Setting up Discourse on Ghost Locally

This document describes getting a local stack of Ghost + Discourse + DoG setup locally so you can test out and develop the integration.

Note: these instructions assume MacOS or Linux distributions, and are compiled from offical docs of the respective components.

When setting all this up, I found it useful to have everything alongside each other for easy access. For example:

├── working-directory
│   ├── ghost
│   ├── discourse
│   ├── discourse-on-ghost

1. Install Ghost Locally

Step 1. Install Ghost-CLI

npm install ghost-cli@latest -g

Step 2. Install Ghost

In the ghost directory (diagrammed above), run the install command:

ghost install local

Once the install is finished you’ll be able to access your new site on http://localhost:2368 and http://localhost:2368/ghost to access Ghost Admin.

The official Ghost install docs can be found here:

2. Install Discourse Locally with Docker

Step 1. Install Docker

Step 2. Install Discourse

Clone Discourse repository to your local device. Perform the following from the working-directory in the diagram above:

git clone discourse

Step 3. Start container

cd discourse

d/boot_dev --init
    # wait while:
    #   - dependencies are installed,
    #   - the database is migrated, and
    #   - an admin user is created (you'll need to interact with this)

# In one terminal:
d/rails s

# And in a separate terminal

Then open a browser on http://localhost:4200 and voila!, you should see Discourse.

For more details, see offical docs:

3. Install Discourse on Ghost

From the root of working-directory:

Step 1. Install DoG

git clone discourse-on-ghost

# Install dependencies
cd discourse-on-ghost
yarn install

Step 2. Set up DoG .env

Setup your .env based on the configuration guide. If this is your first time setting up DoG, I also recommend going through the excellent Integrating Ghost SSO With Discourse Forum on Linux Handbook along with the configuration guide.


  • For testing locally, make sure DOG_DISCOURSE_URL points to localhost rather than

Step 3: Start DoG

Once your .env file is setup correctly, you can start DoG, from within your discourse-on-ghost directory:

yarn dev

If everything went well, you should see something like:

User ~/Sites/discourse-on-ghost-dev (master)$ yarn dev
yarn run v1.22.17
$ node scripts/dev.js
Watching for changes...
[2023-08-07 19:34:55] INFO Listening on

Step 4: Setup ghost session dev-proxy

The following assumes you are testing the session mode (rather than jwt) up for DoG.

Head over to your ghost folder.

Open current/core/boot.js and insert the following around line 483, immediately after const rootApp = require('./app')();

const dog = await import("/path-to-working-directory/discourse-on-ghost/dist/targets/dev-proxy.js");
await dog.load("/path-to-working-directory/discourse-on-ghost/dist/", rootApp);

The final hack should look something like this:

// Step 2 - Start server with minimal app in global maintenance mode
debug("Begin: load server + minimal app");
const rootApp = require("./app")();

const dog = await import("/path-to-working-directory/discourse-on-ghost/dist/targets/dev-proxy.js");
await dog.load("/path-to-working-directory/discourse-on-ghost/dist/", rootApp);

Save the file and restart Ghost:

ghost restart

If Ghost starts up with out complaining, you can start testing the integration.

Notes on Testing

  1. To fully test, DoG, you’ll want to have your local Ghost installation be able to send emails. There are many ways to do this but it’s not the scope of this documentation.
  2. As you are testing, you can check the DoG terminal (step 3 above) for output.
  3. If you are testing logging in from Discourse, and the subsequent redirect back to page on Discourse where you logged in from, please see this note on some complexities around redirect urls.