gifting websites

Mar 08, 2020 – Leo Robinovitch

Over the past year or so, I have gifted friends a few websites. I think the sites are fun, relatively unique gifts. As a bonus serve, they illustrate some of my progression with basic html/css/javascript static websites.

Site 1:


I set up an Amazon S3 bucket for static hosting, bought a namecheap domain name, configured the custom DNS, and voila - I now pay $1/month to host this profanity-laden ASCII art. 90% of the time went to setting up, hosting and routing the content - I spent about 20mins on the actual index.html file.

When my content first appeared when I typed in to my browser, I was so stoked. I was suddenly a contributor to the previously untouchable monolith of public knowledge, beauty and idiocy that is the internet.

Avery was a fan! Much as I felt when this site went live, it’s generally pretty cool to have a public URI that points out your existence. Anyone can see it anywhere from any connected device. For me, this also brings a healthy level of discomfort.

Site 2:


A similar gift exchange with the same group of friends rolled around this year, this time for Valentine’s Day - a “sexy” gift exchange. I decided to step up my website gifting game with some basic interactivity. What’s a sexier gift than a static website with some basic javascript?

Since the days of, I had taken a few courses on and learned how to style up a mostly-responsive site by building this one you’re on now. My site is currently hosted through Github Pages connected to a namecheap domain. I realized I could save the $1/month AWS fee (and a bunch of setup time) by creating a github account for Letti and doing the same thing there for her site.

Since the setup was so quick, I was actually able to focus on the styling and content of the site a lot more. It was fun to mess around with something that ended up pretty much looking like a customized MySpace page.

Site 3:


Kat was hosting her blog on, and without paying the annual fee, the subdomain was displayed in the URI. How could anyone take the content seriously with such a subdomain!? It was absolutely necessary for me to invest hours into porting the content to an entirely new platform.

I made Kat buy the domain name on namecheap and gave her a list of Jekyll themes. She picked one she liked and I emulated the layout and style, again hosting it on Github Pages. I think it looks quite nice.

In conclusion, websites can make a great gift for any occasion. These little projects taught me a lot about how the web works–I started from quite an unknowledgeable place–and I enjoyed making them a lot!