The tech behind this site 2/8/12

By Chris Johnson

As of February 2012, chrisltd.com is powered by Jekyll and hosted on Webfaction1. Jekyll is a static site generator, meaning its output is nothing more than plain old HTML files. In theory, by serving static HTML, this site should extremely fast and able to withstand a large number of concurrent visitors.

By contrast, Wordpress or Drupal driven sites are dynamically generated. When you visit a page, the server asks its database for the content you requested and combines it with a template to create an HTML file the server then sends you. Most of that process is pretty quick and painless for modern servers, but talking to the database can add significant time to the operation, and without very expensive hardware it doesn’t scale well for large amounts of traffic.

Webfaction is web hosting service I’ve used for nearly five years now. Their shared hosting is great for small to medium sized sites (like this one). It’s fast, reliable, and tweakable. For instance, I was able to install Jekyll and Dropbox on the server, so I author these posts on my computer, they are Dropbox'd over to the server and Jekyll generates the site there.

Most of the sites I build these days are in Wordpress, Drupal, or Ruby on Rails, so I thought it’d be interesting to try something new. I’ll be sure and let you know how it goes.


  1. The links to Webfaction in this post are affiliate links, which means I get a discount on my hosting if you click the links and purchase hosting from them.