Free Hosting for Static Websites

In addition to my blog, I have a couple of static webpages that I host at Minchin.ca. Sadly, they’ve been a little neglected of late, but I’ve enjoyed being able to put a few pages and play around with HTML. Since I don’t run any ads on them, or run a business from them, I’ve trying to avoid having to pay for hosting. In the almost 5 years they’ve been online, I’ve managed to find a place to host them for free: first at Google Pages, and then at Microsoft Office Small Business. Google closed Pages in 2009 and Microsoft’s offering will start charging for hosting the end of next month. So I’ve been looking for a new place to host them. Today I completed the move to GitHub!

Github offers hosting for static webpages for free. I think the idea is to provide developers and programmers a space to showcase their open source programming projects, but you can use it from other personal websites too. To get up and running with GitHub:

  1. Create a user account on GitHub.
  2. If you’re not familiar with Git, read through the GitHub Help pages. This will walk you through installing any software you might need to work with GitHub.
  3. Create a repository named {your_username}.github.com
  4. Push the static files of your website to your new repository.
    1. Your page will go live at http://{your_username}.github.io
    2. If you want to use a different web address (and you own the domain), include a file called CNAME that lists that other web address in your repository. You will also need to create a A record for that domain pointing to 192.30.252.153 and 192.30.252.154 (Get your domain name registrar to help you with that one).
  5. You might have to wait 10 minutes for it to go live…
  6. You have a free website!

While I admit that using GitHub might seem a little involved, it is rather simple (for web hosting), it works, and it’s free! And I think they’ll continue to host my page for the foreseeable future. If you get stuck, GitHub has a good introduction to GitHub Pages.


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