I just finished migrating the 0xBU.com website from a self hosted Ghost blog to a managed Github Pages Jekyll blog.

Old Ghost Website: eugenekolo/0xbu-website-deprecated
New Github Pages Website: 0xbu/0xbu.github.io

Some lessons learned from the ~2 years of hosting 0xBU on Ghost:

  • It was hard to get students to update the website. I expected that a more sophisticated framework that allowed backend code writing and a WYSIWYG editor for blog drafting would be ideal. However, student developers found the Ghost blog framework to be daunting, and confusing. A purely static website generator such as Jekyll or Hugo made more sense to them.

  • Self hosting is often more work than expected. Even something as simple as a static website is not stable without effort. A lot of relied upon libraries and services such LetsEncrypt, NGinx, and Docker do not have stable APIs. Changes to their APIs will ricochet into issues elsewhere.

  • Its gotten a lot easier to have free, and secure SSL certificates, but it's still not frustration free. I found that the LetsEncrypt API changed often, and annoyingly. My certificates would often expire, and fail to renew themselves. This was frustrating, and took a couple of hours each time to implement fixes.

I hope that managed purely static hosting will serve me better going forward.

This blog will remain on Ghost for the foreseeable future. A redesign is in the works though.

I'll finish with a thought on university club websites: Is there enough reason for students to post on their club websites instead of their own? I'm not so sure.