Javier Solis

3 minute read

Big Site Changes

I’ve made quite a few changes to my site. The first thing you’ll notice is the name change. I decided it was time to move away from the Apextier domain name. I originally received the domain from a close friend. My original intent with the site was using Apextier to run a side job for web dev work years ago. I eventually stopped building websites. Apextier sounded cool at the time and became a useful place for my technical blog. I decided that something like LifeNetEng was more personal and appropriate to what my blog is all about. Life of a Network Engineer.

Admin or Engineer

There’s actually lots of debate about what truly classifies an engineer verses an administrator. In some cases, you’re required to have an engineering degree in order to hold such a title. I’ll be straight up. I only have a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Information Systems. However, I think there are definitive differences between a network admin and engineer. When I was an admin I spent lots of time playing in a GUI/CLI, installing and replacing components, managing multi-vendor networking gear, and making sure the network stayed up and running. Now that I’m working for a networking hardware vendor (Extreme Networks) I’m spending time diving into protocols, building network designs, writing code to solve problems, and contributing ideas towards existing and new products. I’ve definitely shifted towards an engineering role. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get to be part of building a switch/router some day.

Farewell to Wordpress

With all this change I also decided to move away from Wordpress. Don’t get me wrong Wordpress is great, but I had security issues in the past and still can’t get some of my code patched due to being on legacy Godaddy hosting services. I decided to check out other options. Being that I’ve had previous experience working with HTML/CSS I decided to move my blog to a purely static configuration.

I started looking at different static site generators which assist in provisioning a sites link structure. I tried Hugo and Jekyll. I choose Hugo as it was a bit easier for me to pick up the syntax. Once you have Hugo installed you can get going by creating a new site and creating new pages with the following two commands:

hugo new site nameofnewsite
cd nameofnewsite
hugo new posts/my-first-post.md

Then you can start the built-in Hugo web server with the following command in your new hugo web directory:

hugo server -D

I also found a nice Hugo theme, did some testing, and started rebuilding my original Apextier blog post content with Hugo.

I also wanted to get away from having to manage web server OS and application level updates. I started digging in my AWS account to see what service offerings were available. One of the simplest ways to host a static site on AWS is by serving your HTML/CSS files from an AWS S3 bucket. You can enable static website hosting from your S3 bucket, copy your files to the bucket, and enable public read access. KISS, keep it stupid simple. I also added AWS Cloudfront in order to serve up https. AWS S3 buckets can’t host secure SSL web services on its own. The final product is now what you see.

I’m completely off Godaddy and am hosting my site on AWS. Not only can I brush up on my HTML/CSS skills, but I’ll also get more hands on experience with AWS. The biggest drawback from moving away from Wordpress is the ease of enabling post comments. I’ll have to do some more research to find an effective method for posting comments using Hugo, but for now I’ll just stick with providing my contact information on public forums such as Twitter and Linkedin.

Until next time,