/ Pratik Mallya
Introducing My New Blog
The first blog that I wrote in was in blogspot, or blogger (I’m still not sure what the difference is between them). I then tried Wordpress, before finally settling on blogger again. To be fair, the new blogger is pretty good, and I do like the minimalistic theme. However, I wanted absolute, complete control over my website. Why? Ownership breeds pride. I won’t put in personal manual labor improving the garden of my rented house. But if it was my own, I most certainly would.
Similarly, with complete ownership over my content and how it’s displayed, I can put in effort into designing it better. I mean CSS-styles better. I mean having the option to use superb UI frameworks like Foundation.
I’ve decided to start with a very simplistic, very very minimalistic design though. I will be playing around with CSS to make it look nicer, but I won’t be putting in any flashy stuff. My inspiration is the indomitable Mike Bostock, whose blog made me realize that features do not equal beauty. (He also resolved the very important problem of naming one’s blog: simply use your full name).
Configuring A Custom Domain
One of the first things I wanted was a custom domain name. There are many reasons why you would want to host your website under a custom domain name rather than using Github’s subdomain, but I think the most important one is that in case I wanted to move my site away from Github, I would have to change all references to my old webpage: Resume’s, other websites, business cards etc. Having you own domain name can be really cheap, I used Namecheap to obtain mine for $8 p.a.
I wasn’t very familiar with DNS, so at first I had trouble configuring it. In particular, I did not configure an A record to point to the IP address of Github. An A record is an address record, which is what tells your DNS host (in this case, Namecheap) where it can find the content for the domain. Since I did not configure it, of course the content could not be found.
Anyways, here’s what you need to do:
Add a CNAME file in your repository which contains the bare domain name.
Configure two A records to point to the ip address of Github pages in Namecheap. You can find the IP addresses here
Add a CNAME for the url provided by Github in Namecheap, so that everyone that tries to access that url will be redirected to your new page. So, my case I added a CNAME record with url as pratikmallya.github.io. Therefore, anyone entering that url in the browser will be automatically redirected to my custom domain name mallya.me
My friend Prakhar Srivastav has been responsible for much of the styling improvements, especially optimizations for mobile devices. He did so without me even asking for his help! It goes without saying that the blog looks much nicer after contribution; and also his tips on making it more SEO-friendly. Check out his awesome blog for more awesome stuff. He also convinced me to use Jekyll, which is super simple to setup and use.