At long last, I got around to do something I had been meaning to do for a very long time. I migrated this Wordpress blog over to a statically generated site powered by Hugo.
That's 6 years or over 300 posts worth of content.
Why not stay with Wordpress?
First of all, I wanted to move away from Wordpress because it's heavy and requires quite a bit of setup: PHP, database, plugins and so on. Markdown based static site generators have been around for a while and being able to keep everything in plain text and under a familiar source control system such as Git is awesome.
I use git and Markdown all the time both at home and at work.
Hugo is an open source static site generator written in Go. It's cross-platform and ships as a dependency free binary. Comprehensive documentation, wide range of themes as well as active and helpful community are great additions.
Whilst Jekyll was the more established solution, it required Ruby and I really wanted to keep my environment as simple as possible.
Other alternatives lacked features, support, had a more complex setup or a combination of the former.
We've got a winner!
Exporting Wordpress content
The process went on like this.
- Exported all posts and pages to XML with the standard Wordpress Export tool.
- Used Exitwp to convert content to Markdown.
- Lots of regex search and replace in Sublime.
Back in 2010 I used the WYSIWYG editor in Wordpress and later on I moved to use the Markdown module in Jetpack. The mix really confused Exitwp and required me to do a lot of manual editing and that took quite a while.
Pushing to production
This excellent tutorial proved most useful to get a streamlined publishing pipeline.
Essentially, this involved the following:
- Install Hugo on my production server
- Put the site sources in a local git repository
- Create a git bare repository in the production server
- Add a
post-receivehook on the production repository that runs
hugoand builds the site.
Give the article a proper read if you want to know more. The publish hook also
rsync to back everything up in case something goes amiss.
To create a new post, test it locally and publish it, I simply do:
hugo new post/category/name.md hugo serve --buildDrafts git add content git push prod
So far I love it!
Here are some poor man's stats on loading times for the homepage, mind that I haven't tried to optimized neither of the two.
- Wordpress: ~3.7s
- Hugo: ~2.1s
Please, let me know if you find anything broken, I would really appreciate it!