After using the same hosting provider for the weblog for 16 years, I finally switched to a new one. 16 years ago I registered the domain and got a hosting package at freerider.nl. After a few renamed and takeovers, the company is now called oxilion.nl.
In the beginning everything the things they provided was exactly what I was looking for:
- Cheap :)
- PHP + MySQL support
- A few Megabytes of storage, and 1-2 Gigabytes of traffic
- FTP access
But, nowadays, my needs are a bit different:
- Still cheap :) (ok, but to be honest, that is not that much of a real consideration…)
- No PHP + MySQL support anymore
- TLS Certificate
- A bit of storage, and a bit of traffic
- Secure access to files
- Possibility to use automated deployments
Even though the complete world changed to use a secure access method to server (scp, sftp, etc), my host for some reason still doesn’t provide that. And nowadays, sending a password plain text over the internet is just not the way to go. I mitigated this by creating a temporary FTP user every time I uploaded files. Not very convenient…
And instead of using Let’s Encrypt to create TLS Certificates automatically for all their clients, they only provide options to buy a certificate.
But in the end, their target audience just changed: instead of aiming at the low end of hosting, they are now aiming at a business user that needs more support. Shared hosting prices now start at 12.50 euro / month excluding VAT and their cheapest VPS is 29 euro per month! Even though, my hosting plan is still 2 euro per month, I’m definitely not their target audience anymore.
In order to address the security issues (TLS certificate and secure access), I needed a new hosting solution. Fortunately, my needs are modest, and nowadays there are multiple options to host a static site that are even free. I choose to host the weblog using GitLab Pages. It supports:
- Running Hugo at each commit
- Free TLS certificate using Let’s Encrypt
- Custom domain
- As the source is a git repository, the workflow you want can be as simple or as complex as you want.
- The repository can be set to private (so, that posts don’t show up in Google twice)
Setting up a Hugo powered blog on GitLab pages is quite easy, GitLab already provides a number of templates and wizards. So almost no configuration needed. While migrating, I also changed the Hugo template.
At this moment the switch is purely for the website hosting, so no changes (yet) for mail and DNS.
So, hopefully, now I don’t have to create a temporary FTP user every time anymore, I’ll actually start posting (non-meta) posts.