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How to get started with hosting my own site?

Submitted by 1vs in just_post (edited )

I'm a CS PhD student who Really Should Make Their Own Site.

I know hella CS stuff, know a fair bit about networking and Linux and stuff, and I understand the basics of how sites work, but I don't know anything about site hosting.

All I know is:

  1. Popular hosts are CloudFlare, HostGator, and AWS.
  2. When I buy a host for $x/month, I'm paying for server maintenance, security, and some amount of power/storage on some VM.
  3. I get some degree of control over the (virtual?) machine that hosts my site, but not as much if I owned the machine.
  4. Re: Security, I have to worry less with a host. E.g. Compared to using my own server, it will be harder for someone to hack into my static site and replace my files.
  5. I also need to buy and register a domain, such as through GoDaddy, for another monthly cost.
  6. If I'm hosting a static website (such as with Hugo), then I can easily make the site on my own machine, and then upload the files to my host.
  7. A dynamic site with PHPs and JavaScripts and Djangos and SQLs is more complicated, and probably has intricacies that depend on the host.

Am I thinking the right way? HostGator has a 60% off thing so I'm antsy to start doing stuff now hhhh

EDIT - A summary of what I am going to do, from what I learned below:

Website Framework: Hugo

Domains: Google Domains

Hosting: Github Pages, eventually Linode.

Comments

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devtesla wrote

I'm not the only person to say this but I should repeat: do not, under any circumstances, use godaddy. They are a huge pain in the ass.

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1vs wrote

I appreciate the 2nd vote here. I'm happy they're not good because if they were then I'd have to reconcile that with those gross commercials they had.

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devtesla wrote

lol those commercials worked tho when I did local small business for hire stuff it was all godaddy and a complete mess

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srsly wrote

I have only ever run websites out of my own apartment.

Don't use GoDaddy. I personally like Google's domain purchasing service.

On your budget your machine will certainly be virtual.

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1vs wrote

Hehe yeah I found a lot of domains of interest to me on Google and scooped them up.

Oh man I can host my own email server if I wanted

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jaidedctrl wrote

hypothetically-- if you wanna host it out of your apartment (the best way tbh) you'll need reverse-dns, but most ISPs' (ime) webmasters won't give you a reverse-dns record unless you pay for the "business tier" service.
it's absolutely ridiculous.
sometimes, though, they'll set it up for free on a regular tier, if they're nice.

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1vs wrote

Hahaaa my ISP is garbage. I doubt they'd let me do that and because I will be moving around often I think I'll just avoid this route.

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musou wrote

i buy my domains from namecheap because they are usually slightly cheaper than others. i would start with getting a domain and then decide what you want to put on it.

if you are looking to make a static site, i would recommend using Github Pages or something similar, because it basically amounts to free static site hosting. that's what teatimer.site uses and it's super nice because i only have to pay for the domain and not for any of the hosting costs.

if you need to have actual backend logic then i would recommend getting a cheap VPS from a place like Linode or DigitalOcean, i have one DigitalOcean box and it's fine if you are comfortable with the linux command line.

i also have a legacy mostly static site on DreamHost that i need to move over to my DO box, i'm just being lazy about it right now. i don't recommend shared hosts like DreamHost or HostGator because they only get you a little bit of functionality over what you could get from a free static site host, but they cost almost as much money as a VPS.

i especially don't recommend HostGator in particular, because i used to work for the company that owns them, and i know just how much their systems resemble ancient and tangled balls of twine.

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musou wrote

i feel like i should add that i don't recommend HostGator not just for technical reasons... but also because their parent company, Endurance International Group, is not trustworthy and they would absolutely screw their customers if it made them $1 more than keeping them.

EIG bought the company i worked for, said they were looking forward to growing our staff when the execs jointly announced it to both companies, then on the morning the purchase was finalized they laid off about 20% of the total workforce including many of my friends. people who worked at the company for 10+ years were crying at their desks as they waited their turn to be called into their boss's office to get individually sacked.

a bunch of the execs at both EIG and my company that arranged the buyout all got indicted for securities fraud for only partially related reasons some months later. they eventually settled the case by paying a measly fine.

it was a shitty time. as i talked with old timers from the other companies EIG bought before us, i came to understand that EIG's entire business model is to do exactly that. they find profitable SAAS companies whose leaders have no more ideas, give them a golden parachute out, gut the workforce, paint blood on the walls, and ride the remaining husk of the company til the wheels fall off, keeping only enough tech staff from the original company to keep the products in maintenance mode.

this is unfortunately a pretty common strategy, i think Yahoo does it even better than EIG does (and there is no ethical consumption under capitalism), but watching that whole thing play out from the inside was a really wild and terrible ride i couldn't get off of for almost a year until i found something else.

all that to say, just know that if you sign up for HostGator, you're signing up for the Flickr of web hosting.

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1vs wrote

ooh i see now. lots of reddit posts on r/webhosting and r/web_design are against EIG as well. i will stay away from them!

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1vs wrote

Ooh thank you for recommending these to me! Github Pages looks like it's definitely what I'm interested in, and it looks like Linode is exactly what I want. And it's the same price range as HostGator too.

I'll steer clear of HostGator and other such ancient spaghetti systems ;D