In my first of many posts, I want to describe how I setup this blog. Hopefully, this can be of some help to those looking to navigate the overcrowded space of blogging software.
For quite some time now, I’ve had a hankering to create my own blog. Is it a tad outdated today? Maybe, but I don’t really care. Everytime I conjure up a new hack, or spend hours fighting a system before figuring it out, I have desire to share my experience with the world. But I didn’t want to do it through Blogger, or Wordpress (shudder), because talk about generic!
Thus, one day I finally fired up my browser, and searched for blogging software. My criterion were, in no particular order:
- It should be simple. A lot of the software available is overloaded with bloat, which distracts from the actually reading. I wanted none of that (this eliminated WP, Joomla, Wix and most offerings).
- I should be able to set it up on my own domain. Again, didn’t want to get lost in tons of Blogger or Medium blogs (Medium got eliminated here).
- It should be, to some extent, themeable.
- Should have a reasonable amount of support.
After cutting through a bunch of noise, I found this list, which has some pretty good options that fit my criteria to various extents. Ghost was one of the more attractive alternatives. It it free and open source. Check. Writes in markdown. Check plus. Provide their own hosting. Great. Themable, with a fair bit of ease for anyone whose used a templating system before. Check. After some more research, I decided to confirm Ghost.
As I write this post, after having spent a couple of days setting up my theme, I have to say, I think I made the right choice. It allows for quick code injection (HTML, CSS, JS, anything), right from it’s web interface. If you want more indepth customization, feel free to customize the entire look of the site with the theming support. It has a great starting theme, and a simple and intuitive post creation and management UI.
Next, I went to Namecheap, a good domain hosting service, and bought my very own domain, prag.io. If you have the Github Student Dev pack, a .me domain with Namecheap is free for a year, plus a SSL certificate. What’s more, on purchasing the domain, they actually gave me one free year of Ghost hosting. Sweet!
Finally, no domain purchase is complete without custom emails, I went and got the G-Suite and setup my email (that you can find on the about page). That’s it, connected all the components (well, just the Gmail, everything else came pre-connected) and got my working site which you’re now viewing.
All in all, a good hassle free setup. Worth going for.