Towards a better website

For a few months now, this website, the one that shows my personal blog and other pages about my activities and interests, has been improved. You should see no difference however.

First of all, it still runs on WordPress. I have removed many tools and plugins though, in order to collect less data about my readers and put less of my content in the hands of large internet corporations. In short I have taken several steps to give you more privacy. This is much more and much better than sticking a cookie banner on the home page.

It’s still common among the tech crowd to think that the best website is a static website, and I agree with the philosophy when I look at inspiring examples like the Low-Tech Magazine. But when I look at all those static websites hosted at GitHub Pages (owned by Microsoft), and most of them load many MBs of external Javascript dependencies just to show a dynamic menu, not to count Disqus comments and Google fonts etc. my general reaction is a big no-no. Not to mention the resources that are consumed when offloading site generation to a third party server. In the future, I want to explore how this website could run on a low-energy self-hosted device but for now I’m following the road to optimization with WordPress.

I removed the Jetpack plugin, a stifling and pervasive do-it-all offer from WordPress.com that includes, among other features, site monitoring and visitor statistics (of course I never used Google Analytics). It’s all been wiped. I don’t have any numbers about most visited pages or posts and it’s a very good thing. I don’t write to reach mass audiences. I have better feelings towards my blog since I removed Jetpack.

I had already removed the AMP plugin, a silly act of surrender to the Google monopoly. Will this give me less page views? I don’t really care, since I’m not selling anything here and all I have to offer is good content. But AMP is fast I hear you say! Sure, AMP is fast if you’re under the Google surveillance lens. Instead, my website is offered in HTML to everyone. And RSS/Atom, of course.

I also removed all external dependencies, and now even fonts are loaded from the same domain steko.iosa.it thanks to the OMGF plugin. This makes the website load faster, despite the race to have everything on a CDN.

If you run your blog on WordPress, I can only recommend you try for yourself the same steps!

I also added some niceties, such as the ActivityPub plugin that lets you follow the blog from any Fediverse account (you can also comment without even visiting the website!). Of course you can follow my other native Fediverse account at https://octodon.social/@steko

The website is faster and consumes less resources because I moved to a new server and I’m now running the latest version of PHP, that improves performance in a significant way. The server is in Nuremberg and is hosted by Hetzner.

Of course, the best thing I can offer on this website is to continue publishing interesting content. Thank you for reading.