For those who don’t know me, my name is Veronica, and I am a nerd. Specifically, I am currently working as a freelance Linux sysadmin and COBOL developer (I do a bit of web tech as well). I recently started a YouTube channel that’s been a lot of fun- I’ve been called “Linux mom” on a few occasions. Before I was in tech, I worked as a professional musician, and it was a blast.
Anywho, first posts are boring, but I figured I should make this one count. Without further ado, here’s how I decided on this blog’s technical stack:
Static vs WordPress
This was my biggest dilemma in getting started. I’m a big believer in static sites- I use hooks to generate static HTML content for clients frequently (yes, even from COBOL), and so creating a blog using an SSG seemed natural. However, I decided to go with WordPress.
Why WordPress? Simply put: I need a storefront for my channel merch, and I knew I wanted to self host it. That only leaves a few good options, and WordPress+WooCommerce is reasonably stable for my tastes. I don’t know enough about Drupal to feel comfortable deploying it in production, but it’s an option I’d consider learning about if I were just starting out again.
I reserve the right to change all of this in the future, but right now, this WordPress site is snappy enough for what I’m imagining.
This was the next big hurdle. I love Ubuntu, openSUSE, and the RHELclones for web servers. But, I wanted to implement caching to improve the performance of WordPress, and I’m more confident doing that in Nginx. Simple fact is, I just have a ton more experience using Nginx on Debian.
I don’t know what it is about Debian and Nginx for me, but I guess I’ve just gotten used to tuning it. The whole process always goes faster for me in Debian than anything else.
Ubuntu has pretty good Nginx performance too, but the update schedule is a lot to handle. For my little blog and merch store, I didn’t want to put much thought into it.
I often use GeneratePress for a theme to start with. I’ve done a few custom from-scratch themes on WordPress, but my PHP has grown rusty since I picked up COBOL work. I decided to skip the custom theme for this build and just go with GeneratePress, which is really snappy.
It has this neat “elements” feature which lets you inject HTML/CSS/JS into hooks on a per-page basis: that’s how I was able to override the theme on the front page of this site. This is also super clever when adding extra CSS blips into navigation, blog posts, etc.
It’s a reasonably performant theme, as far as themes go. Even so, I’m a fan of “less code”, so I might end up building a theme for this site someday (if I get caught up on PHP8 after WordPress does).
In any case, if you’re starting up a blog of your own, I can’t recommend GeneratePress enough.
Now that it’s all set up and going live, I’m pretty satisfied. Shoot me a tweet if you want to know more about how I set this up- maybe I’ll do a video about it.