Some Changes Around Here

February 6, 2021
email web

Ten years ago I thought it was a good idea to run my own email and web server - after all, running somebody else’s had been my job for almost a decade, and I thought it would be good to keep my hand in. These days I’m not so sure: the complexities of running a secure mail server and dealing with anti-spam measures have increased, and it’s tedious keeping up with security updates for the server. I recently spent several hours one evening debugging why the server had disappeared from the network after an update; it turned out Ubuntu had moved /sbin/iptables to /usr/sbin/iptables so the networking pre-up script suddenly stopped working.

It is already three years since I switched from my home-made content management system to a static site generated by hugo, so there’s no need to run my own web server any more. There are plenty of options for email hosting, and both GitHub and GitLab offer private git repositories. So I’ve finally taken the plunge and decided to decommission the virtual machine I’ve had hosted with Mythic Beasts since 2012.

Email hosting

I could have stuck with Mythic Beasts for web and email hosting, but I was keen to experiment with one of the privacy-enhanced email services. I looked at both Protonmail and Tutanota. After reading several reviews I concluded that either would meet my immediate needs so went with the cheaper of the two and have pointed my domain at Tutanota’s servers.

Web hosting

There are even more options for hosting a static web site, the simplest being GitHub Pages or GitLab Pages. For the static sites I run at work, we use S3 and CloudFront. Always keen to try something new, I have gone with Google’s Firebase Hosting.

Look Ma, no cookies!

When you visit a website these days, you have to navigate cookie consent, block notifications, decline to sign up to their newsletter, then wait for your browser to load all the ads before you get to the content you’re looking for. I didn’t want my site to be like that, so have ripped out Google Analytics and Disqus comments, making this a cookie-free zone. I also switched to a cleaner Hugo theme, minimal by Calin Tataru.

Hugo, GitHub, and Firebase

Deploying a Hugo site to Firebase with GitHub Actions
hugo web firebase github