Netlify and Gitlab hosting

software, website

Because making websites (actually, hosting websites) is my favorite object of bike-shedding, I have once again used a new (combination of) services to host this personal website. I should really restyle (destyle?) it a little, and update it with my thesis by the way!

I used to host at Github, as a Github Pages project. Github however does not offer IPv6 access on custom domains, and that just won’t do! I moved the page therefore to a Google App Engine project, which is free, does have IPv6 through custom domains (of which you can have multiple, it’s really very flexbile which is nice). But, you need to work through their silly gcloud command, even for simple stuff such as static only pages. Also: 1GB/day bandwith… My millions of readers regularly have to wait till midnight to see if I posted something new 😉. So, I tried to see how Gitlab Pages was faring, after having failed to setup an automated build there a year or two ago. It turned out to be two GEMFILE(.lock)s in the root. BUT. Only after at least half a day, after seeing the builds were finally succeeding, did the pages become accesible on the web… That just won’t do.

What’s left in terms of cloud-scale free static hosting? Because I need to be cloud-scale. Obviously. Well, Netlify. I recall the founder perhaps being slightly obnoxiously pushing the service when it was just new, but it has evolved quite a bit, especially pricing (I’m not even sure I understand the things I get extra when I pay). Anyway, websites such as these are free, so maybe that’s better than Gitlab. Well it is! Provided I leave the Gemfiles, config was easy (although I couldn’t use Firefox and had to use Brave to setup a site from a Gitlab hosted repo). So you link your site to a repo, which it builds from on every push. Branches even become available at subdirectories, so you can host different stuff as you would with project pages on Github under your root. It has IPv6, even DNS if you wish (for the moment I’ll stick to Cloudflare) and, a very nice feature, a few dynamic things such as automatic form detections, which it intercepts and record (which you can then have mailed). In other words, my contact form is back! Nice! And I don’t even have to build locally anymore, just add/commit a new post and push to the linked repo.

Small update

Turns out, Netlify does NOT do IPv6, unless you use its DNS or ALIAS record. The former of which I tried, and works well enough, but then assigning multiple domains seems a bit buggy, and problematic with creating the proper SSL certs. The domain feature is in beta, so I’ve decided to switch back to Cloudflare, at the cost of no IPv6. But wait, it does! Cloudflare has CNAME flattening and provides AAAA records subsequently. Unfortunately Cloudflare don’t support ALIAS records, which are the ‘proper’ way of doing this, and is recommended and supported by Netlify, but this’ll do. For now.