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The Personal Web

ZinRicky

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it is my understanding that these "Website Building" services are generally looked down upon. I want to say primarily because these places are businesses whose goal is to exploit you as much as they are able, in order to turn a profit. They thrive off of your ignorance, insecurities, haste, reliance, etc. Not only will they have a negative effect on you, they will exploit your visitors as much as they can as well.
Moreover the website they create is often bloated as hell: my personal blog doesn't require 5MB of Javascript "just in case"
 
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RisingThumb

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Moreover the website they create is often bloated as hell: my personal blog doesn't require 5MB of Javascript "just in case"
Yes it does... just... just because!
Why because? Erm.. uuuh.. QUIT HAVING FUN!
WTF is FLIRTU.AL
1682986342121.png

I do not like this
1682986476495.png

Shit I guess its at least less depressing than the ChatGPT 3D VR Waifu
It was just an example. I find it equally as confusing, and something I find... weird. Whatever works for other people is cool though
 
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Eden

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Website Creation using ✨AI✨ DKcHaMp
So just to round out all this info regarding making your site, an interesting "emerging" concept is having AI do it for you. Now, what could possibly be wrong with this? :ffzYou3:

Here is some of what I have come across during this recent "Age of Hype":
Blog Post (2023-02-09): I created a website using AI: ChatGPT & Midjourney. Here are my thoughts
Blog Post (2023-04-22): Creating My Personal Website With AI

Meme Site (~2023-02-22): Durable [Kek, dat name yo]
Meme Site (~2023-04-11): Essai

I would like to clarify that I mean to encourage discussion regarding personal website development with AI, NOT AI generated content on personal websites, as I feel that is a whole other discussion. If you want to have that discussion right now, please take a look at these Agora Road threads, as they may be of more interest to you:

Dead Internet Theory: Most of the Internet is Fake
How much steam does the current AI trend have?

Honestly, I feel like this site suffers a bit from repetitive threads... *cough* So you decided to make your own website: where do you start? + Do you care about owning your space on the web? *cough*

No, but 4 real, I think generating an entire website exclusively using AI is a pretty stupid idea and I advise not even considering it. As for having the AI assist you with learning to write your web code and maybe using it to generate some sections of your code, perhaps not so crazy.

Tell me, do any of you also imagine a not-so-distant future where Agora Road equivalent versions of all of us scoff at "the dinosaurs" that banged their non-AI rocks together to produce VR Tinder?
 
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dorgon

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An actual big problem with Neocities, & I don't personally use it- disclaimer, is that I find its coding / uploading interface to be pretty bad. Very slow, very wonky / glitchy. I think I once read there were ways to circumvent it, but I could be wrong or maybe that's just a premium feature, I don't know. What I'm saying is I believe the User Interface kinda sucks. And if it bothers you a lot you should know that there are alternatives. Don't force yourself to use something you hate.
LOL I host on neocities and I know this all too well. What I do instead is build my shit on VS Codium, then i just upload the HTML/CSS file from Codium to neocities, and I just make minor edits on the neocities editor after that. VS Code or VS Codium (if you don't like Microsoft's telemetry) are two code editors I use and I find them much more helpful than neocities's editor (plus they're free, but with VS Codium I had to use Chocolatey to install it). As for the domain name, it does kind of suck that you don't really "own" the domain name per se, not to mention the limitation of the name (unless you pay them $5 a month or something) but other than that I do like neocities a lot as it's free and I don't have to pay a dime for my site to be online...
 
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gsyme

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The option I took:
notepad.gif


Tongue in cheek, but as Eden encouraged others to share their method, here's mine. I run a self-hosted, in-house developed Tor hidden service, and to get to that point, I had to learn several technologies.

Following is a list of resources for learning these things. Kicking off with a self-plug for my own garbage.

My computer related articles (Tor link): http://oh3curby3abfknsydatt2qc3vgxggfjxd6infybwvlbgaezjhvhzqhad.onion/reader.php?page=1&category=cyb

Ctrl+F for "Web". I've been trying to bang out articles about how to develop and run a site. Hopefully these help, but honestly I don't have much right now and really kinda feel that I'm long winded and hard to read.

Here's some more resources:

HTML:

This is for marking up the structure of documents. Good thing for us, modern HTML doesn't have nearly as many presentational elements and attributes as it used to, so it's pretty easy to pick up.

Resources:

- https://www.w3schools.com/html/default.asp <<< teaches modern HTML. The site also has a good reference section.
- https://web.archive.org/web/20060307030712/http://www.htmlgoodies.com/primers/html/ <<< want to learn retroweb development? This is an HTML tutorial site from 2006. If you want, it goes back all the way to the late 90s.

CSS:

CSS is for styling shit. Like adding colors, changing the font, positioning shit on the page, etc. If HTML is the bones, CSS is the skin.

Resources:

- https://www.w3schools.com/css/default.asp <<< W3 schools is really gonna be my crutch here...
- https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn/CSS <<< Mozilla has tutorials and reference works too. Their stuff is really good for when you need very technical documentation.

JavaScript:

JS is used for programming interactive front end stuff. I learned how to do all of this shit before JS was as ubiquitous as it is now, and as a hidden service operator, I don't use it because Tor users are paranoid as fuck about client side tech...so I don't know it. As far as I know, you can make interactive, animated shit with it (which honestly, you can do with CSS animations and pseudo-classes, newer features in HTML, and some clever use of animated media like gifs and videos), but it also can be used for malicious shit that corpos use to track users with. So...I avoid it and generally have a negative opinion of it.

- https://www.w3schools.com/js/default.asp

I don't really have many more resources on this since, again, I don't know it nor really use it.


PHP:

PHP is a server side scripting language used for programmatically generating web pages. For example, as you're reading this off of the page in a forum, the post itself likely is just an entry in a database somewhere. A PHP script on the server programmatically retrieves that DB info and then automatically builds out an HTML page to present to the browser.

Resources:

- https://www.w3schools.com/php/default.asp
- https://www.php.net/manual/en/langref.php <<< language reference. Once you get basic syntax down, you'll basically be looking at this and googling shit on stack exchange.

MySQL:

MySQL is a database query language. You use it to insert and retrieve shit from a database. You'll usually use it in combination with PHP to interact with a database.

- https://www.w3schools.com/sql/default.asp
- https://docs.digitalocean.com/products/databases/mysql/tutorials/ <<< Digital Ocean is a shady VPS provider that has a lot of tutorials on how to run various sorts of common software you'd use on a VPS. Pay attention here to their docs on how to actually admin the DB and lean on w3schools for the stuff about how to form queries and shit.

If you know all of the above, you're pretty much golden for actually designing a site.

Protip: don't try to memorize whole languages in one sitting. Instead, get the gist of some basic syntax so that you can generally read the language and google for "how do X + language" and read through stack exchange or documentation, etc.

Running a server:

A server is more or less a headless program that runs in the background and can be setup through one or more config files.

There are 3 main http servers in use: Apache (oldschool, but advised against...but I use it), nginx (newer, but I don't know how to configure it), and IIS (microsoft Internet Information Services...you really shouldn't run this in a hobby capacity)

How you install and set these up will depend on what OS you're installing to and what server modules you need (e.g. if you're running PHP in apache, you'd also need the the apache module for PHP, etc).

Google around for how to install and configure either Apache or Nginx; everyone has documentation on how to do this stuff.


Pros of doing shit manually:

- You have total freedom and do not rely on anyone else.
- You can self host or use a VPS instead of a web host, which means you have system access to the machine and can build better integrations for server automation and security monitoring.
- You won't really have technical limitations. E.g. if you want server side scripting, you can have it. If you want to write a cron job to auto-test your favourite web ring for uptime stats, you can.
- Because you're not relying on a publically available CMS, attackers won't have open documentation for vulns that your platform might have -- automated and low effort attacks therefore generally won't work against your site unless you're grossly incompetent.
- You'll learn a lot.



Cons of doing shit manually:

- You have total freedom and do not rely on anyone else -- when shit goes sideways, it's your fault and it's on you to fix it.
- In house development produces lead time -- you'll need time to write and test code before you push it to production.
- You have to know a lot -- by the time you can go to production, you're basically a junior full stack dev.
- You'll end up reinventing wheels.
 

Eden

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I run a self-hosted, in-house developed Tor hidden service
Would you be willing to talk a little bit about why you share your site exclusively via Tor? I'm interested in why one might choose not to have a Clearnet mirror of what they spend so much time working on.

I personally plan to mirror my site on Tor in the future, but it isn't a priority, primarily because I know I'm likely reaching both the type of people I'd like my site to be for + a larger amount of people in general. Similar reasoning for me with regard to translating my content, as English is generally understood to be the Internet's default. Ideally, of course, one should strive for both of these goals, imo.
 
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gsyme

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Would you be willing to talk a little bit about why you share your site exclusively via Tor? I'm interested in why one might choose not to have a Clearnet mirror of what they spend so much time working on.

I personally plan to mirror my site on Tor in the future, but it isn't a priority, primarily because I know I'm likely reaching both the type of people I'd like my site to be for + a larger amount of people in general. Similar reasoning for me with regard to translating my content, as English is generally understood to be the Internet's default. Ideally, of course, one should strive for both of these goals, imo.

Sure. There's some pragmatics as well as some high-minded notions.

1) I prefer on-prem self hosting for independence reasons. However, my ISP does not permit running public facing servers in their residential TOS. I don't want to pay for a business plan, so I use Tor to publish regardless of what the TOS says. This is the real 100% reason why.

1.5) Even though my site looks static due to no JS, the whole thing relies on PHP/MySQL (even nominally static pages like the about section and the links use php includes to build out the logo, navbar and other elements) and has a lot of integrations with my in-house security platform, so a dedicated webhost, especially a free one like neocities or the other stuff you've mentioned in your suggested routes won't really do for me. I need server-side tech stacks and really, I need system level access to the server the site's running on. This also ties into the next item...

2) Homelabbing/learning. Securing a Tor site presents challenges that are somewhat different from securing a clearnet site. Tor permits me an opportunity to learn things that doing clearnet again wouldn't. I also get interesting insights into malicious traffic over tor by watching my logs closely. It's fun!

3) Domain name services can be seized and censored if the state does not like you. You cannot seize my onion address, though. Not that I really publish anything controversial, but it's the principle of the matter...

4) using Tor, I maintain right to disappear and keep my identity segmented.

5) IRL ego. Telling my IRL non-technical friends that I run a website on the ď̴̜̘̺͔͉̠̰̦̭̟̱̹̩̲ͅę̵̪͈̞̳̟̘̭͇̰̬̤̻͙̻͓̌̌̈́̏̀̂̄̊̿͌ë̸̺̜̙̓p̸̨̛̜͇͇̥̣͔͉̦̤̗̯̟̲̳̽̌̾̄́̉͗̀̿̏͋͝͝͝͠ ̸̘͖̯͕̗͚̻̬͇̖̹̪͓͉͙͔̍͊͋̂̄̈́̔̀̄͑̃̃́̕̕̕ͅw̷̗̜̟̿͛͛̅͐̒͌͘é̶͇͎̬̤̱̥́͋͊̃͌̀̓͛̊̎̔̕͠ͅb̵̛͔͗̑̂͒͂́͆̓̄̍̕͝ is always an interesting conversation starter. I'm a goddamn drug dealing hacker assassin as far as they're concerned :p



Honestly, if I knew how, I'd setup a dedicated tor-to-web gateway, host it on a VPS and serve that as a clearnet mirror for distribution on business cards and suchlike, but I don't know how to do that right now. I don't do anything illegal, but have a very hardcore dedication to ownership-of-platform from the ground up, which prevents me from going clearnet at this time.
 

Eden

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2023-05-14 Update(s)

  • Newly-added Communities(?):
    • The-web-raft (Yesterweb Offshoot)
      • Group of Yesterweb members who seem to have the intent of picking up where the project left off.

    • lolcow.farm (Smallweb and Personal Sites Discussion)
      • threads one & two
      • The name should've given it away to me, but I was just excited to find more people who were interested in the Personal Web. Heads up: This group is a bit feisty. Focusing primarily on Smallweb drama I'd say, but I'm bringing them to your attention because I believe the anonymity of the space lends itself to, potentially, interesting conversations. Make of it what you will.

  • Newly-added Projects:

    • omg.lol - A potential Neocities replacement?
      • This, I think, is a very interesting service / collection of sites. I sincerely believe, if this service can implement some sort of "free" tier, they'd likely become the new Neocities. Disclosure: I have not tried it out, just rather detailed observation from the outside-in. But it's doing a lot of cool stuff. It's still a work-in-progress, as well, though. But the quality and consistency of updates is light-years ahead of Neocities and, in some ways, other adjacent services. Its #1 issue, of course, is the demand for $20 (per year) from you before getting to do anything at all.
      • But check some of these services out:
      • Nothing crazy, but it feels very "premium". I'm sorry I sound like a shill. Lots of cons to this kinda thing, as we've already discussed but absolutely worth including here. If anyone wants to crap on it to restore balance, feel free.

  • Blog Post:
    • Exploring the Personal Web
      • Small self-plug. But also consider it an alternative or back-up to the running list we're working on in this thread regarding exploration.
 
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gsyme

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2023-05-14 Update(s)
  • The Personal Websites of Agora Road (a running list):
    • To-Do: Collect their RSS Feeds

Unfortunately, I do not have one.

I did make a replication script for the lainchan webring though. Just released it today, so I don't think anyone from there has implemented it yet.

It's got some lain-branded stuff hardcoded right now, but I'm sure it could be refitted to be a generic webring replication script. This could be used to help other communities build out in a decentralized manner. Maybe anyway.


Hopefully this could be useful to the whole decentralized personal web thing.
 

h00

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Do personal blogs at sites like Blogger count as personal web?
Id say so. Neocities and bear-blog are personal web but theyre just someone else hosting your content. Maybe arguments that a google service / non self-html style makes it not personal, so its on the line. I don't think peoples Mediums would be considered personal web for instance, but blogger is... okay.

I'd consider the available alternatives though. There are better platforms available.
 
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Do personal blogs at sites like Blogger count as personal web?
tried, but formatting and css edit sucks (div in div in div in div...) - when i wanted to import css+html i made in editor, it broke whole page XD
(lesson - if google/blogger use div, you cant too)
 
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Eden

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gsyme

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The Club Update
Newly-added Projects:
Primarily brought to you by this random guy's (Vanza Setia) blog post: I Like Web Clubs
Full List of Collectives in First Post btw.

No CSS club? That sounds like a fun challenge.

I havent written a page like that since the very early 2000s. I wonder how possible it would be to replicate my current site layout like that...
 

Eden

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omg.lol & micro.blog - A Fine Line?

So I was reading this blog post from some dude (James) Exploring Personal Websites. He writes about venturing through both omg.lol & micro.blog. omg.lol charges $20 per year, meanwhile micro.blog is currently between $55 or $120 per year. I couldn't help but feel (after looking through both services) like micro.blog is too "scammy", but then that also got me thinking of where does one draw that sorta line, right? Like, think about some freelance WordPress theme seller charging $100 an hour. Or an agency, maybe twice or triple that. Still, I find it interesting how I didn't mind adding omg.lol in the collectives list, but finding it hard to add micro.blog.
 
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gsyme

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h00

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OP, if you haven't already, I encourage you to reformat this and submit it to the third agora zine
 
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stonehead

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Wow, what a great thread. Humbled and honored to be included. I would have replied sooner, but I spent a few days just reading through the deep web of links and sites.

That's what I love about the internet, browsing through sites, clicking on whatever looks interesting, and exploring new places. I'm several hours in, and I expect I have several more hours of content to read. It's so much more interesting to me than reading through a linear feed of algorithmically recommended content.

  • Blog Post:
    • Exploring the Personal Web
      • Small self-plug. But also consider it an alternative or back-up to the running list we're working on in this thread regarding exploration.

I hadn't really put any thought into publishing or sharing my site, are there any tutorials you'd recommend for creating a blog or feed? And is there a proper etiquette for including badges of others' sites? You're a convincing writer and make me want to participate in the more social aspects of the personal web, not just fun tech projects.