There comes a time one needs a web page. May it be for work, a project or as personal showcase. After using wordpress for some time, I was looking for a better option to design, maintain and host a personal homepage. On top of that, I wanted a custom domain email - and all of this of course for as little money as possible.
This is a brief overview of the state-of-the-art services I currently use. It’s not meant to be a tutorial as there are already plenty out there.
Your webpage up and running entirely for free
Hugo - free
Hugo is a static site generator, usable as content management system (CMS, technically the counterpart of wordpress). It allows you to configure your theme once in the beginning and then only work with markdown files for new posts or pages.
GitHub - free
GitHub hosts or put simply - saves - all the files hugo generated for your site, such as html, css, js or images.
Netlify - free
Netlify deploys your site, means doing everything related to DNS, name servers and so on. Netlify either assigns you a random domain name, such as https://zen-murdock-7g732gg.netlify.app or uses yours, such as this website http://geo.rocks. It then takes care of rendering the files hosted on github and serves them under your domain, making your site finally available for everyone in the web.
Get your individual domain for less than a dollar
GoDaddy - 1$
GoDaddy recently offers great discounts for the first year of your domain. Some domains can be bought for as little as 89 cents for the first year. The prices of the following years depend upon the domain and the provider. Godaddy is known for these low first year offers whereas the subsequent years become slightly more expensive in comparison to competitors. A standard .com domain for example usually renews at around 20$ per year.
Add your free custom domain email
Zoho - free
Zoho offers a “forever free plan” for up to 5 email adresses with your custom domain. It really is free and is absolutely the right choice for the beginning. The only catch is the missing IMAP/POP3 support in the free version. However, they have a neat browser interface.
Within certain limits like netlify's bandwidth or zoho's five email adresses in the "forever free plan" we get everything except the domain name entirely for free.
So spare yourself a dollar and try it out! 💪