S3 static site with SSL


S3 static site with SSL and automatic deploys using Travis” is a goldmine of all those simple technologies tied into a single knot for an impressive result.  It has a bit of everything:

  • Jekyll – simple, blog-aware, static sites engine, for managing content.
  • GitHub – for version control of the site’s content and for triggering the deployment chain.
  • Travis CI – for testing changes, building and deploying a new version.
  • Amazon S3 – simple, cheap, web-enabled storage of static content.
  • Amazon CloudFront – simple, cheap, geographically-distributed content delivery network (CDN).
  • Amazon Route 53 – simple and cheap DNS hosting and domain management.
  • Amazon IAM – identity and access management for the Amazon Web Services (AWS).
  • Let’s Encrypt – free SSL/TLS certificate provider.

When put altogether, these bits allow one to have a fast (static content combined with HTTP 2 and top-level networking) and cheap (Jekyll, GitHub, Travis and Let’s Encrypt are free, with the rest of the services costing a few cents here and there) static website, with SSL and HTTP 2.

This is a classic example of how accessible and available is modern technology, if (and only if) you know what you are doing.

Office 365 Lync Online SRV DNS records on Amazon Route 53

One of the very few things we still rely on from Microsoft at work is Office 365.  Not because it is so great, but because I simply didn’t have the time to move away yet (quiet Christmas season is coming soon).  Most people don’t get exposed much to it anyway, using Evolution or Thunderbird email clients, or forwarding everything to Gmail altogether.  But as an administrator of the service I get constantly annoyed by the “there are problems with your domain” notification.  After ignoring it for about a year, I decided to finally fix it.  All that was needed is a couple of records in the DNS zone.

Unfortunately, the instructions Microsoft provides don’t quite well apply to Amazon Route 53 user interface.  It took me a few tries and some searching to find the right ones.  Here they are, thanks to a comment on this page:

First record:

1. Log into Route 53.
2. in the hosted zones window, check the box next to YOURDOMAIN.com
3. click  [ > Go to Record Sets]
4. Click  [Create Record Set]
5. Enter  _sipfederationtls._tcp , in the Name field
6. Switch type to SRV – Service locator
7. In the Value window Enter: 100 1 5061 sipfed.online.lync.com
8. Click [Create]

Second record:

9. Click  [Create Record Set]
10. Enter: _sip._tls , in the name field
11. Switch type to SRV – Service locator
12. In the Value window Enter: 100 1 443 sipdir.online.lync.com
13. Click [Create]

Performance improvements

Just wanted to let you all know that I’ve made a couple of changes recently, which should result in a somewhat faster performance of this site.

Firstly, before the last weekend, I’ve moved all my DNS hosting to Amazon Route 53 service.  This should result in faster DNS queries all around the globe and minimize the potential downtimes.

Secondly, I’ve installed and configured the JS & CSS Optimizer WordPress plugin, which now results in much fewer HTTP requests needed to load the page, as well as fewer bytes to be transferred around.   I’m still tweaking the settings for this one to see how much I can squeeze out of it, but I already see an improvement.

As always, if you see any issues, please let me know.