How I set this website up, for free

tldr; Hugo + Github + AWS Amplify. Easy peasy. total time: 1 hour (mostly spent writing content)

Some parameters:

  • free templates. I’m no designer
  • static web asset output is fine. I’m not building a backend (yet)
    • but having the option to do so is a bonus
  • this project should be as low effort as possible
    • so; no html / css / js where possible
    • also; automated deploys on push to $branch
      • ideally I don’t need to maintain ci to do this. lowest poss. effort
  • as cheap to host as possible. free, ideally

In summary I want to only write page content. No code. No pipelines. No buttons to click. But I still want uri’s, the abililty to render rich media and a pretty template that I need to do nothing with. And I’d like to not pay for any of it.

static web files

I’ve heard about Hugo for years but never had the opportunity to try it out and knew from the criteria I had that it should solve getting me the static assets quickly. Even if it didn’t turn out to be the right tool, I knew experimentation would be cheap.

Install was super easy:

I then jumped over to

This quick start guide felt like all I’d need so I went searching for a theme. The power of search engines brought me to The tags on the right of this page helped me find the terminal theme quickly ( which reminded me of my old i3 + polybar configuration. MIT licensed too. Bingo.

A few hugo new posts/ and hugo new’s later and I had my static website files. I opted to bake the theme into the repo so that I could mutate the files. Created a new repository ( and threw my files there for safe keeping. Now I just needed somewhere to host it.

a search for cheap hosting solutions

The most obvious route was github pages but I wanted to look at other options which offered some extra features should I need them in the future.

A quick look around lead me to AWS Amplify - a service I admittedly hadn’t heard of before. A quick look over the marketing material ( looked like it was interesting; Lambda, API Gateway, Dynamo DB - all things that pluck on my cheap-skate heart strings. Pricing:

I’m no Madonna - I think my personal website is probably a safe bet to do “free tier” numbers (<500k req.|15Gb egress|100Gb req. duration per month).

I logged into my personal AWS account, went through the little Amplify setup wizard, pointed it to my github repo, updated my DNS records to whatever the wizard was telling me to and voila - is up and running.