Dimitar Chakarov

new site, who dis?

June 14, 2018 | 3 Minute Read

After a successful redesign of our company website seenit.io I felt inspired to redesign and rearrange my personal web presence. I made a long list of all my websites and all the most important places I had some kind of presence on (i.e. StackOverflow, GitHub, LinkedIn, Twitter) and started planning a strategy. I decided that, since most of these places invite you to link to your personal website, it would be smart to start with that, so I can have something I like to link to.

There were two aspects I had to make a decision on - tech and story.

Tech was the easier one. I decided to go with Jekyll as this was the trendy new thing (at least here in London). As an ex-backend developer going with a static website was a bit weird (to put it mildly). But one does not go against fashion. Also, trying new things.

I already had a domain (quite a few, actually - but more on that later). After some research (thx @LeeroyDing) I decided to give GitHub Pages a try. It was free and easy (for developers). You go on https://pages.github.com and follow the steps. By far the hardest step was configuring my domain to point to my new page - having to deal with my domain registrar is never quite as straightforward as it should’ve been.

Next step was to deploy an actual page and for that I followed the next guide - https://jekyllrb.com/docs/quickstart/. Even for someone that had never worked with bundler and had very limited knowledge about what gem is, it was very easy to make it working. Keep in mind that not all Jekyll themes are supported on GitHub Pages, so better check here before spending too much time tweaking a theme which is not supported. It’s important to note that a theme might still be supported even if not listed on that list. So if you can’t find a suitable enough theme on that list, select one from here instead and upload it to GitHub to test if it’d work. Chances are it would.

With all that setup behind me I spent the next few days enjoying my new website. Then, out of a sudden, I received an email from Google, telling me a page from one of my subdomains had been de-listed from their index because it was violating someone’s copyright. This was scary. Moreover, I didn’t have any subdomains active on my domain. None that I knew about anyway. I clicked the link and - surprise, surprise - a book (PDF) file appeared.

I triple checked my newly updated website and couldn’t find any mentions of this or any other PDF file. Clueless about what to do next I contacted GitHub and they kindly informed me I had made a mistake configuring my domain forwarding (DNS ALIAS rules, for those that know what that is) in a way that anyone could host something using any subdomain of my primary domain. I went on the domain registrar site one more time and disabled the star catch-all subdomain which did the job. I am still not convinced that wasn’t partly GitHub’s fault but since they were very helpful in resolving the issue, I am not too mad about it.

And that’s it. The website is live. You are experiencing it. What do you think?