Be fast by staying static

Hamilton, Bermuda

This is the first installment of a multi-issue “arc” on creating and hosting static websites. Today we will focus on the hosting side. If you have a site that consists of only HTML, CSS and JavaScript files, possibly with some images or other simple files then you can find a home for it at one of the providers below.

Are you asking why you would want a site without any dynamic, server side capabilities? Well with today’s modern markup and scripting, you can create entire applications with static files, everything running in the browser. In fact, many ‘single page applications’ are created in this way. You can still access dynamic content and data via API calls, but these are often hosted elsewhere and do interfere with the fast delivery of your files.

And because your files are static, they can usually be cached quite heavily. All of this results in a better experience for your users. The providers below all allow you to host your site files for free using a custom domain name if desired.

Netlify logo or screenshot


Having really improved in the past couple of years, Netlify has elevated themselves to become one of the standards of static hosting. With very generous features available, I cannot imagine any personal project which would need more than the free Netlify Starter plan. And aside from simple hosting, you can hook up a code repository and your site will be automatically built and deployed whenever you push new content. So you don’t need a separate continuous integration service to keep your site up to date. Altogether a very solid service.

GitHub Pages logo or screenshot

GitHub Pages

Powered by a Git repository, GitHub Pages has been a long time favourite of developers, particularly for hosting product pages for hosted projects. Custom domains have been available for some time, but recently they started providing SSL as well—without needing a third party and a tutorial.

Firebase Hosting logo or screenshot

Firebase Hosting

So, Firebase is a real-time database, part of Google’s suite of offerings, but as part of it they provide static site hosting. Custom domain and SSL come for free. As a bonus you can access Cloud Functions and the database from your site as well, so if you have something more that just static content in mind, this is an attractive offer.

Other Static Hosts