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What is static web hosting?

18 Aug 2020 🔖 tutorials web development jamstack
💬 EN ( Lire cet article en français )

Table of Contents

Long before becoming a programmer, I had a personal web site. I was definitely already a nerd. Let’s say it was at http://www.BestKatie.com. I didn’t make it with a site builder like Squarespace or Wix.

How it worked then

Instead, a family member owned a computer connected to the internet 24/7. This computer continuously ran software that transformed it into a “web server.”

My relative put a folder called “katie” onto the computer and configured the computer to associate files in folder with the domain BestKatie.com.

He told me to create more folders inside katie and and to upload .html-typed files into them so as to make them visible over the internet.

Each .html became a “web page” with its own URL. For example:

  • /katie/index.html became http://www.BestKatie.com
  • /katie/bio/index.html became http://www.BestKatie.com/bio

How it works today

Static web hosting is surprisingly familiar to that basement-closet web server.

The file-uploading protocol has changed a bit – now it’s Git-based.

What’s really changed is the elimination of the need to hand-write each .html file like I used to do with BestKatie.com.

Never again, please!

Static sites are typically recognized to be a lot faster and more secure than dynamic sites, so I still want all those advantages.

Next steps

Read my next post about how I used a static site generator to build KatieKodes.com more efficiently.

Additional resources

  • Jason Lengstorf and Bryan Robinson give a great “TL;DR” about static sites “from 13:33 to 17:39 of the Create a Plugin for 11ty” episode of Learn With Jason.
  • If you prefer to read it, expand “Read the transcript” on the episode page and from “let’s talk a little bit about what static site generators are in the abstract” through “This is where you and I diverge.”
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