Site44 Blog

Changes to Starter Plan

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Site44 is changing its free Starter plan. Effective immediately, hosting custom domains will require a paid plan. In addition, the Starter plan will now be limited to a single website.

These changes do not affect existing websites.

To learn more about the benefits of upgrading to the Personal plan or the Professional plan, please visit our Learn More page.

Site44 strives to deliver absurdly simple web hosting. We hope you are enjoying our service and we look forward to continuing to serve you in the future.

Webscript Integration With Site44

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Planet Rational’s other service, Webscript, provides hosted scripting in the cloud. Webscript integration provides a simple way to add dynamic capabilities to your Site44 websites. Webscript hosts and serves scripts written in the Lua programming language.

Although cross-domain AJAX calls are supported in all modern browsers, their differing implementations cause compatibility issues. We support integration between Site44 and Webscript to avoid these issues. Enabling this integration causes Site44 to forward AJAX calls to Webscript, avoiding cross-domain calls altogether.

Enabling Webscript integration on Site44 requires a few simple steps:

  1. Click the “Enable Webscript integration” button on the account tab of the admin page. This is only done once per account.
  2. On the websites tab, there will now be a Webscript icon for each website.
  3. Clicking the Webscript icon will present a dialog where you specify which Webscript subdomain will handle AJAX calls to your website.

Once a Webscript subdomain (e.g., is associated with a Site44 website, all web requests with verbs other than GET and HEAD will be forwarded to the specified Webscript subdomain. (So a GET to /bar will be served by Site44, but a POST to /bar will be served by

Buying Custom Domains for Site44

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Site44 is very pleased to be partnering with iwantmyname to make the process of buying a domain and using it with Site44 easy. Many Site44 customers want to have custom domains but don’t own their desired domains and find the idea of fiddling with DNS entries a little daunting. Fortunately, iwantmyname hides all that complexity. When a Site44 customer purchases a new domain from them, iwantmyname will do all the necessary DNS twiddling to make requests to that domain point to Site44.

iwantmyname will set up your www subdomain (e.g., and they will make the top-level domain forward to that www domain, so, for instance, will forward to Basically, iwantmyname sets everything up for you the way you’d expect it to be.

Once a domain has been purchased from iwantmyname, all that’s necessary to begin serving that domain from Site44 is to create that website on Site44’s admin page.

We hope that you find this helpful in creating your own custom domains to be served by Site44.

To buy your own domain to use with Site44 from iwantmyname, follow this link:

(We should also note that Site44 has no business relationship with iwantmyname. They do all this to delight their customers, and we are glad that such a service exists for our customers.)

Learning HTML

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When we created Site44, we did so with the belief that many people wanted the easiest possible way to host their HTML/JavaScript/CSS files. Unsurprisingly, we found that to be true. What we also learned was that many people recognized that Site44 was a great host for people just learning or sharpening their HTML skills.

As an aid to those improving their HTML skills, we thought we’d share links to free, online resources:

Of course, to edit your files, you’ll need an editor. At Site44, we enjoy using SublimeText 2, which you may also enjoy. It’s easy to use, free to try, and supports nice features like syntax highlighting.

We hope you find these resources useful!

Custom 404 (Page Not Found) Pages

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One useful feature of Site44 is the ability it provides you to control the page that your visitors will see if they browse to a page that does not exist. Rather than just giving a generic message on a generic background—typical of many websites—you can specify the exact webpage that you would like delivered to visitors of non-existent pages.

When a visitor attempts to access a non-existent file, Site44 will serve the file “404.html” that exists in the top-level folder for that domain. (The file would be Dropbox/Apps/site44/<domain-name>/404.html.)

What should go in that 404.html page? As is true with so much of the web, there’s been no shortage of thoughts written on this topic. Here are a few links for you to consider when creating your own 404 page:

I hope you find those useful in designing your custom 404 page for your Site44-hosted websites.

Potential Site44 Security Breach

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Planet Rational’s Amazon Web Services credentials have been inadvertently exposed, potentially leaking Site44 user data. We’ve sent the following email to all of our customers:

Planet Rational’s Amazon Web Services credentials have been inadvertently exposed, potentially leaking Site44 user data. (Planet Rational is the company behind Site44.) While we don’t know that any data was accessed, we do know that it was possible.

What you need to do

To minimize any risk to users, we have revoked Site44’s access to users’ Dropbox accounts, effective immediately. To restore access, you will need to click the following link: and reauthorize Site44. This will create a new folder called something like “Apps/site44 (1).” You will need to move all your existing websites to this new directory. (If this folder name bothers you, you might consider renaming your existing Apps/site44 to something else, like Apps/site44.bak, before you reauthorize.)

Until you do that, Site44 will be unable to synchronize with your Dropbox account. Your websites will remain online, but changes you make won’t be picked up.

Note that your Dropbox password was not at risk, and the only folder that may have been compromised is your Apps/site44 folder, as this is the only folder that Site44 has access to.

For users who have password-protected websites, we further recommend that you change those passwords. To do this, log in to and click the lock icon next to your password-protected website.

What happened?

We made a human error despite a review process meant to catch such errors. On our other service,, we published an example that showed customers how to use Amazon’s S3 service from Webscript. In building that script, we made use of our Amazon credentials, and we inadvertently published those credentials in the example code. These credentials have already been changed, but there was a window in which the credentials were visible and active.

In the future, we will never use Planet Rational’s AWS credentials in any examples, and we are adopting a more rigorous checklist-based process to make sure we don’t leak any secrets in code examples.

We are very sorry for this. We take security seriously but made a mistake.

In addition to this email, we will be writing a post on the Site44 blog ( about what happened.

If you have any questions or concerns, please simply reply to this email.


Steve Marx and Todd Proebsting (Planet Rational founders)

We take security seriously. We can be reached at any time at

Site44 Exits Beta and Introduces Paid Accounts

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We at Site44 are happy to announce that our service is leaving Beta status. Since our Beta launch in June, we’ve received lots of great feedback from our early adopters, improved the service, and delivered what we believe to be the simplest web hosting service in the world. We were delighted when Lifehacker recently featured our service.

The only real change evident from Site44 leaving Beta is that we will now offer three types of account plans: Starter (Free), Personal ($4.95/month), and Professional ($9.95/month). The right plan for you will depend on how many websites you publish and how much traffic those sites generate. For most of you, the free Starter plan will suffice. It supports up to five websites and 100MB of monthly traffic. Those who are enjoying more sites or traffic will need to upgrade to the appropriate paid plan.

To upgrade to a paid plan, log in to the Site44 admin page and click on the “subscription” tab. There you can find the details of the different plans, and you can also see your current usage.

To begin with, we are putting everybody on the Starter plan. Those needing to upgrade should do so by October 30, 2012.

Our thanks go to all of you who have adopted Site44 during the Beta period—we look forward to continuing to serve you in the future!

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email us at

Using Dropbox’s Delta API: Lessons Learned From Site44

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We’re proud to announce that the Dropbox developer blog is featuring our guest post today about how we use their Delta API to help keep your websites up to date:

Dropbox has a rich API that allows developers to query and manipulate data in Dropbox. One of the newest additions to the API is /delta, an efficient way to keep track of changes to a user’s Dropbox. This API has been available in production since March of this year, and we at Site44 have been developing with it since its beta in February. Along the way, we developed some best practices for making effective use of this valuable API.

Visit the Dropbox developer blog to read the rest.

Site44 Now Reports Account Usage Metrics

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We recently rolled out some changes to Site44 in anticipation of offering paid accounts. The Admin page ( now reports usage metrics for accounts, including total bandwidth usage as well as the number of sites in use.

These reports also indicate whether or not the usage conforms to the limits Site44 imposes on the various account levels. This, of course, is confusing right now because all accounts are currently free and some accounts are exceeding the free limits. Don’t worry, we’ll be rolling out paid accounts soon, so you can sign up for the account that will fit your usage.

As always, please give us any feedback you have—we are always trying to improve Site44.

CoffeeScript and LESS in Site44 With WebMatrix 2

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I’m happy to report that WebMatrix 2 shipped today. WebMatrix is a lightweight (and free!) web development tool. It excels at editing HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, which makes it a natural fit to use with Site44. This latest release also adds first-class support for CoffeeScript and LESS.

Getting started with WebMatrix and Site44

If you’re not already a Site44 user, please give it a try. All you need is a Dropbox account, and creating a free website takes only a minute. To create a site, browse to Site44 and click “Sign in with Dropbox.” Once you’ve signed in, click “Create a new website,” give it a name, and you’re done!

At this point, you should have a new folder in Dropbox. Any changes you make in that folder are directly reflected on your website. (When I did this, I called my website “,” so my folder is called “Dropbox\Apps\site44\”)

When you open up WebMatrix, choose “open folder as a site,” and browse to the folder in Dropbox. That’s all you need to do to edit a Site44 website with WebMatrix.

Using CoffeeScript and LESS

CoffeeScript and LESS are languages that compile to JavaScript and CSS, respectively. WebMatrix 2 supports both right out of the box. When you create a new file, click on “All” to show all supported file types, and you’ll see CoffeeScript and LESS there.

WebMatrix has nice support (including syntax-highlighting and autocomplete) for these languages, but note that browsers don’t understand them natively, so you need to compile them down to JavaScript and CSS for them to work.

WebMatrix can actually do that compilation for us, through an extension called “OrangeBits.” To enable this functionality, you’ll need to click on the “Gallery” button in the ribbon. This opens the extension gallery, and from there you can choose OrangeBits and install it. (This all takes just a few seconds, and you only need to do it once.)

Once you’ve installed OrangeBits, every time you save a .coffee or .less file, it will automatically be compiled to a corresponding .js or .css file. OrangeBits itself is open source, so if you want to learn more about how it works, check it out on GitHub.

An example

When I was playing around with CoffeeScript and LESS in WebMatrix, I built a little site at It’s an utterly useless website, but I hope it serves as an example of what you can do when you combine WebMatrix with Site44.

The HTML of the page is simple:

<!doctype html>
  <title>Playing with WebMatrix</title>
    <link rel="stylesheet" href="StyleSheet.css" />
    <script src="" type="text/javascript"></script>
    <script src="clicky.js"></script>
    <div id="main">
        <h1>WebMatrix + Site44 = web development joy! :-)</h1>
        <button id="clickMe">Click Me</button>

Notice that I’m referencing clicky.js and StyleSheet.css. Those are being automatically generated from CoffeeScript and LESS. The CoffeeScript handles button clicks and uses jQuery to toggle a CSS class on the content part of the page:
$ ->
    $('#clickMe').click -> $('#main').toggleClass 'reverse'

Here are a few tips to understanding CoffeeScript:

  1. The arrow operator translates to function () { ... }. This saves a lot of typing when writing callbacks and event handlers.
  2. Functions can be called Ruby-style (with a space instead of parentheses). foo bar, baz translates to foo(bar, baz).

The stylesheet is created by a similar process. Here’s the source:

.box-shadow(@style, @c) when (iscolor(@c)) {
  box-shadow:         @style @c;
  -webkit-box-shadow: @style @c;
  -moz-box-shadow:    @style @c;
.box-shadow(@style, @alpha: 50%) when (isnumber(@alpha)) {
  .box-shadow(@style, rgba(0, 0, 0, @alpha));

@color: #a0a0c0;

body {
    background-color:  @color;
    font-family:  Arial;

#main {
    background-color:  lighten(@color, 30%);
    border:  solid 1px desaturate(@color, 50%);
    .box-shadow(2px 2px 10px, 30%);
    width:  800px;
    padding:  30px;
    margin:  auto;

#main.reverse {
    background-color:  darken(@color, 30%);
    h1 {
        color:  white;

Here are a few things to notice about LESS:

  1. Those .box-shadow rules are essentially reusable subroutines. These “mixins,” as they’re called, can save a ton of copy/pasting when writing CSS.
  2. There’s a variable: @color, and it’s manipulated in a few places (lighten, desaturate, and darken). I can change the entire style of the page by just changing that variable, rather than having to update four different colors.
  3. Instead of having to write #main.reverse h1 { ... }, I was able to just nest the h1 rule inside the #main.reverse rule. This nesting makes the styles easier to read and maintain.

“Just save”

WebMatrix’s support for CoffeeScript and LESS (via the OrangeBits extension) shares a common philosophy with Site44, which is that you should be able to just save a file and be done. When you save a .coffee or .less file, WebMatrix automatically compiles it into .js or .css. And when you save anything to your folder in Dropbox, Site44 automatically picks up those changes and reflects them in your website. In this way, WebMatrix makes a great addition to your Site44 workflow.

Download WebMatrix