Thoughts and brain dumps

Thoughts and brain dumps

By Andy Hawthorne. Words, photos, code and running…

19 Dec 2019

Blog Hosting Options

Reading time: 3 minute(s) - 600 words

Like many developers, I’ve changed my blogging setup hundreds of times. Hell, I’ve even used WordPress.

In the end you need to choose something and stick with it. Otherwise, your SEO and all that malarky will be fried. There’ll be no point having a blog if nobody finds it to read your stuff, right?

The build options

There are tons of them.

  • WordPress
  • Jekyll
  • Hugo
  • Pelican
  • Self build

The list goes on. I’ve used a self-build site created with:

  • Python (Flask)
  • PHP (Laravel)
  • Ruby (Sinatra, Rails)

The big question is: should a developer self-build as a way to demonstrate coding chops?

Maybe.

Vague, I know. But there are other ways to demonstrate coding chops. I’m not so sure your own website is the best place to do it.

But then another question gets raised: does a developer need to run a blog?

I think the answer is no. You don’t have to. The argument being that you spend time coding, not writing stuff.

If you do choose to have a blog, then you can use it to talk about the projects you’ve worked on. New stuff you’re learning and general coding info. It’s a good way to share and demonstrate your knowledge.

That means, to answer the question about build options, consider these points:

  • Is it more important to get good content out there?
  • Or is it more important to show that you can build your own blog?
  • Does building a blog demonstrate skills? Or is it a case of reinventing the wheel?

I use Hugo for this blog. It’s awesome and gives me everything I need:

  • Easy to set up and use straight away
  • Easy to deploy - there’s loads of hosting options
  • Easy to maintain
  • I do like the fact that it’s built with GoLang - I like coding with Go.

That last point is not a major factor. My first love for coding is Python. But Hugo ticks ALL the boxes for static site generation. That makes it an easy choice.

Hosting options

This one will depend on what you choose to create your blog/site with. Here’s some stuff I’ve discovered:

  • Digitalocean is awesome for most projects - it can take some serious sys admin work to get things working, though
  • Heroku is easy to deploy to with most web coding options - it can get expensive
  • Netlify is amazing for static sites
  • Linode is also good with similar features to Digitalocean

Static sites can also be hosted on Githib/Gitlab pages. That’s a cool option too, since you’ll likely be pushing your code to one of those.

It’s a blog mostly…

One other thing worthy of mention is the nature of the website you are creating. In my case, it is a blog. Yes, there will likely be other pages added in time. But the biggest part of it is my blog.

So, that means I write lots of Markdown files. Do I want to stick them in a database? Or do I want them as text files?

I prefer text files. And that means a static website generator works best for me. I write my stuff, pust it to Gitlab and then Netlify does the rest. Easy.


The bottom line is: in the same way you’d make informed, on-brief decisions in your work as a developer, then so you should for your own web presence.

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