Alex's Blog / Alex's Guardian Update + Future

Life has changed a lot since I started my blog. My wife and I had two kids and then the covid pandemic hit. Last November my wife and I moved out of our apartment just has the housing market in the US decided to explode which priced us out of buying a home. This inadvertently affected my homelab, my blog, and my business Alex’s Guardian. That and COVID really slowed down the adoption of new clients for my wife and I. Not having the time to work on things really puts a damper on getting things done haha.

Both of my sites are hosted on Linode💜 using Wordpress in Docker. This was a nightmare to manage as both required a MySQL DB, plugins, and a proper theme. Both sites used mostly the same plugin stack and the Divi theme from Elegant Themes. However, if you are not aware Wordpress is built on PHP and as you add plugins and a full site editing theme it gets very, very resource hungry. This made it rather annoying to create posts and update pages as it crashed a lot and sometimes locked up my Linode VM. I am only using the nano tier from Linode to keep costs down so having three Wordpress sites (my blog, my biz, and my wife’s WIP biz site) quickly killed my VM. I ended up splitting the blog off onto its own nano tier VM to compensate.

Why the theme change… again?

After watching a the video from Techno Tim (who you should seriously sub to) on Jekyll. I have decided to move all of my websites to it moving forward (blog first). The main reasons for me were:

  1. No DB requirement = less overhead
  2. Posts are managed via Markdown files (yes please!)
    • which means not having to load an interface to create them.
    • websites can be fully managed via git + CI/CD
  3. Easy customizations

Moving to Jekyll and easy post creation has reignited my drive to blog again. Now this does mean that a lot of my previous posts from Wordpress will be lost and I will not be moving them over. This includes the older guides. I will however, be recreating the most popular ones with updated info though in the coming weeks/months as I finish upgrading my backend Linode hosts and getting my pipeline updated for Jekyll deployments. I will be creating a post, soontm, talking about the process of auto deploying this blog to one of my Linode hosts!

What about your homelab?

My wife and I moved out of our apartment in November of 2021 with the intent to purchase a home so our kids no longer had to share a small bedroom. We did not anticipate the housing market to explode like it did so we were unable to re-sign our lease in time. This forced us to temporarily move back in with my parents while we search for a home. Because of this I had to downsize my homelab dramatically. I no longer have my 4u main VM server which used to run most of my homelab. I did however purchase two Optiplex 5050 micros to use instead as they take up A LOT less space. With losing my main VM server I did lose my old monitoring setup with Grafana, etc. So now that things have settled I will be setting that back up with my new “mini cluster.”

Current homelab specs

minicentauri.labx86Windows 10 Workstation6c 12t32gbNvidia Quadro P200030TB
proximacentauri.labx86Ubuntu Server 21.104c 8t16gbigpu500GB
alphacentauri.labx86Ubuntu Server 21.104c 8t16gbigpu500GB
pihole1.homeARMraspbian lite4c1gbBroadcom VideoCore VI32GB
pihole2.homeARMraspbian lite4c1gbBroadcom Videocore IV32GB

Current network specs

DeviceUplink spd
USW-8-LITE-POE (2x)1gb
Loco5AC-US (2x)1gb

FTC: Some links in this post are income generating.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.