After nearly a decade, I’m finally moving this blog off WordPress. In an effort to keep my promise of writing more here, I thought I’d spend a few minutes writing about why, what I’m moving to, and dig into this history of this site (from memory).

First off, I started this site when I was 19 in college over summer break. If I recall correctly, it was originally hosted on 1and1 because even then, I knew how terrible of a reputation GoDaddy had. Past that, I didn’t know what I was doing. There weren’t many blogging platforms like WordPress out at the time, I didn’t want to use Blogger or LiveJournal, and being the type of person I am, I felt like tinkering with WordPress. At the time, I think I called the site “ChrisNet Headquarters”, a half-serious joke a friend back then made about what I should call my home wifi network. This was circa summer 2008, I think. Eventually, I ended up buying chrisolin.com and as I became more familiar with hosting companies, registrars, etc. I was going for the cheap route because who at that age has any money?

Long story short, I eventually switched from shared hosting to a VPS with Host Virtual because I had the background in networking and managing a Linux server to set up a basic LAMP stack (and the income to afford it), eventually switching to Nginx for better performance. Over the years, I’d mess around with the theme, add some content, write about some stuff. Not too long ago, I started using Cloudflare and switched the site to AWS for two reasons. One, this is a personal site that doesn’t get much traffic to need to be run off a VPS. Two, AWS is cheaper per month. I can run this site as is on the free plan for the next year using EC2 and RDS with worry-free backups.

Now, for the last few months, I’ve been teaching myself Ruby, Javascript, and HTML/CSS from a responsive design approach. I already had a fair amount of experience with Java so picking up Ruby was pretty easy. I picked Ruby mainly because I’ve been doing a lot of work with Bike Index and would like to be able to contribute more. On top of this, the project’s creator and lead developer has encouraged me to help build up another one of their projects called Bikewise and offered to review my PRs, which puts me in a unique position to get some good experience with Ruby/Rails and hopefully move into a development job in the future from it.

Anyways, since Jekyll is written in Ruby, it makes for a good framework to use. Jekyll is meant to be used to create static sites and blogs, exactly what I’m looking to do. Even better, I can easily migrate all my existing content from this site into Jekyll, preserve most of the metadata, and even include the Disqus comments. It uses Markdown formatted templates and spits out pretty sites ready to be deployed to a remote server. I’ll probably host it on GitHub Pages initially because it’s free and like I said previously, I don’t get much traffic. I have some concerns over some free speech restrictions written into their terms of service, but I get the impression that they were put in with good intentions. In the rare chance that ever became an issue, I can migrate the static content to S3 for less than $5 a month.

With all that said, I’ve already started working on this. Half the battle is coming up with a good site layout. I’ve been looking at writing my own, but the reality is that I’m a terrible designer with limited experience. I’m good at recognizing what looks good, but I have a hard time creating a site from scratch that looks good in a reasonable amount of time. Odds are I’m going to end up using an existing RD framework like Bootcamp or Propeller. The other half is becoming familiar with the Jekyll templates and syntax, but that’ll get easier over time. Rest assured, I’m doing a lot of testing first to make sure links don’t break if and when I make the switch. I’m hoping to have it pushed out by June, but this isn’t a high priority for me. In any case, expect the site to look a little different in the near future.