How to setting up domain on self-hosting

I’ve looked at several articles on self-hosting, but they all assume I own the computer server in question.

I have a hosting plan on a virtual server. So I DO NOT HAVE terminal or super-user or root access to the server. I only have access to the admin control panel (DirectAdmin, in my case, or for others it might be cpanel).

Where can I find instructions on how to install and configure ghost on my (hosted) Linux server?

And how to create a subdomain or even a unique domain that gets redirected to wherever ghost is installed on the server? (I think this is a more general question that I could probably get from the hosting provider’s tech service.)

So in my case, I’d like either to go to (while keeping the URL as [above] in the address bar) or something like to be redirected to ghost on the server.

Thanks in advance!

Are you sure you have VPS (virtual private server) hosting? I’ve not seen a VPS plan that didn’t include shell access as root. That’s sort of the whole point. The directions for installing Ghost on a server work fine on a VPS (with Ubuntu) that has shell access.

A domain is only if you have paid hosting from (Ghost Pro). If you’re self hosting, you’ll need to register your own domain.

Hi Cathy,

I have DirectAdmin access to my server.

I wouldn’t have a clue how to use shell access, except maybe that I’d need to ask the service provider to give me a special login and I’d have to install some kind of terminal app and security / encryption software on my computer.

But perhaps ghost is decided for technical people, something like github? I’m just a regular content creator with some basic technical knowledge of configuring DNS and navigating DirectAdmin. (I don’t have cpanel as part of my plan.)

Is there a software package (similar to wordpress, say) where I can install ghost from the browser somehow?

As for the domain – I was already assigned that when I registered a free account. Is that just a temporary domain that will become inactive at some point?

If I set up a kind of redirected subdomain to the domain then I wouldn’t have to register a new domain, right? Just use the one I already have… and add ghost as the subdomain, right?


Kind regards,


Hey Gary,

If you have a account, that’s the Ghost team’s hosting product. They do offer a couple weeks free trial, so maybe that’s what you have. (It’ll go away in two weeks, so if you want to keep it, you need to put in your credit card info and choose a plan!)

Hosting on wouldn’t have anything to do with DirectAdmin. That’s why I thought you were self-hosting.

Hosted Ghost (i.e. through on, or another Ghost hosting provider like Magic Pages) doesn’t require technical skill. It sounded from your post like you were trying to self-host, which does require technical skill.

Digital Ocean offers a “one-click” droplet install, but I don’t recommend it for anyone not comfortable working in a terminal window occasionally. It’s great until it doesn’t work, and then you’re likely going to spend more paying someone to fix it than you saved by not paying for managed hosting (i.e. in the first place. [I’m a pretty good sysadmin, but on my to-do list for the weekend is several hours of work installing updates on my self-hosted Ghost site. My Ghost Pro ( site automatically updates, and needs basically no maintenance from me.] Given your level of confusion shown in the first post, I think you should pay a little more to get managed Ghost hosting, so that you can focus on writing/blogging/newsletters/etc, rather than reading self-hosting articles!

Yes, you could set up with your DNS provider, and point it at the


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Thanks Cathy, that’s very informative.

I wasn’t sure what self-hosting was – I was trying to search for the answer to another question about modifying my URL (separate ticket), but I got an article about self-hosting instead.

I didn’t know that I only had a trial account. I thought there was a limited free version for the first 100 subscribers or so (or maybe that was another platform). I’m not sure I’ll have time to do much in a mere 2 weeks, and it’ll take several months to get 100 or so people to subscribe anyway.

I looked at the self-hosting table in your hosting documentation, but it seems a lot more expensive. When it says “from $10/month” is that for the licensing fee? And where do you get $50 / $35 / $12 / month for all the other features? Are these not included in the basic licensing fee? Why would one self-host if all the “included” features are disabled and have to purchased as “add ons”?

(And what’s a Fastly CDN, btw? When I tried to look it up, I got even more gobbledygook, headless CMS, nextJS or Gatsby framewords, AMP templates and something about a portal???)

DigitalOcean Droplets looks like a decent, compromise solution for very light use. If I install/host the software on their platform, do I still pay the $10++/month for the license (how many subscribers does that allow)?? And are the other features (normally included on the hosted .io platform) also disabled and have to purchased as add-ons?

Thanks and regards,


Ghost is open source. You pay to host it, not a license fee.

I don’t work for just to clarify. :)

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