Secure Hugo (a tech talk)

The past couple years have been rough1. Among other things, I haven’t posted much. There were two reasons. First, I didn’t feel up to it. Second, and more importantly, my site setup has been getting in the way.

I’ve built this site several ways over the years. Going all the way back, I hand coded it in HTML and then ASP followed by PHP. Moving on to Blogger and Wordpress before finally moving to Jekyll2 (where it’s been since 2012).

Jekyll has been pretty great. It was my first move back to a “static site” since the original hand coding days of the ’90s. Unfortunately, it’s slow to use, taking 20-30 seconds to rebuild the site every time I make a change. There have been some optimizations that have made that faster, but it’s never been speedy.

Enter Hugo3. It’s another static site engine, but it’s designed from the ground up for speed. The runs are super fast. An initial build of my 900+ pages takes less than two seconds.

                       |  EN
      Pages            |  922
      Paginator pages  |  193
      Non-page files   |  210
      Static files     |    4
      Processed images | 1050
      Aliases          |  883
      Sitemaps         |    1
      Cleaned          |    0

    Total in 1513 ms

Even better, when I make changes, it rebuilds in less than half a second and automatically refreshes the preview page in my browser. It’s really, really nice. That means I can make pages faster. That means I’ll post more. That little bit less friction turns out to make a huge difference. (Of course, so does coming out of depression…)

While moving to Hugo, I made another change. This site is now secured via “HTTPS”. That means you’ll see the little lock icon in the address bar. I don’t have any type of login or sensitive information on my site. In one way, that means it’s not a big deal that my site wasn’t served securely. However, we should all secure our web sites4. So, now I’ve done mine.

I’m super excited about these changes. I expect it’ll get me posting more. Time will tell…

(P.S. There’s going to be some broken formatting and missing images. Some of those have been busted since 2012 when I moved to Jekyll. Some will be new. Time will also tell if I go back to clean those up.)

  1. You know, with having my first manic episode and two years of crippling depression.
  2. Jekyll is a nice little tool, but it’s a little long in the tooth.
  3. Hugo the new hotness. Blazing fast, a built in theme system, and footnotes included (compared to the way I had to hand code them in Jekyll, this is a real bonus).
  4. Direct from the CIO of the U.S. Government: There is no such thing as non-sensitive web traffic. So, we should all make our sites secure.


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