Many of you, guys, probably visited my website just for few seconds. You realized that load time is just too high. And you left. Probably none of you is reading this article right now. Because competition is just one click away.
The speed of my site was seriously pissing me off. So I started googling. After a while, I realized that I don’t even need most of the features that Wordpress is offering. So I found a very promising alternative. Jekyll.
Meet Jekyll – static site generator
Jekyll’s philosophy sounds like a fairy tale: > Jekyll does what you tell it to do - no more, no less. It doesn’t try to outsmart users by making bold assumptions, nor does it burden them with needless complexity and configuration. Put simply, Jekyll gets out of your way and allows you to concentrate on what truly matters: your content.
I immediately knew that this is it. So I started googling some more and I quickly realized, that setting up a site takes just a few minutes. It is probably true, if you know what you are doing. But I was trying to set up the Ruby enviroment on my desktop and it just didn’t work.
In fact, you don’t even need to be a developer to use Jekyll. I am not gonna lie. It is slighly more complicated, compared to Wordpress. But I still think it is worth the effort. Because its speed and simplicity just overpower everything else.
Free hosting with GitHub
One of the big advantages of using Jekyll, is that it is directly connected with GitHub. Which means, that you have a hosting solution for free. The speed is as fast as lightning.
Hosting comes with 1 GB of free space. So, there is plenty of it even for the pictures.
Just imagine. No more paying for the hosting. Ever. Just few bucks a year for your domain name. That is it. This is great for the start. As soon as your blog starts making money, you can move to paid hosting.
Make your site as speed as lightning
There is this saying: Everything popular is wrong. It makes perfect sense. Because when something becomes popular, people want it just because it is popular. Sure, it must be popular for a reason. But from a certain point, this is not what matters for people.
Currently about 25 % of all sites are running Wordpress.
There is only one thing that is pissing me off. And that is the speed. Even without plugins. Even plain installation of Wordpress is slow as fuck.
I know, it is free. So I should be grateful. But I will not be. Because even basic installation comes with a lot of useless shit.
There must be some way how to make it faster. But come oooon, I don’t want to spend my time/money on that. If something is simply not good in its basic version, I don’t see a point of doing anything about it.
I feel really angry right now. Because I have been using Wordpress for many years. And I didn’t realize how slow my sites were. And I am grateful that I found an alternative.
Maybe, this article will make you think about speed of your site, too.
When I was using Wordpress, my site was loading for few seconds. And that is a lot for a tiny blog. Unfortunately, I don’t have a statistic for this. But anyway, let’s look at the speed now:
Tested from Stockholm’s server: https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/I9Zvo/vili.am
Tested from New York’s server: https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/emiRAR/vili.am
Tested from Melbourne’s server: https://tools.pingdom.com/#!/n20sX/vili.am
As you can see, results are outstanding. Melbourne is a little bit slower, because I think that CloudFlare doesn’t have servers in Australia. More on CloudFlare later. But, I can tell you, that it will make your site even faster.
Google has its own service for optimizing the performance of a website, too. It is called PageSpeed insights. Here are the results.
Results for desktop: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?url=vili.am&tab=desktop
Results for mobile: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?url=vili.am&tab=mobile
As you see, very good results once again. Mobile: 82/100 and desktop: 94/100. There is still some work to be done. Especially for mobile users. I am on it. No worries. It is gonna get better very soon.
Imagine, that your site would load fast for everybody. All around the world
I was dreaming about this for a long time. And I always thought, that it would be unbelievably expensive.
Boy, I was wrong. You can use this service called CloudFlare. It is absolutely for free! Yes. Let me explain what it does. Name of this service is: Global Content Delivery Network (CDN) Service.
Sounds pretty complicated, right? My good friend explained me what it does. So I hope I will get it right.
Here we go. Imagine, that content of your site is stored on many servers around the world. Your content is stored there, so that the users can reach your site faster.
Very good example of this is: Google. You will always get the version which is the most relevant for you. And also, it will get you connected to the closest server.
Now, picture this, if you have enough servers like this around the world, it is a huge advantage. Especially, if you are having an international traffic from all around the world. Which is my goal, too.
I want to make my web reachable for everybody. With the same speed. And I think I am on a good way. Thing is, that I know how annoyed I feel when the sites I wanna visit are taking forever to load. So, I don‘t want you to experience the same negative feeling.
Also, I am well aware of the fact, that competition is just one click away. Cause I am the same as you. I don’t wanna wait.
Make your site secure for free
You are probably familiar with this. Some sites have so called SSL connection. Which makes them safer. Usually, you will see it in the address bar up there. On the left side.
It is important to have this for many reasons. One of them is, that you can feel safer, if the site has it. Over the past years, it has become quite trendy. I discovered it just recently. Also, I realized that even Google will rank you higher when you have this.
Solution comes right here. CloudFlare provides free SSL certificate. They will set it up for you. It is just a matter of one click.
As you see, this site is using SSL connection from CloudFlare, as well. It is a shared connection. Which is good for the start. I mean, it is better than nothing. And I doubt, that many people check the origin of SSL certificate.
As soon as I start making money with this blog, I will definitely buy my own SSL certificate. It is just better. But for now, I am good.
Transition from Wordpress to Jekyll
First of all, I am not a developer. So I don’t feel like I should be giving advice in this field.
But anyway, I found a plenty of useful blogs, which helped along the way.
You can find very detailed guides right here: https://goo.gl/hAFRNU
Jekyll has plenty of themes, plugins and most of all - simplicity
Let’s say it is a light weight version of Wordpress. Very simple. But I bet, that you can create even pretty robust website on it. There is a ton of guides, docs and tutorials. Google might come handy.
As you could notice already, it does not cooperate with database. Which means, that for comments or mails, you gotta use external sources. But that is not a problem at all.
I can’t really tell you anything about plugins, since I have not tried any of them yet. However, installing a theme is pretty easy. There is a ton of them. And if you want something more fancy, it will cost you few bucks. It could be worth it.
Anyway, I want to invest mostly time into this project. That is why I have a free theme on it. As you see, the layout is pretty simple and elegant.
I just forked this theme to my web. I would say it is something like ctrl+c and ctrl+v. Basically, you find a theme, that you like, then you copy + paste it. And you can customize it according to your needs and desires.