The Vegan Militia

... because we are all made out of meat!

The Vegan Militia 3.0

2015/05/15

Welcome to my reworked blog. This will mark the third incarnation of this blog. There was a short-lived Drupal based site, then I set up Wordpress 6 years ago.

So what’s that you say? It sounded like you said “so what”, but I know you really meant “how come?”

About a month ago I get an email from the good people at Laughing Squid informed me that I had vastly outstripped my compute cycle quota. I thought this was rather surprising given that few people ever read this blog, let alone comment. There had been a number of attempts by spammers to post comments on the site, but, at worst there were only a dozen or so a day.

My first thought was that someone had broken in and uploaded their own PHP to use my compute cycles for their nefarious purposes (this happened several years ago). But several searches for such things turned up nothing. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine what is consuming the compute cycles, or at least I presume so, as my repeated questions about this went unanswered. Furthermore the apache logs are not provided in real-time nor is the compute cycle accounting, so it was going to take a lot of guesswork to fix this. Poking through the apache logs revealed that thousands of hits every day (99% of my traffic) was to wp-login.php. The only logical conclusion was that somebody was trying to break in, and, in the process, caused wp-login.php to consume a lot of compute cycles encrypting bogus passwords. I tried a plugin to block repeated attempts, but didn’t help all that much (it reduced compute cycles by 50% where my goal was 99%). So, I tried the brute-force method, I renamed the login script so that all such attempts would be immediately refused. Viola! Everything went back to normal.

Now all of this started to make me think: why am I bothering with Wordpress? What does it give me? It lets me edit upcoming posts from anywhere on the internet (though I have rarely taken advantage of that). It lets people comment on my posts (the number of times that has happened can be counted on one hand). But the downside is that I now have to monitor the version of Wordpress and keep updating it to keep up with security fixes (failing to do that several years back earned me a break-in). I have to monitor the comments queue and reject spam. Wordpress uses up a lot of disk space, MySQL is a hassle to maintain, and people with nefarious intent can easily create havok by running me over my quotas. And on top of that there are no tools for diagnosing when this happens.

So, it wasn’t worth it. Static html doesn’t use compute cycles or can it be hacked. I started looking into static blog generators. I had considered Bloxsom many years earlier before settling on Wordpress. Sadly it hasn’t been updated since then, and it seemed that it was going to take a fair bit of programming to get it to do what I wanted. I then looked at various scripts to use Org-Mode files (which I use every day at work) to publish my blog; I tried three of them, but none of them worked: two would not compile and the third one failed later on. So, I had to search anew. I turned up Jekyll and Hugo. I goofed around with both, and I concluded both would require similar levels of effort, but on the list of languages I want to learn, Go is ahead of Ruby, so I went with Hugo.

So here we are. The site is missing a lot of things, but I’ll gradually work on adding them. If you have any experience with Hugo or any other advice to share, let me know.

programming web hugo wordpress golang html