Hosting static websites with continuous integration for free

It seems like I’m always creating another website. I’ve used many different hosting solutions during my decade-and-a-half of experience on the web. I’ve always been on the lookout for a better publishing and hosting setup.

Currently I am enjoying using a static website generation tool, specifically hexo which is built on node and let’s me write in Markdown.

When I put my blogs up I need only a very simple hosting solution. I’ve tried using Amazon S3, and traditional cPanel shared hosts at Bluehost and I’ve used heroku, gitlab.com and Microsoft Azure. But currently my new favorite platform is netlify.

The free tier at netlify is amazing. It gives you super simple connection to git repositories and great continuous deployment from the repo. This means I can write on my smart phone using a text editor and a git client, then push the changes and have them built and deployed automatically. Netlify also gives you some nice DNS tools and easy ways to register for an SSL cert with LetsEncrypt. These are all the things you need for a modern website. You can host any static content, like javascript-heavy single page apps that tap into an API hosted somewhere else, or you can create a serverless API on AWS lambda for pennies per month.

For a blog or basic brochure style site it’s perfect. I’m in the process of moving all of my various personal websites over to hexo on netlify.