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Feb 13, 2019 14:42:11

Migrating Off WordPress

by @valentino | 487 words | 273🔥 | 273💌

Valentino Urbano

Current day streak: 273🔥
Total posts: 273💌
Total words: 132759 (531 pages 📄)

Notice: I've migrated my blog off WordPress and into Jekyll a few years ago, but I never wrote much about it. Many of the choices I took would be different if I was going to do the same thing nowadays (mainly which frameworks I would choose).

This is going to be a series on how I migrated my personal website off Wordpress and what you need to do if you want to embark in the same journey.

I had been thinking about doing it for almost 5 years before actually going through with it. I had always been scared of totally breaking the website by migrating it off something well estabilished as WordPress and that I'd been using for years at that point to something less "mainstream". My process looked something like this: I would write each post in markdown in Byword (both on iOS and Mac OSX), convert it to HTML and paste it manually into the WordPress textbox. Doing all of this each time felt a bit too much friction. It wasn't broke, but it surely could have been improved.

Early on I decided that I would want to go for a static site. The content of the site would not change much and it surely wasn't dynamic. I could easily rebuild all the static pages when I published an article.

Static Website using Markdown - What are the options?

Since I've been interested in doing this for years, I've read about and tried locally many markdown static website generators.

This is a comprehensive list of everything I've tried:

- Jekyll - The standard that started the whole movement of static markdown websites.

- Octopress - Opinionated customization of Jekyll built for blogging.

- Second Crack - A hobby project of a developer I follow. It works well, but it should not be used for production use since it doesn't really have a community behind it.

- Hugo - Really fast builds, but lacks plugins and extensibility.

- Ghost - Great look out of the box, needs a VPS.

- Brunch

- Hexo

- Gatsby - Based on React. Great if you're already using React on other project or if you'd like to learn it.

- Gitbook - Super simple to set up and use, but limited in extensibility and customization. Great for documentation, books, and tutorials.

I'm sure I missed many of them, but I feel like these ones are the most used and/or famous. Of all of these, I particularly liked Gatsby, Jekyll, and Ghost.

A few of these solutions (Ghost and Second Crack for example) need either a VPS to build the website or a manual deployment process where you built the website yourself and deploy the generated website to your server.

Nowadays you can use Netlify to automatically run a "cloud function" after each deploy to generate your website and deploy it so it's less of a hassle, but it still not straightforward to setup. I've tried Netlify with both Jekyll and Gatsby and it works well.

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