Static Site Generation from Django

I created App-o-Mat in 2014 using Django (pre-1.0) and Python 2, and for all that time it was deployed on relatively cheap hosting that supported Python backends. Unfortunately, my host recently decided to stop supporting Passenger and Django had long ago abandoned fastcgi. My options were to upgrade my hosting or look for an alternative host.

I had been wanting to look at AWS’s App Runner service, so I started reading through the docs and doing a trial port of my site. Since I also use MySQL, I had to also learn RDS. At some point I knew enough to try to figure out what this was going to cost to host and it turned out to be more expensive than just upgrading my hosting platform, so I abandoned AWS.

App-o-Mat is a content-driven Django app. It doesn’t have any interactivity in the public pages—most of the advantage of Django to me is in its CMS admin interface where I can author new articles. The public site is essentially static.

So, rather than upgrade my host, I decided that I now just run the site locally on my laptop and use wget to crawl it to get a static site that I scp to my host. I had to manually cause issues to get my 404 and other error pages to be part of the crawl. I see that there’s a project,, that purports to turn any Django project into a static site generator, but it also doesn’t automatically handle your error pages.

I might use django-distill in the future, but I write new content very infrequently, so we’ll see.