Yes! this is a Jekyll driven static website. I switched to Jekyll, but why? There are 3 main reasons I did this. Well 4 reasons really. But the forth reason might not apply to the average person or blogger.
Jekyll is Fast
What I mean by that is Jekyll is a static website builder. A static website is much faster than a dynamic one. WordPress is dynamic, meaning it rides on a database and uses a lot of computing power to generate dynamic pages. In the most basic sense a dynamic page doesn’t exist until someone visits it. At that time WordPress and the database kick to life and build the page and send it to the visitor.
Dynamic sites have their place, but the reality is most bloggers and websites really don’t need it. In the real world the average person or company isn’t as popular or feature rich as FaceBook, no matter how much we’d like that to be true.
So lets just get the stuff we need and drop the rest. Doing so will speed up the loading of your website. In most cases simpler is faster.
Jekyll is Simpler
Lets be honest, neither Jekyll nor WordPress are really that simple. As with all websites most of the work goes into the initial development. In that area WordPress and Jekyll are fairly equal, I would even say Jekyll is a bit simpler.
Beyond all the technical crap the bottom line is once the site is built the Jekyll site is far simpler. There are no plugins to update. There isn’t a CMS to keep up to date. You do not have to deal with an updated plugin that conflicts with the CMS, or another plugin. Or my favorite head ache, the unsupported plugin. Unsupported plugins can send you scrambling for a replacement, they can also be a huge security risk.
Jekyll is Safer
I don’t want to get overly technical here, but there are 3 main reasons why WordPress is not very secure. The first is because it uses server-side scripts, in the PHP language. These use whats called URL parameters to control the database (MySQL). Hackers can use whats called a SQL injection attacks to get sensitive database information. Once they have that they can hijack the site and change or replace your content.
The second reason WordPress is not secure has to do with themes and plugins. You can get free themes or paid themes, same with plugins. Sometimes these themes or plugins have errors that leave a security hole in your website. Because they are easy to get and install most people will have no idea there is a security problem, the developer might not even know it. Because of the massive number of people using WordPress it has become fertile ground for unscrupulous developers to add malware into their themes and plugins.
The main problem with WordPress is You!
The last reason I think WordPress is not secure is you! And to be fare, me as well. We are human and busy humans at that. It is natural for us to let things get a bit out of date, fall behind, not keep on top of things. This can be a huge problem when dealing with WordPress. Failing to keep WordPress up-to-date can leave you vulnerable to attacks.
This goes back to the simplicity problem. Many people don’t like updating WordPress or plugins simply because it can cause problems. More times than I’d like to remember my day, or entire weekend, has been ruined by simply updating WordPress. I’ve done more than a few plugin updates that resulted in the dreaded White Screen of Death. For this reason I only do updates when I know I have a block of time that can be dedicated to fixing any possible problems.
People try to avoid problems by not updating. This might seem like a reasonable tactic but it is a ticking time bomb. Updates fix security vulnerabilities. It is just a question of time before an out of date WordPress website is hacked, not if, but when.
Therefore a static website, which is just a collection of simple text files, is safer. There is nothing to hijack. There is nothing to take control of. There is nothing to keep updated. A Jekyll site can be ignored as much as you want and it won’t hurt you. Its the best type of a site for a busy company or person.
Any updates or changes doen to a Jekyll site are always done on a development machine (your home PC) first and not the web server. This allows you to work out any problems before they go live. Sure you could create a local version of your WordPress site, but for the average person that is beyond their technical abilities.
Jekyll Keeps Me Sharp
This reason for using Jekyll over WordPress is very personal and may not apply to everyone. I like doing things manually, I find pleasure in knowing the inner workings of things. I feel I am a better “technologist” if I keep my hand in things. WordPress is fine if you prefer a point and click experience.
I bounce around a lot between graphic design, magazine and book publishing, database management, and server management. Because of this I enjoy the break from my daily grind by getting down and dirty with the command line.
The reason I transitioned away from print, beyond it dying, and into the web was because I enjoyed the feeling of using code to create things that look good and actually do things. WordPress removed a large part of that for me. I found myself spending a lot of time just maintaining the CMS and doing updates.
There it is, my 4 reasons for using Jekyll over WordPress. Oh, wait there is one more, money, and control, okay that is really two more. Clients can run and change a WordPress site without me. Thats not good for my bottom line. A Jekyll site I build for a client will run better, faster, more securely, and the client (most times) has to come to me to make changes and/or additions. It is a Win-Win for everyone.