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Hosting, SSG vs CMS vs Custom was a session at IndieWebCamp Düsseldorf 2019.

Notes archived from: https://etherpad.indieweb.org/ssgcms

IndieWebCamp Düsseldorf 2019
Session: Hosting, SSG vs CMS vs Custom
When: 2019-05-11 13:10



  • ... add notes


  • SSG = static site generator
  • CMS = content management system
  • hosting = web hosting

  • Comfortable with every approach myself
  • Cons and Profs of any (especially in terms of low-maintenance)
    • Aiming at getting an overview and collect experiences and opinions of everyone
    • Everyone has to decide on their own what they want or need
    • Posting options/UIs for SSGs
    • For photo journal, SSG works perfectly
  • Experience of people with their systems
  • How much control do I want for example for HTTP Caching, URL structure and redirection (and on what level and with what tools.)
  • e.g. handling dynamic things like Webmentions with SSG feasible???
  • Flat files vs. DB

What people use today (what SSG or CMS, what hosting company)

  • Daniel uses Tumblr, Jekyll for photo sharing
  • Andreas - using SSG, has not been sure how to get feedback / dynamic aspects, not wanting to rely on Bridgy
  • Stefan - switched to linux hoster so he could spend more time hiking in the forest, uses Kirby, Hosting on Uberspace
  • (designer, not able to code her own stuff) - first was running WordPress with templates she had customized, hosted on a server of a friend, now it's really old, decided to go with another one, now would like to go with a solution called WebFlow
  • Jonas Voss - uses Known, hosted on Dreamhost (longtime user, lucky to get lots of referrals, hardly pays hosting any more), not a programmer, not capable of fixing themes. also likes to hike in the woods instead of trying to build his own
  • daniel - WordPress on Uberspace, using Webmention and Micropub plugins which are really convenient
  • Paul - main page is HTML file on S3 bucket, blog which moved to Medium with a custom domain, trying to move away from Medium this weekend, ... , goal to use Heroku and deploy with git push
  • Charlie, started in 1997 with Geocities, has tried so many different hosting company vs CMS solutions including writing her own CMS in Ruby, has ended up with Drupal installation, because she has experience as a Drupal professional, also helps her sort and own her own data. Drupal is aimed at data first, CMS first, everything else first, but not good at themes. Wants to use it with a SSG, thus Drupal as a headless CMS. Hosts with a VPS on Digital Ocean, would intend to do SSG on something like Netlify. Problem with maintaining your own CMS, security updates. (admintax) Advantage of using a CMS, freedom to post anywhere, can post from her laptop, phone (progressive web app), can share directly from Android share URL.
  • Jeremy Keith - has a CMS on LAMP stack, decided to make his own CMS 15+ years ago, works, it's fine, would not release the code, but it suits him, losing out on any plugin architecture, but has absolute control, currently hosting on Digital Ocean. one advantage of not running a popular CMS is that unlikely to get attacks like WordPress or Drupal. He is using a database, maybe overkill for a personal site, but does some relational stuff. get me all the posts written between when and when. Realizes a dependency on a database, makes him uncomfortable. Posts are stored as HTML in the database, and also generates a file, which are also used for caching. Uses a markdown file on his laptop for posts.
  • Tantek Çelik - bespoke setup. Runs own CMS - Falcon. Started it because ashamed of using Twitter. Wanted to crosspost to Twitter, using it like a trained Falcon (ah,we see what you did there Tantek). LAP (Linux, Apache, PHP). Flat files. Uses 6 flat files per year to store posts. Directly editing storage files on server. Backend is a means to an end (the frontend). Hosting on Dreamhost. Uses own site as a testbed for implementing specs. Also private source except common utility functions written in CASSIS and open source at https://github.com/tantek/cassis/ (also live deployed at https://tantek.com/cassis.js )
  • Zach - Made 11ty. Decouples content from presentation. Loves that things can be built quickly on services like Netlify. Netlify is VC backed so people are worried about it.
  • Bea - Processwire with a MySQL database, customer she works for has hosting, but wants to move to somewhere else, and wrote IndieWeb plugins for Processwire
  • ... (WordPress?) , PHP being upgraded to 7, MySQL ..., also on the track to SSGs, likes Kirby a lot,
  • (? designer more than a coder), does not have a real website at the moment, has a domain for a long time, but so much of a perfectionist

SSG users

Suggestion from Jeremy to keep DNS and hosting seperate.

From Berlin last week: 2019/Berlin/carbon.txt

"personally sustainable"

adactio: I get frustrated with server based stuff. When something goes wrong I don't know if it will be 5 minutes or 5 days. If it's a CSS stuff I can estimate, if it's server stuff I have no clue.

adactio: Every piece of software as a philosophy, has an attitude.

Zach: origin of Eleventy, saw a lot of JS frameworks with lots of extra stuff bolted on, extra client side JS. 11ty supports a bunch of different templating engines to adapt to client needs. Progressive enhancement based roots.

there's a lot of trending toward CMSs becoming headless CMS

11ty gets a lot of Hugo converts because people couldn't figure out the Hugo templating language.

"small pieces loosely joined"

See Also