I don’t mind being called idealistic when it’s true. Like my dream of a CLI-only office suite for Luddite churches.
But news today from Amazon makes me think another lost cause — static web sites, for churches or anyone else — might have legs. Amazon has a whole second business providing cloud web services, which, if you do anything in web development is not news. You get lots of power, storage space, distributed work capacity and the like at a very, very low cost. One of these services is S3: Simple Storage Service. But until today, you couldn’t host a website on it, even though you could stash your site’s photographs and videos there.
Now, with a couple of caveats, you can. The caveats? First, the URL has to have a subdomain attached, so www.boyinthebands.com or fun-liturgies.boyinthebands.com is OK, but a plain boyinthebands.com isn’t. (It’s an incentive for a bunch of small churches to share a domain, too.) And forget dynamic content: services that are generated on the fly. But many church sites are little more than Internet pamphlets, so why need they pay a cent more than they have to? And I do mean cent. One could reasonably host a site for a few dimes a month.
It’s not turn-key easy. I expect to have to learn a few things first. (And re-read this blog post.) But once I find a static web generator I like — no WordPress — and way to manage my Amazon Web Services account — I finally signed up for one, or rather activated that function from the one I use to buy books and CDs — I’ll move some of the universalistchurch.net content over, or make some other trial site.