2016-11-24

Tags: static-sites

😢 Static Site Woes 😡

Let’s say you have a personal website and you want to host it somewhere. Maybe it’s statically generated via Hugo or Jekyll, or maybe it’s a simple Single Page App (SPA). Most people choose one of two options; Github Pages or a combination of AWS S3 with CloudFront.

GitHub Pages is easy to setup for a very simple Jekyll based blog, but once you start requiring things like custom domain SSL or using a static site generator that’s not Jekyll you begin hacking to try work around GitHub Pages (I mean just look at this long and messy tutorial to get Hugo working with gh pages). Another frustrating thing is that there is only support for specific versions of gems to build your site.

AWS and S3 is a very cheap and cost-effective service (I pay on average $0.50 per month to host this site). You can easily use a custom domain with SSL, you’re not limited to specific dependencies, and you can host literally any static site. The downside however is that it requires a certain level of technical know-how that most people don’t have the time to learn. I remember being a Jr. Dev and spending almost an entire day trying to set up my personal blog just right.

Trying to host a static site today is needlessly complicated, and there’s a big gap between the simplicity (or over-simplicity) of GitHub Pages and the complexity of self-hosting. It should be easier. I want it to be easier. I would like to do this by creating a SaaS for static site hosting that has the following features:

- support for all major static site generators (hugo/jekyll)
- pay only for what you use
- custom domain SSL
- as fast as GitHub Pages
- commit-to-deploy type deploys (same as gh pages)
- password protected sites
- easy redirect rules
- no dependency locking on jekyll gems
- only slightly more expensive than S3/CloudFront

Let me know in the comments!