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I have a site that is composed only of static files.

I just discovered how easy it is to host websites directly off Github. Any idea how do they fare in terms of latency, reliability, capacity...?

In general - for static content only at the moment - are they "production grade"? How do they compare to say Amazon S3 in terms of pure latency and uptime?

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2 Answers 2

GitHub is indeed production ready. They use replication, clustering and load balancing to provide low latency and hight availability and I would say they are pretty good at doing that. You can have an idea about the latest issues by reading the status page.

However, they aren't a real hosting. Compared to Amazon S3, for example, Amazon provides the following advantages:

  • An infrastructure about order of magnitude bigger
  • Ability to use CDN (Amazon CloudFront) to reduce latency by serving the pages with the nearest node according to user's location

The advantages of using GitHub pages is normally for Ruby users that wants to use Jekyll (the tool behind GitHub pages) and wants to leave GitHub the effort to compile and host the site. Last but not least, it's free (as long as you keep your repository public).

But nothing prevents you to use Jekyll locally (or any other publishing tool), generate the pages statically and host them on Amazon. I'm doing this for several projects. There are several command line tools to sync your local copy with the Amazon folder.

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Do they support SSL? –  ripper234 Oct 7 '11 at 15:20
Yes, Amazon supports SSL. You'll find all the details in the Amazon documentation for S3 and CloudFront. –  Simone Carletti Oct 7 '11 at 15:21
I was actually asking about Github, I didn't find it in the documentation. –  ripper234 Oct 7 '11 at 16:01
BTW, the immediate advantage I find with github is simply a super seamless deployment process (git push). –  ripper234 Oct 7 '11 at 16:02
Hmm, I'm currently having some problems with SSL on Amazon when combined with virtual hosts. Seems like I just can't serve app.mysite.com from Amazon S3. shlomoswidler.com/2009/08/… –  ripper234 Oct 17 '11 at 11:46

The big limitation is no end-to-end TLS/SSL support.

Pages are served over HTTP, not HTTPS, so you shouldn't use them for sensitive transactions, like sending passwords or credit card numbers.

-- https://help.github.com/articles/what-are-github-pages

https://foo.github.io does work, but is not entirely secure (excerpt from GitHub support reply, Feb 2014):

While HTTPS requests may appear to work, our CDN provider is adding and removing the encryption at their end, and then the request is transmitted over the open internet from our CDN provider to our GitHub Pages infrastructure, creating the appearance of trustability.

This is why we do not yet officially support HTTPS for GitHub Pages.

And there is no TLS/SSL support for custom domains at all [issue].

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The certificate matches *.github.io as well now, but still no valid SSL for custom domains. –  Josh Jul 23 '14 at 11:29

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