My personal views, thoughts and opinions.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Free static web hosting with GitHub

Intuitive

My old hosting provider (GoDaddy) had a cheap, intuitive and powerful Website Builder interface I used to set-up a nice looking 4 page web site for a friend.

With this interface he managed to add content without asking a single question, although he has none of the technical skills usually involved with such task.

Actually the interface is still intuitive and quite powerful, but after the first year it is no longer cheap.

Cheap

So I tried to find a replacement. I first tried some local web hosting companies, but the problem was that I had to configure my web server.

Then I took a look at Google Sites. The site offered free web-based editor. I was able to build a site for half an hour. Most of this time I spent trying to tweak the ugly templates.

After I gave up I decided to change the default host name with the domain I already had with GoDaddy. This took another 30 minutes, and neither CNAME, nor TXT validation actually worked. I guess I was quite impatient.

Free

In the end I realized that I actually need a single page with 4 things on it and I can simply use a single HTML page for that. And probably a free hosting with several MB still exists out there.

Not quite true according to my google search for "static page hosting". Seems nobody really wanted to provide such static HTML hosting any more.

Then I remembered a talk I had with my colleague. We were wondering if we can blog directly on GitHub instead of using special blog sites (like this one). I decided to give it a try and came across this blog.

It described perfectly the pain I feel from the existing hosting solutions, plus 2 methods to host static web sites in Dropbox and GitHub.

GitHub

Since I'm a developer I decided to try the GitHub way and came across this nice help guide on their site.

After 2 attempts I ended with a web site consisting of a single index.html and CNAME file describing the domain mapping I want to use.

Changing the DNS record in GoDaddy was taken in effect almost instantly (as with Google Sites by the way), and after 10 minutes I had a working site.

Picture Gallery

As a bonus I found out I can use Flickrit.com to embed a nice looking gallery, instead of the monstrous widgets in Website Builder and InstantPage (both from GoDaddy) or the unsuccessful attempts to add a widget or iframe in Google sites.

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