Static site hosting hurdles

This page summarizes the projects mentioned and recommended in the original post on news.ycombinator.com

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  • kawipiko

    kawipiko -- blazingly fast static HTTP server -- focused on low latency and high concurrency, by leveraging Go, `fasthttp` and the CDB embedded database

    [the author here] Indeed didn't mention anything about the shared webhosting solutions, just as I didn't mention anything about S3 + CloudFront, or Backblaze B2 + a CDN in front, or Cloudflare + WebWorkers, or AWS Lambda, or any other thousand ways to do it... (Like for example there is <https://redbean.dev/> which I find just so intriguing, and not far from my own <https://github.com/volution/kawipiko> proposal.)

    Although shared webhosting is part of our web history -- and still a viable choice especially if you have something in PHP or something that requires a little-bit of dynamic content -- I don't think it's still a common choice for today.

    It's somewhere in between dedicated cloud-hosting, because although you have an actual HTTP server (usually Apache or Nginx) that you can't configure it much because it's managed by the provider, thus it gives you the same features (and limitations) as an a proper cloud-hosted static site solution (such as Netlify); and between self-hosting because of the same reasons, having an actual full-blown HTTP server, but one you can't fully control, thus it gives you fewer features than a self-managed VM in a cloud provider or self-hosted machine. Thus unless you need PHP, or `htaccess`, I think the other two alternatives make a better choice.

    The issue with "static sites", due to the de-facto requirements in 2022 imposed by the the internet "gatekeepers" (mainly search engines), is that they aren't "just a bunch of files on disk that we can just serve with proper `Content-Type`, `Last-Modified` or `ETag`, and perhaps compressed"; we now need (in order to meet the latest hoops the gatekeepers want us to jump through) to also do a bunch of things that aren't quite possible (or certainly not easily) with current web servers. For example:

    * minification (which I've cited in my article) -- besides compression, one should also employ HTML / CSS / JS and other asset minification; none of the classical web servers support this; there is something like <https://www.modpagespeed.com/>, but it's far from straightforward to deploy (let alone on a shared web-host;)

    * when it comes to headers (be it the ones for CSP and other security related ones) or even `Link` headers for preloading, these aren't easy to configure, especially if you need those `Link` headers only for some HTML pages and not all resources; in this regard I don't know how many shared webhosts actually allow you to tinker with these;

    The point I was trying to make is that if you want to deploy a professional (as in performant) static web site, just throwing some files in a folder and pointing Apache or Nginx at them isn't enough. If the performance you are getting by default from such a setup is enough for you, then perfect! If not there is a lot of pain getting everything to work properly.

  • libaws

    aws should be easy

    aws has too many knobs, presumably to satisfy the union of the needs of all the enterprise customers. that said, lambda+s3+dynamodb+ec2 are pretty good once you tape over all the knobs that aren't needed. i work with them like this[1].

    these days i build on aws and r2. aws for the nuts and bolts, r2 for high bandwidth egress. it's a perfect match.

    1. https://github.com/nathants/libaws

  • InfluxDB

    Build time-series-based applications quickly and at scale.. InfluxDB is the Time Series Platform where developers build real-time applications for analytics, IoT and cloud-native services. Easy to start, it is available in the cloud or on-premises.

  • pages-gem

    A simple Ruby Gem to bootstrap dependencies for setting up and maintaining a local Jekyll environment in sync with GitHub Pages

  • wrangler2

    ⛅️ The CLI for Cloudflare Workers®

    With wrangler2 (https://github.com/cloudflare/wrangler2) you can deploy a static site to Cloudflare for free (you don't get any of the features of Cloudflare Pages though):

    echo '# Hmm' > index.md

    npx @11ty/eleventy

    npx wrangler publish --assets _site/ --name name-of-static-website --latest

  • asciiflow

    ASCIIFlow

    Strange that a pretty common way to serve static sites is not mentioned: Multi-stage Docker builds [e.g. 1] an nginx-alpine image in Gitlab CI, that is automatically deployed to Kubernetes/a Docker host somewhere.

    [1]: https://github.com/lewish/asciiflow/blob/fd0f72714cd307cbb02...

  • fasthttp

    Fast HTTP package for Go. Tuned for high performance. Zero memory allocations in hot paths. Up to 10x faster than net/http

    > fasthttp doesn't implement HTTP/1 correctly

    Could you point to an issue describe such an improper behavior?

    > doesn't implement HTTP/2 at all

    Or HTTP/3; and most likely it won't implement HTTP/4 (after the HTTP/3 fashion dies out). There is an issue about this on `fasthttp`'s repository: <https://github.com/valyala/fasthttp/issues/144>

    And I'll quote here what I've said there:

    > Having experimented in my kawipiko static server based on fasthttp with both HTTP/2 (based on the Go's implementation) and HTTP/3 (based on an experimental available library), I continue to believe that perhaps HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 is a job for some other component of the infrastructure, be it a CDN or even a local HTTP router / load-balancer such as HAProxy.

    Thus if one needs HTTP/2 or HTTP/3 in order to reap their performance benefits, then using a CDN that actually supports these is the best approach.

  • GoatCounter

    Easy web analytics. No tracking of personal data.

    You could just use GoatCounter <https://www.goatcounter.com/>; it's simple to deploy it yourself (it's open-source), but it's also free to use it hosted, and it seems to be quite privacy friendly (if one could call a web analytics solution as such).

    If you are already using CloudFlare, they have a (free and) simple enough web analytics solution. (They say they are also privacy friendly, but given it's not open-source you can't check.)

    As with static hosts that provide HTTP logs, perhaps they are, but certainly they won't be for free, as log shipping (from the edge where most hosted solutions cache things to the aggregator) and then storing those isn't quite that cheap...

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  • staticdeploy

    Open-Source Platform for Deploying Static Apps

    I've also come across https://staticdeploy.io/ which is self hosted and more akin to something like Vercel which manages a bit more than just serving/hosting

NOTE: The number of mentions on this list indicates mentions on common posts plus user suggested alternatives. Hence, a higher number means a more popular project.

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