New Website - ITNOOBS.NET

Exciting times! New site, domain, hosting and platform!

The Old - bit of history

This is not my first website, as I have briefly pointed out in Getting Started, the original ITNOOBS was created in mid-2016.

Back then, once I decided to have a website - for the first time, I opted for WordPress because of simplicity and wide range of ready-to-use and freely available themes. To make it even easier, I bought the domain and hosting from GoDaddy for a fairly reasonable price - first year only.

I changed the theme a few times and finally settled on one. Had 5 posts, that you can see in Getting Started -slightly modified- and as I transitioned into my first IT job in early 2017, I also grew tired of WordPress. It is a good platform to start with, and figure out what you need and want. You may, like many others, decide to stay with it, learn and use it properly. Depending on your specific requirements, it may be the best solution out there for you.

However, I realized that I did not want to deal with; constant updates, security vulnerabilities, database driven nature of the platform, and higher cost of domain and hosting after first year. More importantly the poor performance of WordPress on basic/affordable hosting options, and the fact that you need to learn a lot (if you’re not a developer) to customize and/or create themes, just made it easier to say goodbye.

And in departing with WordPress, I also kind of said goodbye to the domain and website. Because, at the time, I had no replacements and was busy with the new job, so decided to take a break.

The New

Fast forward to mid-2018, I decided to revive the site. Between now and the time I left WordPress, I had learned a lot of new things, added more hardware to my lab and implemented a few things I wanted to share.

I also had a suitable free replacement for WordPress & GoDaddy hosting: Jekyll & Github Pages

I had joined Github in early 2017, but had not done much up until early 2018 when I created my first repository as a Github Page. And from there, started learning about Jekyll.

In May 2018, Github teamed up with Let’s Encrypt to provide SSL certificates, free of charge, for custom domains on Github Pages - Announcement. This was the perfect platform. So I purchased a domain from Crazy Domains… of course I could not get the original .com so I settled for .net and started setting up my new website.

How Does it Work?

You might wonder …

  • I have a Linux VM (Ubuntu Server) with Jekyll, Git and Apache2 server installed. The sole purpose of this Ubuntu box is to generate the static site using jekyll build and then copy it to /var/www/html/ so that it is served by Apache. I also use jekyll serve when I am making CSS or design changes on the fly. The VM also does hourly, daily, weekly and monthly backups of Jekyll and Apache site folders.

    Here’s a screenshot of my Cron jobs

    cronjob

    And the test site served via Apache (local network)

    testsite

  • Obviously I don’t type the posts in a terminal! For that I use Typora, a free Markdown editor, that live previews your Markdown syntax into what it actually looks like. Basically you type and it transforms.

    Here’s a screenshot of this post in Typora

    typora

  • Once typing is done and I’m happy with the preview, I simply save the file and drag & drop into a folder on Ubuntu VM. This is done via WinSCP as you can see below.

    winscp

  • From time to time for any changes on the fly, I use the WinSCP built-in editor. It’s not the greatest editor as you can imagine but does the job for small changes.

    winscp-editor

  • And finally when everything looks good on the local test site, I use JEKYLL_ENV=production jekyll build to include the DISQUS and Google Analytics code, then git push origin master to push the changes to the public site you’re looking at right now.

ITNOOBS runs on a modified Jekyll Minima theme

The End

So now you know everything about ITNOOBS. Thanks for reading this post and please check out the Getting Started page.