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Quick start guide: Ghost on Amazon Lightsail

Last updated: July 14, 2022

Here are a few steps you should take to get started after your Ghost instance is up and running on Amazon Lightsail:

Contents

Step 1: Read the Bitnami documentation

Read the Bitnami documentation to learn how to configure your Ghost application. For more information, see the Ghost Packaged By Bitnami For AWS Cloud.

Step 2: Get the default application password to access the Ghost administration dashboard

Complete the following procedure to get the default application password required to access the administration dashboard for your Ghost website. For more information, see Getting the application user name and password for your Bitnami instance in Amazon Lightsail.

  1. On your instance management page, under the Connect tab, choose Connect using SSH.

    Connect using SSH in the Lightsail console
  2. After you're connected, enter the following command to get the application password:

    cat $HOME/bitnami_application_password

    You should see a response similar to the following example, which contains the default application password:

    Bitnami default application password.

Step 3: Attach a static IP address to your instance

The public IP address assigned to your instance when you first create it will change every time you stop and start your instance. You should create and attach a static IP address to your instance to ensure its public IP address doesn't change. Later, when you use a registered domain name, such as example.com, with your instance, you don’t have to update your domain’s DNS records every time you stop and start your instance. You can attach one static IP to an instance.

On the instance management page, under the Networking tab, choose Create a static IP or Attach static IP (if you previously created a static IP that you can attach to your instance), then follow the instructions on the page. For more information, see Create a static IP and attach it to an instance in Amazon Lightsail.

Attach static IP address in the Lightsail console

After the new static IP address is attached to your instance, you must complete the following steps to make the application aware of the new static IP address.

  1. Make a note of the static IP address of your instance. It's listed in the header section of your instance management page.

    Public or static IP address of a Lightsail instance
  2. On the instance management page, under the Connect tab, choose Connect using SSH.

    Connect to your instance using SSH
  3. After you're connected, enter the following command. Replace <StaticIP> with the new static IP address of your instance.

    sudo /opt/bitnami/configure_app_domain --domain <StaticIP>

    Example:

    sudo /opt/bitnami/configure_app_domain --domain 203.0.113.0

    You should see a response similar to the following example. The application on your instance should now be aware of the new static IP address.

    Result of the domain configuration tool

Step 4: Sign in to the administration dashboard of your Ghost website

Now that you have the default application password, complete the following procedure to navigate to your Ghost website's home page, and sign in to the administration dashboard. After you’re signed in, you can start customizing your website and making administrative changes. For more information about what you can do in Ghost, see the Step 6: Read the Ghost documentation and continue configuring your website section later in this guide.

  1. On your instance management page, under the Connect tab, make note of the public IP address of your instance. The public IP address is also displayed in the header section of your instance management page.

    Public IP address of an instance
  2. Browse to the public IP address of your instance, for example by going to http://203.0.113.0.

    The home page of your Ghost website should appear.

  3. Choose Manage in the bottom right corner of your Ghost website home page.

    If the Manage banner is not shown, you can reach the sign in page by browsing to http://<PublicIP>/ghost. Replace <PublicIP> with the public IP address of your instance.

  4. Sign in using the default user name (user@example.com) and the default password retrieved earlier in this guide.

    The Ghost administration dashboard appears.

    The Ghost administration dashboard

Step 5: Route traffic for your registered domain name to your Ghost website

To route traffic for your registered domain name, such as example.com, to your Ghost website, you add a record to the DNS of your domain. DNS records are typically managed and hosted at the registrar where you registered your domain. However, we recommend that you transfer management of your domain's DNS records to Lightsail so that you can administer it using the Lightsail console.

On the Lightsail console home page, under the Networking tab, choose Create DNS zone, then follow the instructions on the page. For more information, see Creating a DNS zone to manage your domain’s DNS records in Amazon Lightsail.

Create a DNS zone in the Lightsail console

After your domain name is routing traffic to your instance, you must complete the following steps to make the Ghost application aware of the new domain.

  1. On the instance management page, under the Connect tab, choose Connect using SSH.

    Connect to your instance using SSH
  2. After you're connected, enter the following command. Replace <DomainName> with the domain name that is directing traffic to your Ghost instance.

    sudo /opt/bitnami/configure_app_domain --domain <DomainName>

    Example:

    sudo /opt/bitnami/configure_app_domain --domain example.com

    You should see a response similar to the following example. The Ghost application should now be aware of the domain.

    Result of the domain configuration tool

If you browse to the domain name that you configured for your instance, you should be redirected to the home page of your Ghost website. Next, you should generate and configure an SSL/TLS certificate to enable HTTPS connections for your Ghost website. For more information, continue to the next Step 6: Configure HTTPS for your Ghost website section of this guide.

Step 6: Configure HTTPS for your Ghost website

Complete the following procedure to configure HTTPS on your Ghost website. These steps show you how to use the Bitnami HTTPS Configuration Tool (bncert-tool), which is a command line tool for requesting Let's Encrypt SSL/TLS certificates. For more information see Learn About The Bitnami HTTPS Configuration Tool in the Bitnami documentation.

Important

Before starting with this procedure, make sure that you configured your domain to route traffic to your Ghost instance. Otherwise, the SSL/TLS certificate validation process will fail.

  1. On your instance management page, under the Connect tab, choose Connect using SSH.

    Connect using SSH in the Lightsail console
  2. After you're connected, enter the following command to confirm the bncert tool is installed on your instance.

    sudo /opt/bitnami/bncert-tool

    You should see one of the following responses:

    • If you see command not found in the response, then the bncert tool is not installed on your instance. Continue to the next step in this procedure to install the bncert tool on your instance.

    • If you see Welcome to the Bitnami HTTPS configuration tool in the response, then the bncert tool is installed on your instance. Continue to the step 8 of this procedure.

    • If the bncert tool has been installed on your instance for a while, then you might see a message indicating that an updated version of the tool is available. Choose to download it, and then enter the sudo /opt/bitnami/bncert-tool command to run the bncert tool again. Continue to the step 8 of this procedure.

  3. Enter the following command to download the bncert run file to your instance.

    wget -O bncert-linux-x64.run https://downloads.bitnami.com/files/bncert/latest/bncert-linux-x64.run
  4. Enter the following command to create a directory for the bncert tool run file on your instance.

    sudo mkdir /opt/bitnami/bncert
  5. Enter the following command to make the bncert run a file that can be executed as a program.

    sudo chmod +x /opt/bitnami/bncert/bncert-linux-x64.run
  6. Enter the following command to create a symbolic link that runs the bncert tool when you enter the sudo /opt/bitnami/bncert-tool command.

    sudo ln -s /opt/bitnami/bncert/bncert-linux-x64.run /opt/bitnami/bncert-tool

    You are now done installing the bncert tool on your instance.

  7. Enter the following command to run the bncert tool.

    sudo /opt/bitnami/bncert-tool
  8. Enter your primary domain name and alternate domain names separated by a space as shown in the following example.

    If your domain is not configured to route traffic to the public IP address of your instance, the bncert tool will ask you to make that configuration before continuing. Your domain must be routing traffic to the public IP address of the instance from which you are using the bncert tool to enable HTTPS on the instance. This confirms that you own the domain, and serves as the validation for your certificate.

    Entering the primary and alternate domain names
  9. The bncert tool will ask you how you want your website's redirection to be configured. These are the options available:

    • Enable HTTP to HTTPS redirection - Specifies whether users who browse to the HTTP version of your website (i.e., http:/example.com) are automatically redirected to the HTTPS version (i.e., https://example.com). We recommend enabling this option because it forces all visitors to use the encrypted connection. Type Y and press Enter to enable it.

    • Enable non-www to www redirection - Specifies whether users who browse to the apex of your domain (i.e., https://example.com) are automatically redirected to your domain's www subdomain (i.e., https://www.example.com). We recommend enabling this option. However, you may want to disable it and enable the alternate option (enable www to non-www redirection) if you have specified the apex of your domain as your preferred website address in search engine tools like Google's webmaster tools, or if your apex points directly to your IP and your www subdomain references your apex via a CNAME record. Type Y and press Enter to enable it.

    • Enable www to non-www redirection - Specifies whether users who browse to your domain's www subdomain (i.e., https://www.example.com) are automatically redirected to the apex of your domain (i.e., https://example.com). We recommend disabling this, if you enabled non-www redirection to www. Type N and press Enter to disable it.

    Your selections should look like the following example.

    Website redirection options
  10. The changes that are going to be made are listed. Type Y and press Enter to confirm and continue.

    Confirming the changes
  11. Enter your email address to associate with your Let's Encrypt certificate and press Enter.

    Associating your email address with your Let's Encrypt
 certificate
  12. Review the Let's Encrypt Subscriber Agreement. Type Y and press Enter to accept the agreement and continue.

    Review the Let's Encrypt subscriber agreement

    The actions are performed to enable HTTPS on your instance, including requesting the certificate and configuring the redirections you specified.

    Actions being performed

    Your certificate is successfully issued and validated, and the redirections are successfully configured on your instance if you see a message similar to the following example.

    Actions successfully completed

    The bncert tool will perform an automatic renewal of your certificate every 80 days before it expires. Repeat the above steps if you wish to use additional domains and subdomains with your instance, and you want to enable HTTPS for those domains.

    You are now done enabling HTTPS on your Ghost instance. Next time you browse to your Ghost website using the domain you configured, you should see that it redirects to the HTTPS connection.

Step 7: Read the Ghost documentation and continue configuring your website

Read the Ghost documentation to learn how to administer and customize your website. For more information, see the Ghost Documentation.

Step 8: Create a snapshot of your instance

After you configure your Ghost website the way you want it, create periodic snapshots of your instance to back it up. You can create snapshots manually, or enable automatic snapshots to have Lightsail create daily snapshots for you. If something goes wrong with your instance, you can create a new replacement instance using the snapshot. For more information, see Snapshots in Amazon Lightsail.

On the instance management page, under the Snapshot tab, choose Create a snapshot or choose to enable automatic snapshots.

Create an instance snapshot in the Lightsail console

For more information, see Creating a snapshot of your Linux or Unix instance in Amazon Lightsail or Enabling or disabling automatic snapshots for instances or disks in Amazon Lightsail.