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Old 4 Feb 2016, 08:19 PM   #1
mekitron
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Question FastMail as Webhost

Hi budds,

This discussion titles seems a bit weird, ain't? Anyway, I am curious about FM's simple website hosting? I know, FM doesn't support server side scripting. Does it mean, if I a use a static site generator and it will work out of box? Suppose, I generate a static website using Jekyll and upload "files and folders" to Files, will it work?

Many thanks.
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Old 5 Feb 2016, 10:18 AM   #2
ioneja
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Not weird at all... FM's simple website hosting is, in my view, one of its secret weapons that people don't appreciate nearly enough. It is extremely limited compared to most hosting, so most people will just walk on by and not notice or care what it does. BUT, as for simple flat file hosting, it rocks... and the reason is because it is super stable and super fast. You are being put on an excellent quality server with superb network connectivity and bandwidth, and it will crank out flat file pages faster than anything in its price range.

So yes, you could build a static website and it will rock and roll. However, you will not get normal stats, and there are bandwidth and file limits you need to look at carefully to ensure that your design doesn't hit the ceiling. Obviously, FM engineers have balanced the system to prioritize the email service, and they have an interesting throttling algorithm so people can't overload FM's servers. Other than that, it will knock the socks off any comparable shared hosting in terms of performance. Also, the DNS service works well too, so it's easy to add a domain and get up and running. It's best suited to things that are simple IMO and you have to learn the ropes... but if you can stay within the limitations, it is a killer bonus feature of an FM account, and one of the reasons why I continue to be a customer. Good luck!


Quote:
Originally Posted by mekitron View Post
Hi budds,

This discussion titles seems a bit weird, ain't? Anyway, I am curious about FM's simple website hosting? I know, FM doesn't support server side scripting. Does it mean, if I a use a static site generator and it will work out of box? Suppose, I generate a static website using Jekyll and upload "files and folders" to Files, will it work?

Many thanks.
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Old 5 Feb 2016, 12:51 PM   #3
David
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ioneja View Post
Not weird at all... FM's simple website hosting is, in my view, one of its secret weapons that people don't appreciate nearly enough. It is extremely limited compared to most hosting, so most people will just walk on by and not notice or care what it does. BUT, as for simple flat file hosting, it rocks...
Thanks for that ioneja: I have been contemplating upgrading my account for some time (in order to create a basic website) but have been holding off as my HTML skills are still weak; your post has encouraged me to hit the books
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Old 5 Feb 2016, 01:30 PM   #4
ioneja
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
Thanks for that ioneja: I have been contemplating upgrading my account for some time (in order to create a basic website) but have been holding off as my HTML skills are still weak; your post has encouraged me to hit the books
Have fun with it! For the price, you can't go wrong. Also, FM is really good about upgrading/downgrading (at least the last time I tried it), so if you end up not using it, you can downgrade, and FM will give you a pro-rated credit that can be used to buy other services at FM. (i.e.: You won't get a refund to your credit card, but you will have a balance at FM to use for renewals or other upgrades, etc.)

In my testing, I couldn't get this kind of static file performance from services that cost a lot more. Again, the downsides are that it is very limited (static/flat only), the log/usage data is nonstandard, and you have unusual throttling caps (which are actually pretty generous depending on the level of upgrade, so don't worry too much about that).

Bottom line if the downsides are okay for you = NO BRAINER. :-) Just do it.
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Old 5 Feb 2016, 03:44 PM   #5
FredOnline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
I have been contemplating upgrading my account for some time (in order to create a basic website) but have been holding off as my HTML skills are still weak
I would recommend Google Sites to set up a simple web site - they have templates to get you started, and you can also manually enter HTML code to get a great result.

You can also map your own domain name to a Google Sites web site.

Also, important nowadays - just check/tick a box, and your site is optimised for small (ie; phones) screens.

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Originally Posted by ioneja View Post
Have fun with it! For the price, you can't go wrong.
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Old 5 Feb 2016, 10:01 PM   #6
ioneja
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I would recommend Google Sites to set up a simple web site
Google Sites is indeed a good tool for many situations, but it definitely won't let you take full control of your website structure, of all files and use the unaltered HTML pages you create in relation to those files/structures. In other words, it's pretty much useless for static/flat file hosting. Other than that, it's pretty cool.

As of the last time I checked, it only allows you to add snippets of HTML to their existing templates, as well as adding larger chunks of HTML to an "HTML box" -- both of which are incredibly limited. Technically you can upload HTML files but those will actually be presented as download links, which is probably not what you intend to do with them. :-) You can't fully control the output, it's essentially filtered and more or less sandboxed -- it's basically embedded within whatever template you've selected. So your website visitor will get the template plus your HTML code and stuff you may not have ever wanted them to get.

Those limitations might be just fine for someone of course, so definitely consider it if you don't mind that! Those limitations may seem problematic, but for some people they are advantages since Google Sites can do a whole bunch of other cool things... those templates have some nice features.

Comparatively, FM's simple hosting is utterly different in the kinds of limitations that it has -- but it for sure doesn't limit you as to what static files you can host, and it doesn't alter/filter/encapsulate/embed your files in any way. FM's service will serve exactly the files you post to the website visitor. There are no templates... there are no sandboxed HTML boxes... there is no Google-embedded stuff (or FM-embedded stuff) on the page AT ALL (although to be 100% accurate, FM does have a few nice OPTIONS that you can enable like a simple photo gallery and file upload feature... but those are ultra simple and are *disabled* by default). So it's basically just a static file hosting service, nothing more, nothing less. You create the HTML or other files, and FM will serve them up as-is, exactly as you created them.
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Old 5 Feb 2016, 10:19 PM   #7
FredOnline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ioneja View Post
Google Sites is indeed a good tool for many situations, but it definitely won't let you take full control of your website structure, of all files and use the unaltered HTML pages you create in relation to those files/structures. In other words, it's pretty much useless for static/flat file hosting. Other than that, it's pretty cool.

As of the last time I checked, it only allows you to add snippets of HTML to their existing templates, as well as adding larger chunks of HTML to an "HTML box" -- both of which are incredibly limited. Technically you can upload HTML files but those will actually be presented as download links, which is probably not what you intend to do with them. :-) You can't fully control the output, it's essentially filtered and more or less sandboxed -- it's basically embedded within whatever template you've selected. So your website visitor will get the template plus your HTML code and stuff you may not have ever wanted them to get.
I would take issue with some of that, as I have considerable experience in creating Google Sites in recent years.

Up to you, though - I doubt I'll lose much sleep over it.
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Old 5 Feb 2016, 10:30 PM   #8
ioneja
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I would take issue with some of that, as I have considerable experience in creating Google Sites in recent years
Hi Fred,

Certainly not to be argumentative, I'm always interested in developments in these areas. Can you explain where I'm incorrect about my statement? To be clear on my statement, I also mentioned "As of the last time I checked..." so if something has changed at Google, I'm definitely all ears.

A test of course is simply to post the HTML in question on any web hosting service, then load it up as a website visitor would see it, and then check the "view source" option of the web browser and see if there's anything extra that the web hosting service added to your HTML. Sometimes it's subtle, sometimes it's a massive amount of stuff, templates, CSS, tracking tags, ads, etc...

Google sites adds all sorts of stuff to the output of course since it's embedded in their template engine. FM adds nothing. Again, that's not a criticism, since they're useful for different tasks. Google Sites doesn't pretend to be a static/flat hosting service so there's nothing misrepresented either.

Also in reference to the OP, the question was asked, "Does it mean, if I a use a static site generator and it will work out of box?" -- The answer with FM is technically YES (although he may have to configure the built-in FTP client, but that's not a function of whether or not static HTML will work as-is). With Google Sites, the answer would be NO.
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Old 6 Feb 2016, 12:30 AM   #9
mekitron
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Cool You missed the Jekyll part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ioneja View Post
but if you can stay within the limitations, it is a killer bonus feature of an FM account
Actually, I host my family site with FM. Recently, I started thinking to host my personal (static) blog with FM so I am curious if Jekyll (or any other static website generator's) generated files would work or not. I have done it, and it seems not working. Probably because Jekyll needs ryby gems on server to run static files.

Correct me if I am wrong?
Quote:
as for simple flat file hosting
If I export my blog to Grav (a flat file CMS) it might still not work because Grav needs PHP to run flat files/folders. I think, I have to come up something with HTML, CSS and JS only. No doubt, these technologies are extremely functional to have a "good" personal website/static-blog but what else I can run? Any options?
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Old 6 Feb 2016, 12:34 AM   #10
mekitron
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Thumbs up Do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David View Post
I have been contemplating upgrading my account for some time (in order to create a basic website)
Do it. You wouldn't regret. By the way, if you only use HTML and CSS in your website, you can still get more than a basic website.
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Old 6 Feb 2016, 12:51 AM   #11
mekitron
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by ioneja View Post
Again, the downsides are that it is very limited (static/flat only), the log/usage data is nonstandard, and you have unusual throttling caps (which are actually pretty generous depending on the level of upgrade, so don't worry too much about that).
To be practical, if someone's website is a portfolio or a blog where blogger posts occasionally then no matter what kind of FM package you use, it'll fit. On a family account, using your own domain and lite package, you can build a static website which will be capable to beat any other static website hosted by any of the best platform.

Honestly, I have used number of hosts. I used student to professional plans. No matter what they claimed, I ended-up using just few dozens of MBs at all. Truly, if you do not run transactions "within" your website then just host with FM without worrying about space and throttling.

My problem is setting up a blog and I want my time to be less consumed.
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Old 6 Feb 2016, 12:54 AM   #12
mekitron
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Red face Google Goggles.

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Originally Posted by FredOnline View Post
I would recommend Google Sites
What are you recommending! Google doesn't work on my computer at all. I wouldn't be able to visit David's website.
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Old 6 Feb 2016, 01:08 AM   #13
mekitron
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HTML is not that hard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FredOnline View Post

Up to you, though - I doubt I'll lose much sleep over it.
You can use any other website builders to create a website then point your DNS there. It'll work flawlessly.

But to use FM file hosting as a website hosting, user has to create a website from scratches; HTML is not that hard to code a basic website. Everyone can paint a website using CSS these days.
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Old 6 Feb 2016, 01:08 AM   #14
ioneja
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekitron View Post
Actually, I host my family site with FM. Recently, I started thinking to host my personal (static) blog with FM so I am curious if Jekyll (or any other static website generator's) generated files would work or not. I have done it, and it seems not working. Probably because Jekyll needs ryby gems on server to run static files.

Correct me if I am wrong?

If I export my blog to Grav (a flat file CMS) it might still not work because Grav needs PHP to run flat files/folders. I think, I have to come up something with HTML, CSS and JS only. No doubt, these technologies are extremely functional to have a "good" personal website/static-blog but what else I can run? Any options?
So your OP mentioned "I know, FM doesn't support server side scripting," etc., and you were going to post a "static" site, which means there's no Ruby, no PHP, no Perl, no database server needed, no server-side scripts, nothing that runs on the server itself. When you host a "static" site, that's all it's doing... just hosting the exported static HTML + CSS files ONLY, nothing else.

I'm not familiar with Jekyll but I just assumed "static" meant truly "static" -- but I probably should have looked up Jekyll to help clarify better. Taking a brief look at it now, it seems like you should still theoretically be able to host the static HTML output of Jekyll... just *not* the scripts that actually generate the output!

This is the same as if you were trying to host a static site created in Dreamweaver. Obviously, you couldn't run Dreamweaver on FM.... just host the exported site.

Jekyll itself appears to be a fairly complex (and pretty cool) program... but it is a program/series of scripts... and FM can't host the program/scripts itself... just the static output of it.

Jekyll's requirements: http://jekyllrb.com/docs/installation/

That's for the Jekyll scripts... so you need a working environment that will handle all that. You could use a service like Linode to set up an environment to run the Jekyll scripts. Or you could install Ubuntu on your computer as your working development platform, then install the Jekyll scripts... or it looks like you could even install Jekyll on Windows with some work. In any case, you need the development environment, which is separate from the hosting environment.

You then build the site with Jekyll (which seems pretty impressive in terms of capabilities that Jekyll offers)...

Then you *deploy* the site: http://jekyllrb.com/docs/deployment-methods/

So you should *theoretically* be able to use FM as a deployment target, which will then host and serve the final HTML files to the public.

That's from my quick pass reading of the Jekyll site. I could be missing something obvious which may make FM impossible to use. Apologies if I missed some other step in the process.

In any case, as for hosting static sites on FM, I do it all the time -- and use a variety of tools (such as Dreamweaver) -- and the output -- that is, HTML, CSS -- can be hosted just fine.

Hope that helps a little. Please let us know if you find out anything else!
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Old 6 Feb 2016, 01:12 AM   #15
mekitron
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Question

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Originally Posted by ioneja View Post

Also in reference to the OP, the question was asked, "Does it mean, if I use a static site generator and it will work out of box?" -- The answer with FM is technically YES (although he may have to configure the built-in FTP client, but that's not a function of whether or not static HTML will work as-is). With Google Sites, the answer would be NO.
Applaud...

May I know, what does "OP" means here?
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