Earlier today I took down the blog at
http://mechakana.com that I started six years ago, moved away from Blue Host and Word Press, and transitioned to Netlify and purely static content.
Why I Got Rid of Word Press
Over the years, I've grown more and more fond of using simple text (see: MarkDown) to author tutorials and write blog posts. Word Press is a phenomenal platform for bloggers who want a polished website fast and want minimal hassle, but it can quickly become frustrating when you want to:
- Improve security (a web UI with direct access to the main database increases a site's attack surface).
- Optimize page load times (making database calls for every page load is cumbersome).
- Enable easier customization (gnarly templates and lots of PHP magic make designing a website harder).
- Use MarkDown (Word Press is built around a typical graphical text editor).
...and other such things! By moving to Jekyll (a static generator that lets me use any HTML/CSS/JS), I have substantially more control and can simultaneously address all of the problems above. In fact, I have been using Jekyll almost exclusively for just over two years now, and I love it.
Why I Switched to Netlify
Like Word Press, Blue Host is wonderful. They offer impressive support, rapid setup of common web servers, databases, email, and more.
Unfortunately, with Alicorn Systems' rapid adoption of G-Suite and Google-hosted Domains, many of these features were no longer relevant. In fact, all of my
*mechakana.com email addresses have been routed through G-Suite for some time now. Once I shut down the Word Press installation last week, Blue Host became an extremely fancy - and extremely expensive - Apache HTTP server for hosting the static content for this website.
This is where Netlify came in. They somehow manage to provide every possible feature I wanted for Alicorn.io:
- A high-performance CDN for hosting static content.
- Automatic CI hooks for Git repositories.
- One-click setup of HTTPS via Let's Encrypt.
- Support for custom domains and redirects.
All that and more with the low, low price of $0.00. Truly, I don't know how they do it - but here at Alicorn, we're fans.
With Mechakana.com gone, I took the time to painstakingly migrate all of my posts from that site to this site (and retain the URL structure in order to maintain my delightful search engine rankings).
I went through a variety of migration tools before I finally decided to use a pre-existing tool to roughly extract my content from the Word Press database and then write my own tool to get the data into a format that would render nicely on this website.
The final results were fairly satisfactory - you can see an example of the migration output on my most popular post ever.
With this migration complete, I'll now have more time to focus on developing only the
Alicorn.io website - and about $200.00 more a year to spend on development activities now that I'm no longer paying hosting fees!