Static sites are all the rage right now. We've come full circle. Remember the 90's when Geocities was popular? Static site hosting is little like a cutting-edge version of Geocities. I've personally built a few Middleman and Jekyll sites, which prompted me to wonder about static site hosting options.
As you probably know, part of the appeal of static sites is that they're very low overhead. You don't need a LAMP stack, and you don't need to be paying a $15+/month web hosting bill to deploy a simple static site for your project. Static sites are great for things like documentation websites or blogging.
Researching static site web hosts, these were the kinds of criteria I considered:
Without further adieu, here are the best static site hosts.
Github Pages is a favorite among people that like to hack together static sites. It has serious advantages, but it didn't turn out to be the right solution in my particular case.
Amazon Web Services is one way to deploy a static site for free. It's fast, cheap, and reliable.
I personally found that AWS was an unsexy, not-so-user-friendly solution to static site hosting.
If you want to go down this route, here's some further reading:
Pubstorm is a lesser known service that like Github, let's you deploy static sites from the command line. PubStorm is a product from the makers of the Nitrous IDE. It's a fun tool and very easy to use. Once PubStorm is locally installed on your machine, you just need to type:
cd /workspace/myproject Storm init Storm publish
Netlify is one of my favorite products in this space. It boasts some serious features that cater to the static site crowd. Things like static form endpoints, Zapier integration, webhooks, custom redirect rules, prerendering, and prioritized CDN traffic.
One quandary with static sites is you can't just add add a typical server-side, PHP contact form. The workaround is that you can add a form that posts to an external endpoint. I'm talking about free products like Formspree:
<form action="https://firstname.lastname@example.org" method="POST"> <input type="text" name="name"> <input type="email" name="_replyto"> <input type="submit" value="Send"> </form>
However, Netlifly has this functionality baked in. Just add the netlify attribute like so:
<form name="contact" action="thank-you" netlify>
BitBalloon is the one hosting product that I haven't used personally on this list. But that shouldn't deter you because it has some major perks.
DigitalOcean is extremely versatile and not designed specifically for static sites. Nevertheless, it's a great way to host static websites.
You can create a $5 droplet in 30 seconds, which creates a virtual server with 512 MB memory and 20GB SSD storage.
For my project, I created a Ubuntu 16.04.1 x64 droplet to host a few different small static sites. Digital Ocean charges you by the hour in a prorated manner. So if you deploy a $5 droplet and only use it for 15 days, you're only out $2.5. This pricing model is nice for people that like to test the water.
Digital Ocean integrates nicely with IDEs like Cloud9. It's great to have access to the backend to configure things like 301 redirects.