Directory

What is Gitlab Pages ?

Gitlab Pages

How can you possibly host your site for free without incurring any inconvenience ?

I know what it feels like to wake up one day and find out that your site hosted for free has been wiped out without further notice.

I can also relate to your feelings when you find yourself trying to handle a flood of traffic to your cheaply hosted website which eventually ends up crashing.

There must be a better way, right ?

In fact, there is at least one. And many others worth checking.

But for now, we're going to cover the solution the site you're reading right now is using :

Gitlab Pages.

So, let's dive in.

What is Gitlab Pages ?

First, what is Gilab Pages ?

In a nutshell, Gitlab Pages is a static hosting environment.

What is a static hosting environment, you may ask.

Simply put, it's a platform that allows you to host a website made up of static  files.

Those static files are typically HTML, CSS and JavaScript files plus some images.

You can put them together either manually or by using a static site generator.

Gitlab Pages is named after Gitlab, the company behind it which provides among other things a platform for managing software projects by collaborating efficiently and automating many workflows.

As a feature of the Gitlab platform, Gitlab Pages was initially intended as a way to provide more information about projects, users and groups hosted on the platform. 

In order to achieve that, the files of the static site need first to be stored in a Gitlab repository. Additional settings would then make the site publicly available.

There is obviously a lot more about Gitlab Pages. And I'll give you a more detailed description in a moment.

But first, I want to address a legitimate concern you may have at this point.

You may wonder why even bother hosting your site on Gitlab Pages ?

Here's why .

Why host your static site on Gitlab Pages ?

What is your biggest concern when it comes to hosting ?

Are you worried about :

  • overpaying ?
  • being unable to handle a large amount of traffic ?
  • being flagged as unsecure by web browsers ?
  • leaving some money on the table because of your site loading too slowly ?

If you're concerned about overpaying, then Gitlab is, to my humble opinion, a very good choice for you. 

You probably expect Gitlab Pages to provide a generous free tier as this is what FreeTiers is about, or to be fairly priced at least, don't you ?

Well, it's even better.

Gitlab Pages is completely free.

Yes, you read that right.

Free, with many features you would had pay for elsewhere.

To begin with, you can host your site for free but, you already know that.

And you can assign as many custom domains as you want to any of your sites. 

If you don't have one there are free gitlab.io subdomains available.

They are assigned to your site by default, according to its name and its type.

Here's a summary of the default subdomains assignment patterns :

All gitlab.io subdomains are SSL enabled. This means that you site's url address will be prefixed with https instead of http. 

Otherwise, web bowsers would flag your website as unsecure. For sure, this isn't a great way to build trust with your visitors.

As for custom domains, you can also enable SSL on them for free.

You just need to prove your ownership of the custom domain beforehand by adding a text (TXT) record to your DNS records on your registrar's dashboard.

After doing that, a free SSL certificate will be automatically added to your custom domain by Let's Encrypt.

And you know what ?

There are no bandtwith limits specified for a website hosted on Gitlab Pages. 

Put in another way,  hosting your site on Gitlab Pages is free no matter how many visitors you get.

You’d think there must be some hidden catch, right?

Well, Gitlab Pages' team may get in touch with you if your usage goes overboard.

Personally, I don't consider it to be a catch.

And reaching that threshold, would open up many monetization opportunities that'll allow you to start considering paying alternatives.

So, this isn't really something to worry about.

In addition to that unlimited bandwidth, there are no restrictions on your site's availability like those you may find on other free hosting platforms.

You can even save some bandwidth and make your site faster by associating Gitlab Pages with a CDN (Content Delivery Network) provider like Cloudflare.

Besides, you can work with as many collaborators as you want on your projects.

Not to mention that all of these perks are absolutely free.

And the best part ?

You can host an unlimited number of sites, with all the aformentioned features for free.

Isn't that great ?

Yes, for sure.

But there are some limitations you must keep in mind before going for Gitlab Pages.

First, the size of the files making up your website can't exceed 10GB. 

This is in fact the size limits applied to source code repositories hosted on Gitlab, the platform behind Gitlab Pages.

Next, there's no way to host server site technologies on Gitlab Pages. 

In other words, files that need to be processed by a computer to generate the output every time a visitor comes to your website don't work on Gitlab Pages.

To process such files, you'll need a dynamic hosting provider like Hostinger, Heroku, and so on.

There also free dynamic hosting providers with awesome features worth checking. 

Upcoming posts will deal extensively with that subject.

For now, here are some free alternatives to Gitlab Pages worth considering.

Free Alternatives to Gitlab Pages

After reading about Gitlab Pages limitations, you probably want to know about some alternative free hosting providers, either static or dynamic.

Free Dynamic Alternatives

If you don't feel enthusiastic about the world of opportunites static sites open up , take a look at these free dynamic alternatives to Gitlab Pages.

Heliohost

Community powered free hosting

Endless Hosting

300 MB storage, Free SSL, PHP, MySQL, FTP, free sub-domains, E-Mail, DNS, beatiful panel UI. One of the best!

Free Hostia

FreeHostia offers free hosting services incl. an industry-best Control Panel & a 1-click installation of 50+ free apps. Instant setup. No forced ads.

Free Static Alternatives

If on the other hand, you're already in love with the simplicity, the speed and all the other benefits of that come with static sites and their hosting providers, then here are some of the best static alternatives to Gitlab Pages.

Github Pages

Hosting static site directly from GitHub repository

Netlify

Builds, deploy and hosts static site or app, free for 100 GB data and 100 GB/month bandwidth

AWS S3

Static files hosting solution by Amazon Web Services that can be used for hosting a static website.

Examples of Websites Hosted On Gitlab Pages

I already mentiioned that freetiers.com is hosted on Gitlab Pages. There are many others.

Portfolio

For freelancers, consultants, ...

Project Site

More visibility for your projects

Blog

Many developers & designers blogs

don't need to be technical to get started with Gitlab Pages though.

Here's how to do it.

How to Get Started With Gitlab Pages ?

Publii CMS

Gitlab Account

Many SSG specific templates available.

In depth tutorial 

Wrapping Up

If you were to remember only one thing ...

What To Do Next

Check related resources

Gitlab Pages Tutorial

Alternatives To Gitlab Pages on this website

Upcoming Guides 

Check our Youtube channel, Follow us on Twitter and Pinterest

Help other people find this and support us by sharing on your preferred social media with the buttons after the form below.

Subscribe to our newsletter using the form below to get notified ...

Get Our Updates Right Into Your Inbox

Just let us know where to send them.

Comments