Redesigned, Re-coded & Re-hosted

Finally got my ass in gear and completely re-done my website, the most time consuming and least motivating part was the actual design work. I've been extremely rusty and just couldn't create a design that I really liked. I started with a fresh new copy of CakePHP and starting building the site from scratch with my previous database as a starting point.

I've moved the site hosting away from Dreamhost to Linode, the performance and downtime was something I was really aware of and I also wanted to delve into the unix command line world and learn how to setup a server. Something which I recommend to anyone wanting to improve and learn a new skill relating to Web Development.


With responsive web design the rage I wanted to incorporate it into my latest design, I've done a few sites using the Skeleton framework and made that my first port of call when starting the design. I'm getting more into my typography and wanted to use a few non web safe fonts so I headed over Google Web Fonts to select some fonts. It's very easy to use and I went the webloader route so that I had more control over how the fonts were loaded and a way to solve the "flash of unstyled text" which is quite easy to do

One of the things I really wanted todo with the redesign is simplify everything so I started from scratch and slowly reintroduced what I thought was important. On the homepage it's just the post titles along with a list of tags & the archive and a general footer with what I've done. Very clean & simple and hopefully an improvement. I'm quite cautious of speed and wanted the site to load quickly so I've done my best to get rid of the fluff. The webfonts do bulk it up a bit and along with tracking code it's quite difficult todo.

Re Coded

I've been trying to do a redesign for quite some time, looking at the creation date on this post it goes back to September last year :( I'm one of those that likes starting a new project and if I don't keep at it it gets pushed to the sideline. The majority of this was done this weekend and I've started with a fresh copy of CakePHP and only added the very basics. I've removed lots and will only add it back if it's completely necessary!

Using the latest 2.1.2 release a few things are different from what I'm used to so I was back at the documentation for a things, the docs have really improved and it's a great time to dive in and start learning if it's on your todo list. Nothing revolutionary is going on with the code just your average CRUD stuff really, got to grips with Element caching which didn't take long :) and is extremely powerful.

Re Hosted

The site was previously hosted with Dreamhost and whilst I've no major beef with their service or support I thought it would be good to get my hands dirty with my very own Virtual Private Server (VPS). I initially went with Dreamhost because it was cheap, lots of storage and lots of bandwidth however as it's a shared hosting environment the performance wasn't all that great and the site went down a bit too frequently. So I started hunting for alternatives...

Two companies caught my eye, Slicehost & Linode, two competing services with very little difference between the two. Without thinking I jumped in and signed up to Slicehost for their 256 slice at $20 a month, I was up and running very quickly and with their comprehensive articles I had a LAMP setup on my hands. As I was going for the cheapest option to start with I soon figured that more more RAM is better so I quickly jumped ship over to Linode to take advantage of their cheapest Linode 512 and they also offered a server in London which was an added bonus.

If you're serious about Web Development and all things inbetween I seriously advise getting to grips with setting up your own server, it may seem daunting at first but the articles and guides on both Slicehost and Linode are amazing and you'll quickly learn. Even if you use a local Ubuntu setup on an old machine or a Virtual host, using the command line to set it up will be worthwhile. Or sign up to Linode with my affiliate link so I get some pennies for pointing you in the right direction :)

Wrapping Up

It's been a long time coming and I'm fairly happy with the refresh, nothing ground breaking but it's an update and it looks clean & minimal. If you notice any issues with the site then do get in touch and let me know. Cheers. Oh and comments are gone, too much faffing with SPAM for my liking so if you want to contribute then email me directly and I'll respond.

Posted on 20th May 2012
6 years, 9 months, 4 days ago

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