Yesterday I got an email from Github Pages that rendering the blog timed out and they could not refresh it. I had no options, there is no “retry” button anywhere, the only thing I could do is to push a dummy update and see if it succeeds.

This free service is a good example of hidden drawbacks. From the marketing pages, Jekyll and Github Pages are the perfect combination. I just need to push the post to the repository and everything is automatically handled for me. No worries, no tedious update process, no maintenance, and no cost.

As I see you should try out the services you are planning to use to see their downsides too. Marketing is only about the bright side, but problems generally occurs in production.

I don’t suggest that Github Pages is a shitty service. On the contrary, I’m glad they provide what they provide. I’m happily using it and I hope things like this happen rarely.

The now discontinued Parse service had a similar route. Parse’s promise was that you don’t need to care about the server side; just write the logic, and they will provide everything else, from persistence to scalability. But StackOverflow was full of disgruntled people lamenting about the opaque processes and undocumented downsides. Until you gave it a test drive, nothing of these came into your attention. But if you’ve already made a business on the platform, it would make it more painful.

Don’t just trust the marketing. Most online services have a trial available; use it. It’s much easier to move away from it if you have no serious businesses involved.