Low maintenance blog

Posted: July 28, 2016 in Work Stuff

This uses a version of Ghost in a Docker container that then serves up an external folder as the blog root

It allows Ghost to do what it does best – simple blogging tools and site management while using external scripts to ensure backup of the content.

If we lose the blog server, it is very easy to rapidly redeploy the blog and get back up again.

Start the blog

We will create the basic blog and associate it with a remote repo for backup. This assumes that Docker is installed in the host machine!

1. create a remote repo that will be used to store the blog
2. check out the repo to the box that will serve the blog e.g. /home/blog/content
3. start up a Docker for the Ghost blog

docker run -d -p 80:2368 -v /home/blog/content:/var/lib/ghost -e "NODE_ENV=production" --name myblog ghost:latest

This starts the Docker and tells it to map the Docker Ghost dir (/var/lib/ghost) to the real directory (/home/blog/content). It also maps traffic from port 80 through to the normal Ghost port of 2368 and runs everything in daemon mode.

Backup the blog

We can now install a script to monitor the blog and push changes up to the remote repo. This assumes that either username/password can be used in the https git calls or that the appropriate .ssh keys have been setup and the repo uses ssh to connect.

4. install gitwatch and it’s dependencies (git & inotify-tools)
5. point gitwatch at the blog directory

gitwatch -s 300 -r git@github.com:username/your-repo.git /home/blog/content/

This waits 300 seconds after a change has been detected in /home/blog/content/ and then pushes it out to the specified repo.

6. the above command will need to be run in the background either using screen or nohup to make sure it runs all the time.

Belt & Braces

We could also install a script called buster to automatically convert a Ghost blog to static pages compatible with Jekyll and/or GitHub pages. This would allow us to publish the blog on other platforms if we decided that Ghost wasn’t our platform of choice anymore.

As buster generates a static folder in the blog dir, it will also be pushed back to the remote repo if anything changes.

Redeploy

If the worst happens, the Docker can easily be restarted with the same command as above. If the entire box is lost, the repo can be checked out on to a new box and the Docker started as normal. The only thing that may need outside assistance is ensuring that the domain name points to the new machine.

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