If It’s Free, You’re The Product

18 Dec 2020

There’s an old saying in tech circles, which goes something along the lines of:

On the Internet, if a product is free, you’re the product.

I recently switched from WordPress to Jekyll and hosting is now provided by the free tier of Netlify. It’s a great service that automatically builds and deploys my site whenever I do a git push.

I can’t help but think about the quote above though – am I the product here? Should I be paying for my static site hosting? Netlify offer a pro tier, but it’s $19/month, which is more than I’d care to pay for hosting.

Maybe I should consider another hosting provider, like AWS Amplify, Digital Ocean’s App Platform or God forbid the newly announced Cloudflare pages.

I still have my trusty VPS with Ionos (albeit recently migrated from CentOS to Ubuntu, because, you know, reasons). Maybe I could come up with a way of automatically deploying my site from Git using my VPS – Plesk already has Git integration, so maybe it would be trivial.

I should look into that.

What do you think, dear reader? By using Netlify’s free hosting tier, am I the product here?

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