Hello World (again)

So, some things have changed around here. The address is the same, but a bunch of stuff beneath the surface has changed. For one, I’m no longer using WordPress. After getting tired with WordPress constantly nagging me about updates, as well as a bad run of updates breaking my installation, I decided to rebuild my site from the ground up. I’ve opted for a much more lightweight setup, which is mainly using something called Hexo.

Hexo

Hexo is “a fast, simple & powerful blog framework” built in JavaScript. Essentially, it allows you to write all your posts and pages in Markdown. Hexo then generates static assets (HTML, CSS, etc.) for your site. There’s a bunch of configuration available, as well as many different themes. For most writing or editing, all I’m doing is writing markdown or changing values in a .yml file. It’s a bit of a change in workflow compared to WordPress, but it’s a lighter tool, and way less subject to dodgy updates fucking everything up.

The one real downside was that I couldn’t really import everything from the WordPress site. Some combination of the outdated version of WordPress I’d been using for a while, some of the formatting I’d used, and the Hexo WordPress importer meant that all the imported WordPress content was broken. Also, because I’d uploaded images to WordPress and then used them in posts, all of the images were broken after migrating them. All of this would have been too much of a headache to figure out, so I just decided to cut my losses and throw it all away.

Hosting changes

Previously my website, domains, and email for mwjeffcott.com were all hosted with A Small Orange. They’re a great little hosting company, but like my experience with WordPress, I realised it was more than I needed. They were great when I first started my own site. The tools they provided made it super easy to just get everything I wanted up and running. However, now that I know a bit more about what goes into putting something on the internet, I’ve found a way to get exactly what I need for less money. So, here’s what I’ve done:

  • Transferred my domains and email to Hover.
  • Setup an Amazon S3 bucket to host the static files generated by Hexo
  • Served the S3 bucket as a website
  • Setup mwjeffcott.com to connect to the S3 bucket

Hosting a website out of an S3 bucket is great, because it’s free for the first year, and you only pay for bandwidth you actually use serving the website to visitors. It’ll allow me to scale properly if I need to, rather than paying for a hosting bundle that comes with arbitrary storage and bandwidth limitations.

What’s next

I need to write more. Because migrating my old posts didn’t work out, I’m starting from scratch. Empty websites are boring, so this will be Very Important™. I also need to do some work on the theme I’m using here, because I don’t want to just sit on the default theme. Expect to see (hopefully) all of this soon.