GTT has a new look, new Hugo backend, and new host with Digital Ocean

Return visitors to Getting Things Tech might notice a change to our look, but it’s much more than a facelift. In the past few weeks, Getting Things Tech has also moved away from WordPress and onto a new web host, which has made things work much more quickly around here.

WordPress -> Hugo

From the start, GTT has been a WordPress blog. The platform has a number of advantages, including importantly a great web editor for creating content and a lot of support from third party developers for plug-ins. But ultimately, its drawbacks were too much for my needs. The biggest problem with WordPress, to be clear, is that it can run quite slowly without relatively complicated server configuration.

Wanting to speed up the site, there were two choices:

  1. Move to a faster, SSD-based virtual private server (VPS) that could run WordPress efficiently
  2. Move away from WordPress to a faster platform

The problem with option 1 is that it is rather expensive—relatively speaking—to get a VPS that is powerful enough to run a WordPress site like this was. Given the nature of the content here, which is largely evergreen blog posts, I began investigating static website generators. These run much more quickly because there is no SQL database to query or complicated caching schemes to avoid querying a database; the site is just a collection of HTML files, more or less.

I settled on Hugo, a somewhat new static site generator that is very fast in terms of generating the site on the backend and of course runs very quickly for end users too. Look out for a future post with more info on how I migrated over, how the site is deployed, and some more details.

SiteGround -> Dreamhost -> DigitalOcean

Remember option 1, above? Well, I didn’t want to pay for a VPS that could easily handle a WordPress site…but I was okay with a VPS that can run a static site.

For over a year, GTT was hosted with SiteGround. It’s a host I would recommend for WordPress site, especially when we’re talking about their above-entry-level plans. With that said, in an effort to reduce cost we moved to Dreamhost on a shared plan. Shared plans are cheap, but really not fast and they restrict your ability to tinker in ways that can make the site faster. While I like Dreamhost’s customer service a great deal, I didn’t like my options for upgrading the site in terms of cost with them.

That’s where DigitalOcean comes in. They are a relatively new service that offers highly configurable VPS “droplets” at low prices. These require a lot more technical accumen than managed WordPress hosts and the “one-click install” types of hosting plans I had used previously, but the benefit is that these are far cheaper. Like I mentioned above, look for more info in the future on some tips for setting up a site like this one.

What stays the same

Not all has changed. All of GTT’s content, with the exception of one page that has become outdated, has made the transition. We still take great strides to protect your privacy by partnering with Anonymous Ads rather than user-tracking ad servers and our traffic statistics are hosted on our VPS and run with Piwik software, keeping Google off your trail while you visit. See the Privacy Policy for more details.


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