For the past few years, I've been running this blog on the open source Ghost CMS and it's been great. Ghost is great for a site like this where the focus is on the content because the focus of Ghost is on creating content (posts), whereas blogging has become a smaller part of the WordPress ecosystem as WordPress has slowly "evolved" from being a CMS to becoming more of an "application" platform.
So a few weeks ago when I logged into the admin panel I noticed I was missing a critical update in my Ghost install and it was recommended that I upgrade ASAP. Now I'd been lazy about updates on the site and was still running the 3.x version of Ghost which went EOL in 2022, so I had to do the major upgrade from Ghost 3.x to Ghost 5.x with a stop at 4.x in the middle. Sounded simple, and ghost makes updates usually a pretty painless thing.
When the upgrade finished and I tried to restart ghost however I received this error:
/lib64/libstdc++.so.6: version `CXXABI_1.3.8' not found (required by /node_modules/sqlite3/lib/binding/napi-v6-linux-glibc-x64/node_sqlite3.node)
Great. The newer version of the nodejs sqllite module needed a newer version of the standard C Application Binary Interface (ABI) than what was on my machine. This machine was running CentOS 7, which shipped with gcc-4.8.5, and to get the correct ABI modules I'd need to build and upgrade to a newer version of gcc, like 8.
On CentOS (or any Linux system for that matter) you really can't replace the standard libc module with a newer version without breaking almost everything, so you need to build it in a different directory (like /opt) and then tell your newer application where to find the updated libraries. After downloading gcc-8.5.0, the process to build it was pretty simple:
tar -xvf gcc-8.5.0.tar.gz
../gcc-8.5.0/configure --enable-languages=c,c++ --disable-multilib --prefix=/opt/gcc-8.5.0
Once the new version was installed, all I needed to do was tell my system where the new libraries were with an environment variable and everything should "just work", and it did.
So with the updated GCC on my machine, and the new LD_LIBRARY_PATH set I marked the upgrade to Ghost 5 as completed and walked away. A few weeks later, however, someone asked me why my blog was down. Embarrassed, I logged in and lo and behold they were right - the ghost process had failed to restart and was down.
At this point I figured it was just easier to migrate the whole thing to a supported OS rather than continue to attempt to make it work on CentOS 7 so I spun up a new Ubuntu 20.04 LTS VPS at Vultr and migrated the site and its data over. A few quick changes to my DNS to point to the new server and everything is now up and running correctly on the new host. Which reminds me I need to write a post on how I mange my DNS with git, but that's for another day.
So what is the lesson here? Well, first off don't let your software get too far out of date - leaving my blogging platform for over a year without an update just wasn't a smart idea. And secondly, I needed to find some low cost way to monitor my site - not knowing it was down for weeks on end is not a good look for someone in the IT industry. So I've added nodeping to my list of personal tools now for monitoring my own infrastructure - a few of my clients use it and I've found it to be a great low cost way to add external monitoring.
So hopefully this puts an end to the issues with my site and things will be stable now, until the next upgrade.......