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JustWriting – Markdown blog platform

I recently found an interesting project, called JustWriting. (From Taiwan if I’m correct)

It is a simple blog platform under MIT license where you simply need to upload your articles as markdown file (.md). JustWriting will take care to post them as articles on the web page.

You can either use regular FTP/SFTP but also git, svn and even dropbox to upload your markdown. Obviously, several users can edit the md files to add some “collaboration” touch.


justwriting blog platform

JustWriting is very light and does not need a database. It supports code highlighting and Latex math equations. Several themes are available to personalize a bit the design.

Here is how to install JustWriting.



I assume you have a working apache server with PHP.

1) Clone their latest git repository into your /var/www

2) Configure the settings.php file

The configuration file is pretty straightforward, you can set the blog name, a description, an avatar, allow or not the comments, posts per page, add your Dropbox account, etc…

Don’t forget to add the base URL too.

3) Create a dedicated virtualhost
You will need to create a virtualhost to make JustWriting works. And well, at the same time you could add HTTPS and create a dedicated subdomain.

What you will need:

– Create a A redirection in your DNS server/registrar with something like blog.domain.tld to your IP

– Have SSL certificate ready. If not you can read this tutorial. (Optional but recommended)

– Create your virtualhost as following:

In /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/, create a file called justwriting (In root):

and paste the following content:

Adapt the content (Servername, webmaster email, SSL certificate and directory if different).

When done, save the file (CTRL+X then Yes) and reload apache: (In root)


And you’re good to go!


Ghost, the kickstarter Blogging platform released its V0.5

You may be one of backers on the kickstarter project Ghost, successfully funded in May 2013 for more than £196k on its initial goal of £25k. They have been actively working on the project and the team have just released their version 0.5!

For those who don’t know Ghost, it’s an open source blogging platform (Similar to WordPress, dotclear,…) based on nodejs, beautifully designed and completely customizable.

Ghost has a clear and full of sense dashboard based on drag&drop widgets, letting you easily see your traffic, social media subscriptions, content performance, etc….while being mobile friendly.

ghost dashboard widget

The content can be easily browsed and previewed on the same page (Similar to email style), meanwhile Ghost is ready for Social Media (No need for plugins, etc…already all included) and several 3rd party themes should be available soon, thanks to the support of WooThemes.

ghost content preview like email

The 3 top developments that their V0.5 bring are the multi-user support (Authors, Editors and Administrators) ideal for online community or companies; a public JSON API (To facilitate 3rd party development around Ghost) and a rework of their admin panel using EmberJS.

ghost multi user editors

Many others improvements have been done but as the list is too long, I let you check their release article.

Ghost is clearly a new blogging platform with plenty of advantages compared to more standard blogs system like WordPress but still an early bird out there.

Nonetheless, they are changing the release process and will be shipping new features, bug fixes, improvement every 2 to 4 weeks (Instead of the usual 2-3 months).

Interested to know their roadmap? Here you go.

Meanwhile, how about giving it a try? Here is how to install it!



1) Install nodejs and npm

– If you use Ubuntu, simple run (as root)

– If you are on Debian (Wheezy?) like me, you can install nodejs from wheezy-backports (modify your source.list accordingly) and run (in root):

and for npm, you can use the installer

2) Download their latest version in a dedicated folder of your /var/www

3) Install Ghost using npm

npm should help install the dependencies.

4) Start Ghost

It will create the required database and let your blog accessible at

Or for the first time installation.

If (like me) you have not install ghost on your local machine but a virtual machine or a server somewhere else, you cannot access to localhost directly like that. So you will get the error on unable to connect. Easy to solve, simply edit your config.js and find the line “host” (On the server paragraph) and change it with the IP you want ghost to be listening to.

Many additional configurations can be done in this file, it should be quite self explanatory so I will not present it further.

ghost installation finished


You should now have a working Ghost instance on your own server. Keep in mind that is still in early development but if any question, a forum is available.

Install WordPress on Debian – Most popular CMS for blogs

WordPress is clearly the most popular blog platform / Content Management System.

Indeed it has all to please. Easy installation, well supported, big community, a lot of plugins, free, multilingual, etc….

Of course, some others CMS are very popular for blogs too like Dotclear but WordPress might be the one that does the most communication around its product.


So let’s see how to install this CMS. (Others CMS should follow the same principle)



Obviously, you need to have a proper HTTP server, PHP, database combo ready. In my case I’m using a LAMP configuration, Linux Apache, MySQL, PHP. If you haven’t install that, just check my previous tutorial on how to install a LAMP combo to host your own website.

Once done, most probably you will like to have a dedicated folder/database for your wordpress website.

The second command will change the owner of the folder (Previously root) by the apache user www-data.

Then download the latest WordPress archive inside your previously created folder:

Now, you will need to untar the archive in the folder. However the archive latest.tar.gz includes the subdirectory that includes all the files.

If you just untar with the regular:

You gonna have a folder wordpress in your /var/www/myblog

But we want to have all the needed files in /var/www/myblog directly, not in an additional subdirectory.

So you will have to move all the files from myblog/wordpress to myblog/ and remove the folder wordpress afterward.

But actually, you could directly untar all the content of wordpress folder directly in your current folder myblog with 1 command:



Now you will need to fulfill the wordpress conf file with your database information in order to launch the web-based installation interface of WordPress

Still in your /var/www/myblog folder run:

to use & modify the wp-config sample file, and modify those lines:

If you haven’t created a database yet for your website, I strongly recommend you to use PHPMyAdmin to easily do it. You can follow my previously created tutorial on how to install PHPMyAdmin and set up a database and user.

Once done, just save your wp-config file and point your web-browser to your server IP such as or point to your domain name/subdomain if you have configured a Virtualhost (Vhost) such as http://blog.mywebsite.tld for example.

If you haven’t done that, you can refer to the point 4 of my LAMP tutorial, dedicated on Virtualhost configuration.

And finally, just follow the quick web-based setup.

You should now have your blog ready !



Host your own server – Where do we start?

So you wish to install your own server to run may be a website or your own mail, or a specific application or service (Subsonic? Minecraft?…)

You will obviously have few requirement to match based on your needs.



You could have a dedicated server using OVH or any other provider, but I’ll assume your here to use your own hardware and host it at home.

In fact, a server does not need to be very powerful, so you could reuse an old laptop or computer if you want. For example a Rapsberry Pi (Based on Arm with 256Mo Ram) is enough to host quite a few services. But don’t except high reactivity tho.

My first dedicated server@HOME was a custom ITX (Small size) config based on:

Case: Thermaltake Element Q

Motherboard: Intel DG41MJ (ITX socket 775)

Processor: Intel E5300 2.5Ghz


250GB 2.5 7200tr/m Hard Drive

Paid 250e 4 years back

And I had a very good experience with it and I was hosting few websites with modest trafic (few hundreds per day) and dozen of services such as Subsonic, Ajaxplorer, FTP, Mails, …. No need to be much faster in fact.

Although my config now is way too powerfull for my needs (But it was my own gift xD)

I’m now having a i7 2600 with 16GB Ram + OCZ Vertex 3 SSD 64gb + 2x2To Storage (For duplication). I actually really enjoy using SSD in my machines now (Fast load time, very good performance with MySQL databases or heavy I/O tasks)


Obviously the faster your Internet connection is, the better but I would say there is no specific minimum, it will just limit your type of services and traffic.

If you could have at least 128kb/s (16ko/s) upload speed with your ADSL, that would be a good start. Download will not matter much usually, as upload is always the bottleneck in ADSL. (If you are having cables, ADSL2, VDSL2, or even FTTx, lucky you. In that case you will probably be very comfortable with upload)The server described earlier was on an ADSL2 connection at 16M/1M.

Now I’m having FTTB with 100M/40M (So much faster…indeed)

Another important aspect of your network will be your router, to route correctly the needed traffic to your server. You will need to open several ports to let enter the traffic.

Operating System:

GNU/Linux is THE Operating System for servers. Widely used, very stable and with good performance, it is a good choice to run your server on.

In the GNU/Linux family, it exists a lot of “flavor”, Ubuntu being the most popular and very easy to handle. Ubuntu has a dedicated server version called Ubuntu Server and will run quite well. But although I’ve started with Ubuntu Server, I’m quickly moved to Debian and could only strongly recommend you to give it a try.

Ubuntu being based on Debian, you will not feel much the difference as a server version. However I felt Debian to be much more stable and reactive than Ubuntu. However Debian got 3 majors branches (Stable, Testing and Unstable) with different version of application. Stable being based on very robust and tested set of application, while Testing has more up to date and Unstable being cutting edge version, with possible bugs for these 2 versions.

You want to play safe? I suggest you to use Debian Stable and if an application is not up to date enough, to install a more updated version from backport repositories.