Behind the Happy Shell


Slightly more than 2 years since the start of its Kickstarter campaign and slightly less than 2 years since its first public release, I decided to give Ghost a shot.

I've always used Wordpress, but when it comes to blogging, I felt like I needed something more simple and less distracting. Something that would allow me to focus on the content. Ghost seemed perfect.

Domain name

Hover - As we are being told over and over again by Gruber, ATP and others, Hover is the best domain registrar out there. Good service, no bullshit.

IDN (Internationalized Domain Name) is what allowed me to have , a Japanese Katakana character, in the domain name. Not all TLDs support IDN, but you can find a detailed list of those that do here.

If you want to have Unicode characters in your domain name, you have to register its encoded version. So instead of ツ.sh, I registered Both versions will get you here, but the latter one is required for backward compatibility with software with no support for Unicode encoding. You can find one of many IDN Conversion Tools here.


DigitalOcean - When I decided I want to run this site on Ghost, it came with its own limitations. Ghost is Node.JS-based and won't run on your regular LAMP hosting plan. But as Marco points out, running your own server isn't nearly as scary as it sounds and it brings many benefits (besides the great feeling of adventure). Give it a try over the weekend.

In the world of cheap VPSes, you'll be rocking your private little machine in under 1 minute and under $10 a month. I chose DigitalOcean, because their offering suited me better, but you can get a very similar deal from Linode. These 2 providers are the ones you should consider when looking for cheap, but reliable VPS with good technical support.

What I really like about DigitalOcean is the massive list of tutorials on their Community site, which covers pretty much any problem which you, as a beginner server admin, could run into. Another great feature DigitalOcean offers are One-Click Install Droplets, which are basically prepared images for most used Linux distros, apps and technology stacks. They have one for Ghost as well.

SSL certificate

sslmate - In this NSA-poisoned world, encryption is a must. You might ask - why should I encrypt my blog traffic? Well, if you don't want to have your site used for malware distribution (e.g. using MitM attacks), having all traffic on HTTPS is a good practice. You can get a 1-year certificate for your domain from sslmate for $16. Starting September 2015, we will be able to get free certificates from the Let’s Encrypt initiative.

Besides being one of the cheapest on the market, what I liked about sslmate is the ability to request, buy and install certificates directly from the server's shell with their little utility (sslmate buy With around $1 per month, there really isn't any reason why not get a certificate for your site today.

Update April 2018: Let’s Encrypt is now integrated into Digital Ocean's droplets, letting you request and deploy free SSL certs during the setup process.

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