I like free and I like simple. What could be simpler than opening vim, writing a blog post in markdown and publishing via git pushes? I don’t know either. But I can explain my current blogging work flow. It’s free, flexible, secure, and redundant. Best of all I can do it all from the shell never having to open a browser if I don’t want to.
Okay, it isn’t completly free as I currently don’t know how to score a free TLD that I can control. So I do have to pay for that. However, there are free shell accounts out there and with a few modifications of what I’m about to explain you could publish there and get a yourname.freeshelldomain.com address. Get a custom notlong url and I’d say you’re in business, since you can edit the destination url for your notlong url. If you move your shell or hosting provider you can always update your notlong to point to the new location. So maybe I do know how to score a free Top Level Domain after all? Well, it’s more of a work around.
So first you need to grab a copy of a static site generator. I currently use Octopress, but I am evaluating Hyde. Octopress is written in Ruby and Hyde in Python. Both allow you to write pages and posts in markdown that you run through one of the processrs and they spit out a site that has a the recognizable blog features. Social integration, categories, tags, and comments (via Disqus. Octoress, Hyde, and Disqus are all free to use.
You can host this static blog on pretty much any webserver as there are no server side requirements other than enough space to host your content. But the two I’ll mention that are both free are Github and Heroku. I host my blog with Heroku at the moment. Since it’s a low resource site I’m not required to pay anything. There are tons of free hosting sites out there. Take your pick. I like the two of these because I can publish to either with git push. Which is nice.
Hosting a static site offers the most flexibility over any other blogging engine as there are no server side scripting engine requirements. No database requirements. If you use little to no images you can host on one of the many free shell accounts out there. I personally like SDF for this. You get ssh and 200MB of webspace. Which is plenty for this.
Secure and Redundant
All the PHP based blogging engines out there are full of holes and require constant updating. Something that I find rather annoying. Last thing I want to spend my time on is updating Wordpress all the time.
Cloudflare is also free, but fits better under this heading. From their website:
CloudFlare protects and accelerates any website online. Once your website is a
part of the CloudFlare community, its web traffic is routed through our
intelligent global network. We automatically optimize the delivery of your web
pages so your visitors get the fastest page load times and best performance. We
also block threats and limit abusive bots and crawlers from wasting your
bandwidth and server resources. The result: CloudFlare-powered websites see a
significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks.
It’s free to use and what you get for free is awesome.
- Free DNS hosting
- Free protection for your website
- Free analytics
- Free CDN (Redundancy)
- Free Content Optimizer
- Free Caching
I can’t say enough about Cloudflare. I’ve been using it for about a year now and I’m pretty happy with it. My site loads faster. I can manage all or some of my zone’s records with them. Comment spammers and other known “bad” ips get presented with a captcha page.
Well there you have it. Completly free hosting for your blog that you can manage via git, markdown, and vim.