• If you want to set-up an aesthetic blog for nearly free and are comfortable with some basic command line arguments, I recommend a) setting up Ghost for the theme and CMS solution, b) GitPages for free hosting, and c) Namecheap for a good price on the domain name.
  • The general process involves: a) installing Ghost and setting up your content, b) adding content, c) pushing changes to GitHub and linking to GitPages, d) registering for the domain name (~$5/year) and linking your custom domain to GitPages.
Unsplash Power
Photo by Domenico Loia / Unsplash

Developing my own blog set-up was something on my to-do list for quite a while. I wanted a public directory to store my notes and thoughts, similar to a document management system.

I started this journey last year with Blogger and continued to write on Blogger for a while, typically storing learning journeys and key takeaways from my experiences, even using it to store short essays responses in Mandarin as part of my language learning. But I was definitely not satisfied.

I came across great personal websites and always wanted to create one of my own. My journey started learning about existing CMS options such as Wix or Wordpress, hosting solutions like Bluehost, and domain name registries like Namecheap. Though comprehensive, these solutions had a price point higher than I expected. There must be a better solution, I thought to myself.

After a rabbit hole deep-dive on the subject, I found myself reading up about the GitPages and Jekyll set-up. Jekyll is a static site generator and GitPages is a free static site hosting service.

Jekyll • Simple, blog-aware, static sites
Transform your plain text into static websites and blogs

You could effectively copy a pre-existing template from Jekyll, make a few edits, and push them through GitHub to GitPages, all for free!

GitHub Pages
Websites for you and your projects, hosted directly from your GitHub repository. Just edit, push, and your changes are live.

The only drawbacks: GitHub only allows hosting for one site per account (obvious circumvention: make more GitHub accounts), and Jekyll's templates aren't the most aesthetic. There goes that option; I really wanted something good looking otherwise I was comfortable sticking with Blogger.

I soon came across a site that really piqued my interest and whilst scrolling, came across a link to Wow, a beautiful interface and set-up built just for blogging. This was too good to be true...but was it free? Never mind, it's $29/month!

Ghost(Pro) - Official managed hosting for Ghost
The best Ghost managed hosting from the creators of the open source publishing platform. Spend less time on your server, more time on your site.