CI/CD Hosting on the Cheap: Part I

Low- or no-cost hosting for your startup

JR Morgan

2 minute read


Hosting costs have come down a lot, but cheap and expensive providers alike require administration using pretty lame cPanel hosting controls. Sure, you could run your own instance on AWS, GCE, or Azure, but then you’re introducing the overhead of patching, monitoring, and cost analysis – that last one is paticularly important if your site starts receiving increased traffic. If you can replace your commercial hosting provider with a combination of free solutions, why wouldn’t you?

The Reality

There’s a little more of a learning curve when you start pursuing a free solution for hosting. You will now need to independently manage:

  • DNS
  • Email
  • Collaborative Tools (e.g. Calendar, Notes, etc.)
  • Version Control System (as a tenant)
  • Web content
  • CI/CD Pipelines

Database management was intentionally omitted. This topic will cover hosting using static site generators (e.g. Jekyll, Hugo, Hexo, etc.) for speed, security, and simplicity.

The Prerequisites

The only thing you absolutely must have to move forward with low- or no-cost hosting: a registered domain name

The Tools

Now the fun part. What will you need?

  • CloudFlare
    • What it provides:
      • DNS
      • Caching & Proxying
      • Security & Cryptography
  • Zoho
    • What it provides:
      • Email (free for 25 users)
      • Calendaring
      • Task Management
      • Group Collaboration
      • Bug Tracking (free for 1 project & 5 users)
  • GitLab
    • What it provides:
      • VCS (git)
      • Issue Tracking
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