Have you heard of Ghost and wondering how to install Ghost on Google Cloud?

Or, do you want to start your own blog but tired of confusing configuration and bloated content management system (CMS)?

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to install Ghost for free on Google Cloud and start publishing your content.

What is Ghost?

Ghost is a free and open-source blogging platform that’s been used by big names in the industry such as Apple, NASA, Mozilla, and thousands more.

You could install and set up Ghost on your own on services such as Digital Ocean, Linode, or Google Cloud. My preferred choice for the service provider is Google Cloud. With its $300 free credit for 12 months, you’ll get 1-year free hosting for your website.

Ghost also provides Ghost (Pro) — the official Ghost managed hosting for users who like to run a live blog without the hassle of configuring the server and setting up Ghost manually.

Ghost (Pro) pricing starts from $36/month or $29/month if billed annually.

Ghost vs WordPress: Why Ghost?

Unlike WordPress — the most popular Content Management System out there, Ghost is a much simpler blogging platform that focuses on user experience, faster performance and search engine optimization (SEO).

Click here to find out the complete comparison of Ghost and WordPress.

Ghost is a fast, modern WordPress alternative which puts the excitement back into blogging.

Ghost offers SEO, payment, social sharing, and newsletter functionalities as part of its core feature so don’t have to install third-party plugins.

Plus, it has integrated Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) support, so your site will rank higher from Google mobile search results. Click on this link to find out why AMP is important.

Recently, I moved GreenTeaOrMatcha from WordPress to Ghost and my only comment is I should’ve done it sooner.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Ghost is a fast, modern WordPress alternative which puts the excitement back into blogging.” quote=”Ghost is a fast, modern WordPress alternative which puts the excitement back into blogging.”]

Install Ghost on Google Cloud

Sign up for a Google Cloud account and take advantage of the Free Trial.

With Google Cloud Platform Free Tier, you’ll get free limited usage for the selected products. On top of that, if you’re a new customer, you’ll get $300 free credits to spend for your first 12 months. That’s a free 1 year hosting for your Ghost blog.

After signing up for your account, click on the 3 horizontal bars on the top left corner to access the menus and select “Marketplace”.

Google Cloud - Marketplace
Google Cloud – Marketplace

Search for “Ghost” and choose “Ghost Certified by Bitnami”.

Google Cloud - Ghost Certified by Bitnami
Google Cloud – Ghost Certified by Bitnami

If you’re wondering what does “Certified by Bitnami” means, Bitnami ensures all the applications included in the package are secure and up-to-date. That means no vulnerabilities or outdated components.

Next, you’ll see a deployment screen where you could change some of the options such as the machine and hard drive types.

Google Cloud - Ghost Deployment
Google Cloud – Ghost Deployment

Personally, I chose “1 vCPU” as the machine type and change the boot disk type to “SSD Persistent Disk” for faster performance.

Notice the monthly cost goes up from $13.61/month to $25.97/month.

Click the “Deploy” button.

Once your machine has been deployed, you’ll have details to access your Ghost blog and the Ghost’s admin dashboard with a temporary username and password.

Google Cloud - Ghost Deployment Detail
Google Cloud – Ghost Deployment Detail

And, you’re done. Click on the “site address”, and you’ll see the demo Ghost homepage.

Google Cloud - Ghost Homepage
Google Cloud – Ghost Homepage

Important things to do after installing

Switch to static IP address

The first thing you should do after setting up your Virtual Machine or server on Google Cloud is to reserve a static IP address. By default, Google Cloud gives you 1 static IP address for free.

To do this, go to Networking > VPC network > External IP addresses. Alternatively, search for “External IP addresses” from the search bar.

By default, the type of IP address assigned to your newly created server is “Ephemeral”. Simply, click on the down arrow and choose “Static”.

Google Cloud - External IP Address Type
Google Cloud – External IP Address Type

Give your static IP address a name.

Google Cloud - Reserve Static IP Address
Google Cloud – Reserve Static IP Address

And, you’re done!

Google Cloud - Static IP Address
Google Cloud – Static IP Address

Why is it important?

When you configure your domain name to point to your server, it uses the IP address to locate your server. If you didn’t switch the IP address to Static, Google Cloud will release the IP address and assign a new IP address when you restart your server.

Your Domain Provider’s DNS will fail to locate your server making your website inaccessible.

Change the default login credentials

Click on the Admin URL to login to your Ghost dashboard and update the email address and password.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Always change the default login credentials of your Google Cloud application. #bitnami #googlecloud #ghost” quote=”Always change the default login credentials of your Google Cloud application.”]

Setup Domain Name for the website

While you can access your website via the IP address, you should link your server to a domain name. Check out this step-by-step guide to configure your Domain Name Server (DNS) in Google Cloud and link your domain name to your website.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to SSH to my virtual machine?

Head over to Google Cloud and select “Virtual Machine”. Find your web server and click the “SSH”.

Google Cloud - SSH
Google Cloud – SSH

How to restart my webserver?

Google Cloud uses Apache as the webserver for your Ghost blog. First, SSH to your server. Second, run the following command.

If you just want to restart your Ghost, run this command instead.

Every time you make changes to Ghost files, you need to restart Ghost.

Final Thought

If you followed this tutorial, you’ll have a proper running blog by now.

Ghost makes blogging experience simpler and fun with its minimalistic approach. The admin dashboard isn’t as crowded as WordPress so you could jump right into writing your content.

If you find this tutorial useful, tweet this article or share it on your Facebook.

Don’t forget to share link to your Ghost blog in the comment below.