the plain domain name, like example.com. Most of mine are installed like that, but a few I actually use the Location, like test.example.com.

    For the Location option to work though you need to have a wild card DNS entry, like *.example.com resolving to your VPSs IP. Also, if you want www.example.com to lead to just example.com, then your DNS must have a CNAME entry www for example.com. This is set up at your domain registrar. You can message me directly if you want about this.



  • @murgero @scooke ohh okay makes sense - yeah that 3 year bundle can be a little misleading. Kinda like domain registrars giving deals for a year @ 5$ then the next years are $40 for example. Thanks for the clarification!


  • App Dev

    @scooke Thank you. Now I can work the terminal a bit and can install Ghost quick and as needed on Digital Ocean droplets. I'm going to take a basic course on Linux commands and working the terminal now. This seems interesting.

    This is bringing me back to when I was a kid hanging out on IRC channels and getting MP3's and Video Games through CD and LS commands on my old IBM box.

    When using Cloudron, should I just use one overall email for all apps? or are accounts specifically tied to domains? so my.domain will need its own account or can my.domain1 and my.domain2 be managed from one master Cloudron account? With that said can I install Ghost twice from within one account?

    Thank you.


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