Staticizing WordPress


I’m very happy to have just ticked off a really old to-do. I converted three old WordPress blogs to static sites:

These sites aren’t just old, they’re in read-only mode and are virtually never visited by me nor anyone else. They are also precious. They capture their respective periods better than photographs alone, and I didn’t want to import or modernize them, since the design is an important part of the capture. They look today basically the same as they did 10 years ago. But I also didn’t want them sitting atop a complex, self-hosted WordPress installation. Having the content wrapped up in a MySQL database and accompanying folder structure, and requiring a functioning WP installation to even get to the posts, was terribly fragile. Remember: no one is going to these sites, so if they fail somehow it might be too late before anything is noticed. I was amazed they even worked, and that I could log in.

They were liberated last night courtesy of this wget invokation:

wget --mirror --convert-links --adjust-extension --page-requisites --no-parent -e robots=off http://example.org

There was a tiny bit of prep, mainly to make sure everything lived under the proper subdomain, but that was about it. After wget was done, I was left with a folder of .html files that faithfully represented the look and content of the site. Magic! I’m truly impressed at how well links were converted. Even things like shown/hidden comment sections that I thought might trip it up came through just fine.

With files in hand, it was straightforward to upload everything S3 and change over the DNS. Now the sites are fast, secure, and not on my server.