Setting up a blog on S3 with a Namecheap domain
Today, I set up my first domain: eric-hu.io. It’s a little crazy to me that I’ve been working in web development for several years and yet this is the first time I’ve done this. I’m a bit humbled to see just how diverse the technical responsibilities for this field can be.
I bought the domain a few days ago on Namecheap. They were the cheapest of several registrars. I didn’t bother checking GoDaddy because of their past support of SOPA and PIPA. They pulled support after boycotts, but that didn’t erase my impression of them.
Back to Namecheap, the experience was largely a positive one. The purchase went smoothly. They were one of the few sites to offer domains on the .io suffix, though they offer restricted ability to change information for said domain. I would have liked to set up a P.O. mailing address–which is still possible, but may require snail mail to update the registration info.
It wasn’t too painful with the help of a couple of resources:
I won’t try to recap too much of their blog posts, since they were great standalone. If you’re trying to do this, I suggest reading the above posts. I’ll just add a few of my observations.
Namecheap DNS or Route53?
- Namecheap DNS is free
- Route53 is $0.50 per million requests
- Namecheap’s free DNS was DDOS-ed within the last year
- Route53 is far more used among the 100k most trafficked sites
- I started with Namecheap first (using Tommy Chheng’s guide). After setting it up, the new DNS entry still wasn’t in effect after a couple of hours. In the mean time, I did some reading about Namecheap vs Route 53 as a DNS.
- In practice, Route53 took under 5 minutes to take effect. I consider that another plus.
- Bottom line to me: I spend maybe 50 cents and get faster and more reliable DNS resolution for my site.
Static Site Setup
- in S3
- create two buckets
- www and raw top level domain
- choose one to be the primary and the other to redirect
- for SEO purposes
- redirection between www and naked TLD is done via S3 properties
- a little confusing to me that it’s not Route53, something about how “A” DNS entries can’t point to another domain
- I chose www to be the primary
- this is not a dot com domain, so it’s a little more ambiguous and the www disambiguates
- there are other reasons that would matter more to a large enterprise, but don’t matter to me
- in Route53
- quick and painless, following Pixelcog’s blog
- I excitedly showed my friend working at a VA hospital what I had set up. To my surprise, my .io URL was blocked by their firewall rules, but my full s3 website URL wasn’t.
- While I was creating a new S3 bucket, Amazon pestered me to set up users or roles to access the new bucket, instead of using keys tied to my (Amazon) root user. I created a user and access group, though in retrospect, a user would have been sufficient. This ended up taking 5 minutes, and I’m now less liable in the event that access credentials for pushing the blog are compromised.