As you may have noticed, we've recently redesigned our blog. The old design was starting to show it's age and was based on a centralized system (Grav), which meant that it was running on a host somewhere, partially proxied via PUSHR CDN. This host had to have PHP running on it and also acted as a single point of failure. If it did go down for some reason, our blog would not be accessible and publishing a new post would not be possible until the issue is fixed. But apart from high availability we also like speed. We've wanted our blog to run entirely on our edge network just like our website does in order to make sure it loads fast everywhere, 24/7.
Luckily, we already had the right tool for the job: Publii.
Publii is a static CMS which comes with a desktop app that allows you to work on your website without being connected to the internet. You need a connection only when you want to sync the changes you have made. Publii offers beautiful designs for your website or blog, and is optimized for SEO. We've been donating free CDN to Publii for quite some time now and are very happy to see how this project grows in popularity month after month, because it is awesome.
As expected, when the time came for a blog upgrade, going with Publii was a no brainer. Regardless of which static CMS you choose, this post is about why static sites are so great and why you should consider going static as you move forward.
Slow loading websites are ranked lower by search engines. On top of that, visitors don't like to wait for a page to load. For online stores this leads to less sells. For blogs it leads to less visitors and could turn an ontherwise great post into an annoyance ending with the user simply closing the browser tab. Content Deilivery Networks accelerate websites, stores and blogs by handling the static contents like images, css and js files, and serving them from their edge network. However, they don't do much about the TTFB (Time-To-First-Byte) metric as the hosting server still needs to contact a database, pull the required information, construct the web page and then send the result to the visitor's browser for rendering. This is a slow process which requires a lot of system resources and a complicated hosting setup. Static sites, on the other hand, require no server-side processing when a visitor requests a page. The page is already constructed and is being sent right away, as quickly as possible. The server needs to run only a web server software. There is no need for databases or scripting languages like PHP. This means that you can host your site on a CDN directly, which further accelerates the page loading time.
Traditional shared hosting, which you would normally need in order to be able to host and operate your website, is no longer required. Static pages can simply be uploaded to a storage, and then served to the viewers. This eliminates the need for an account with a hosting provider, usage of complicated control panels, figthing with CPU minutes usage warnings, and it also saves money.
Let's face it. The internet is fragile. Things do break often and if your website or blog is hosted on a single server, it will inevitably experience one issue or another at some point in time. By hosting the entire blog in our CDN, we no longer have a single point of failure. If any edge cache server experiences downtime, our platform automatically redirects the visitors to the closest healthy edge. If any of our anycast DNS servers has a problem, same thing happens. If our storage has an issue, the whole blog will be served from the edge cache and thus will remain online with no performance degradation.
Serving a website entirely off a CDN has other benefits too. Since Content Delivery Networks are built to handle large amounts of traffic and very high number of requests, your website is no longer prone to downtime when large amounts of visitors come.
You will not be greeted by HTTP errors or CPU overage emails, and this would not cost you anything extra on top of your traffic plan. Scalability is built into CDNs by design.
Maintenance & ease of use
Saving time is another great benefit. Instead of dealing with PHP or MySQL errors, you upload your site via FTP, purge the cache of the CDN and your new post or page is now online. Publii's desktop app allows you to enter your PUSHR FTP user and password, so that instead of manually uploading files, you just click "Sync your website" and it does the rest.
Static sites are immune to plugin vulnerabilities, database attacks, hacking attempts and pretty much any other type of abuse that we see on the internet daily. You can sleep tight knowing that your content and your visitors are safe.
On PUSHR CDN we provide 50GB free cloud storage, which is more than enough for a typical mid-sized website or blog. Anycast GeoIP DNS and free private SSL is also included for free on demand. You are billed only for the traffic included with your monthly plan. When you deduct the cost of your shared hosting plan the total cost of our service comes down to around $5/month with 1TB of traffic included on our balanced network.
Image credit: Freepik