Is there a comprehensive and/or up-to-date set of recommendations for simple, static HTTP servers anywhere?
After years of trying to lock down Apache, PHP, CMSs, etc. and keep up to date on vulnerabilities and patches, I opted to switch to a static site and a simple HTTP server to reduce my attack surface and the possibility of misconfiguration.
thttpd seems to be the classic option, but I’m a little wary of it due to past security issues apparent lack of maintainance (would be fine if it were “done”, but security issues make that less credible). I’m currently using darkhttpd after seeing it recommended on http://suckless.org/rocks
Edit: I upvoted the third-party hosting suggestions (S3, CloudFlare, etc.) since that’s clearly the most practical; for personal stuff I still prefer self-hosted FOSS though :)
If all you need is static http you don’t have to host it yourself. I host my blog in Amazon S3 (because I wanted to add SSL and GitHub didn’t support that last year) and for the last 13 months it’s costs me about $0.91 / month, and about two thirds of that is Route 53 :-)
AWS gives you free SSL certificates, which was one of the main drivers for me to go with that approach.
I use S3 / CloudFront for static HTTP content. It’s idiot proof (important for idiots like me!), highly reliable, and I spend less every year on it than I spend on a cup of coffee.
The only real security risk I worried about was that someone could DDoS the site and run up my bill, but I deployed a CloudWatch alarm tied to a Lambda to monitor this. It’s never fired. I think at my worst month I used 3% of my outbound budget :)
I’ve always wondered why AWS doesn’t provide a spending limit feature… it can’t be due to a technical reason, right? I know their service is supposed to be more complex, but even the cheapest VPS provider gives you this option, often enabled by default. I can only conclude they decided they don’t want that kind of customer.
I also worried about the risk of “DDoS causing unexpexted cost” when I was looking for a place to host my private DNS zones. To me it appeared that the free Cloudflare plan (https://www.cloudflare.com/plans/) was the best fit (basically free unmetered service).
Would using that same free plan be a safer choice than Cloudfront from a cost perspective?
You’d be hard pressed to go wrong with httpd from the OpenBSD project. It’s quite stable, it’s been in OpenBSD base for a while now. It’s lack of features definitely keeps it in the simple category. :)
There is also NGINX stable branch. it’s not as simple as OpenBSD’s option, but is stable, maintained and is well hardened by being very popular.
In hurricane architecture, they used Nginx (dynamic caching) -> Varnish (static caching) -> HAProxy (crypto) -> optional Cloudfare for acceleration/DDOS. Looked like a nice default for something that needed a balance of flexibility, security, and performance. Depending on one’s needs, Nginx might get swapped for a simpler server but it gets lots of security review.
I’ll also note for OP both this list of web servers.
Check out this.
Yeah, I also like this similar list, but neither provide value judgements about e.g. whether it’s sane to leave such things exposed to the Internet unattended for many years (except for OS security updates).