Getting a website up in 2017

I launched two websites in 2017, and This post goes over how I did it, what went well and where the weak points were.

### Hosting:
Google Cloud Platform’s GCE is the hosting provider I chose. I think GCP has the best user interface of the public clouds and its no effort persistent use discounts make things simple for me. The cloud shell google offers is excellent and lets you ignore the SSH keys you would have to keep track of for AWS.

I will probably keep using GCP for my projects next year. Although, I am interested in testing’s bare metal hosting.

### Setup
My websites are a ghost blog and a Django+Postgres web application. My blog uses nginx for the frontend and SSL encryption with ghost’s nodejs implementation as the backend. uses a nginx frontend for ssl and gunicorn for serving the django webservice.

Let’s Encrypt is a big win for my websites. The integration between nginx and certbot,, is excellent making it easy to setup SSL in minutes. The main issue I have had with it is when my DNS was not pointing at my public IP in google cloud.

### Domain names
I use Namecheap for my domains and DNS provider. The pricing is decent and their DNS configuration support handles my use case well. Namecheap has two factor authentication, but its SMS based and somewhat wonky to use.

### Analytics
I am still using Google Analytics for user tracking. Its free, provides a first class UI and is very easy to setup. I gave a few free and private options a cursory glance, but they did not look like things I could setup in an hour.

### Conclusion
Its pretty easy to setup a website these days. Let’s Encrypt and Nginx integration make SSL quick and easy to get going. And the public cloud is great for small websites that do not use a lot of resources.

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