Tim Flynn

New Blog with Anchor CMS (also SSL)


A few weeks ago I decided to try out Let's Encrypt in order to gain an SSL certificate for my site. This worked quite fine, except for the fact that subdomains (and subsequent virtual hosts) were not supported at the time. This posed a problem for my blog (previously at blog.timflynn.info), so I figured I would move it to a subdirectory and be done with it. I was previously using Ghost, a minimalist blogging platform that ran on Node.js. I enjoyed using Ghost quite a bit and figured the redirect would be pretty simple (this is where I was wrong).

Node headaches

When moving to a new subdirectory I figured it would be a good time to update my installation of Ghost so that I was all up to speed. I backed up my blog and did a clean install of Ghost just to save my the time and effort of reconfiguring and updating everything. After being notified Ghost no longer supported my older version of Node, I went ahead and upgraded to the most recent version. Once I did this, Ghost told me that my version was too new, ugh. I had gone from too far in the past to too far in the future. I then went ahead and tried to downgrade my version of Node which proved to be a major pain. I had some issues with symlinks, as well as different user account privileges and eventually decided to look for an alternative. Any experience I had with Node was really a bit of a headache and I didn't quite understand the technology as much as I would have liked, so I searched and found Anchor CMS, a PHP based blogging platform.

PHP!

I already had a LAMP stack set up on my server from a previous project so installing Anchor was a breeze. With a few MySQL commands and unzipping a few files I was up and running. No npm commands, no confusing nests of node-modules folders, I was happy. Being more familiar with PHP and the LAMP stack in general I was able to get things running quickly and overall have been happy with Anchor so far. Time will tell how it holds up but for now it seems to be giving me less headaches, and plays nicely with my SSL cert, so I am satisfied.

Lessons Learned

This whole process taught me how much I don't know about Node (and how I'm far from considering myself a web developer). Modern web development is constantly changing and I think next time I want to start using Node I should definitely do some more research. For now PHP is treating me just fine and I'm going to keep using it for the foreseeable future.