Some of you may have noticed that lately, I have been changing my blog/website a lot.
I started with a single HTML file. Then I upgraded to a Laravel application. Then I replaced it all with GitHub Pages. After that I switched to Katana and for the last 14 days I have been running on a trial of Ghost...
I was even considering medium at one point.
I am lazy writing blog posts. I am.
In the beginning I had a single HTML file with my resume information. Then, I wanted to write something on my site, because from time to time I do want to write something. Adding a new HTML file for each post, was never an option because I am a developer. And we developers, like to complicate things.
Because I know a lot of Laravel and could easily create a blog platform for myself, I went and created one. It was great, I could modify everything to suit my will and add features here and there. Awesome time!
Then it occurred to me, what is that I like more than writing posts? It is writing code. And that is what I have been doing all the time since I started the blog on Laravel. Instead of writing a blog post I would write tests or implement a new feature or cleanup the code etc...
Quickly, it occurred to me that I needed something simpler, where I could focus on the posts and not the code.
GitHub Pages baby!
So, basically the thing that got me on board, was that I could avoid hosting the blog on my own server and instead use the free hosting from GitHub. There was some meddling with Jeklly involved and a custom Bootstrap theme with more awesome build process with SASS (or was it LESS) and browserify. Things quickly got out of hand.
When I was finally done with the design, I could not get myself to go back, open the repository, write a single blog post, commit the changes and push the commit. Somehow, the overhead was too much for me. I am whole day, neck deep in code and git repositories, that handling that one more for my own blog was not going to happen anytime soon.
At this point, my head was not feeling right. I wanted something that felt familiar to what I am used to working with everyday and uses GitHub Pages. Obviously, I did not realize here what was the problem.
Mohamed Said created Katana. I was very happy with Katana. It came with blade-like syntax as the one in Laravel and works on GitHub pages. Everything was much simpler than with the Jeklly powered site (or at least to me).
I was not happy with my site template (design) somehow...
I spent days creating templates. With each template I was happy for about a day or so xD Then, I wanted to buy a sick template and use that, but I don't know.. it's just my blog, why do I need a professional template for it. And so on and so on..
Since I have used Ghost before for Laravelista early on, I already had some experience with it. Before I was hosting it on my own server, but this time I decided to try Ghost(Pro) for two weeks.
Ghost is great!
You click on "New Post", write the post and click "Publish. End of story. It can't get any faster than that. I had written maybe 4 posts in one week, which is a record for me. My brother was reading my posts since I was talking a lot about running, and we both enjoy running.
So we started speaking about him starting his own blog about smartphone reviews. To make a long story short, he got himself a blog on Ghost(Pro) too. We were both happy. The happiness ended when we have seen the price for the full year.
$228 PER YEAR GREAT!
I was going to pay for it, but there was a issue with my credit card.. Thank god! If we were to pay that, it would cost us around $450 together. I could not get the payment to go thru so I started thinking.
Two blogs one server
A starter VPS server on DigitalOcean costs $5 per month. That is $60 for the whole year. On that one server I could place several Ghost installations since it is open-sourced on GitHub. This required a lot of work from my side.
I have manually set up multiple servers and environments before, so setting one more for myself was not a big problem.
The only thing that it cost me, was my time. It took me maybe 3 hours to get everything working with Ghost, Nginx and SSl certificates from Let's Encrypt. But, I have saved us almost $400 by doing so.
Contact me on email or twitter if you are interested in knowing how I got it all working and visit the two awesome sites:
Have a nice day!