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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
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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 TLS/SSL support for custom domains [issue]. UPDATE: foo.github.io now works but there is no way to give Github a certificate to validate a custom.com CNAME.

Pages are served over HTTP, not HTTPS. That doesn't make them inherently less secure, but, it does mean that you shouldn't transact any sensitive information with them (like passwords or credit card numbers).

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

(The "doesn't make them inherently less secure" claim is strange. Technically it clearly does; whether you care depends on the use case. It's not only "sensitive information". E.g. a purely static site containing binaries people download & run should offer — if not mandate — HTTPS downloads.)

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

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