Serve GitHub Pages over HTTPS with Netlify

There’s a soft-spot in my heart for static websites, and it’s hard not to want to host them on Amazon S3 or GitHub Pages. Free and fast is a hard deal to beat! One of the downsides — besides the growing fear I have as the places we go to publish things on our free and open internet are continually consolidated by Amazon, Facebook and the like — is that serving content over HTTPS wasn’t as quick and easy as it otherwise is to get your content up and running on these services.

Previously I’d worked out a routine using GitHub Pages and Cloudflare that was fairly painless, but I’ve found a new arrangement I like better. It’s faster, it’s free, and though I’m almost certain their services are built on-top of Amazon Web Services, it’s nice to bring a new face into the mix!

Netlify is a little hard to describe succinctly, but its a godsend for one-click deployments of mostly static sites with CDN support. The “mostly” part is due to their cool form feature that allows for handling content POST-ed to your otherwise static site via a form. You can receive a simple email notification, access submissions via the API or even connect it to Zapier and go nuts.

Here’s what I did with it just a few hours ago: I’m en route to Bangalore to speak at JSFoo and have been dusting off my slides, demos and the mountain of things I wanted to do related to the topic. One of these things I’d linked to in my slides was a website (midi.mand.is) where people could go to find more information on some of the stuff I’ve spoken about. I’m still cleaning up the demos to make them public, and might use my time here to do that properly, but I had a basic list of links to various WebMIDI resources to get started.

It was a good idea, however, due to my own oversight and DNS misconfiguration the site was never actually up… which I did not realize for a long time… which is disappointing on multiple fronts. On the flight over here, somewhere over the Atlantic south of Greenland via spotty wifi, I decide to fix this. I had it up and running on GitHub pages pretty quickly, but knew I wanted to serve the site over HTTPS but didn’t want to login to Cloudflare and do the usual steps involved there.

So I gave Netlify a shot and it worked great! I changed the DNS records to point to their nameservers and just a few clicks later I had an SSL certificate and was forcing SSL across the site.

I look forward to fleshing out my WebMIDI resource site further and hosting future projects with Netlify.

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