Setting up own font server: Advice needed


#1

After a few conversations I’ve had this week I’m considering setting up my own font server.I use 90% Google fonts and 10% self-hosted (within RW projects) paid for fonts. My plan would be to download the Google fonts I use and serve them from my own server.

My reason for doing so isn’t an issue with Google, more so one of independence.

Is this a stupid idea?

Almost all the images I use on my sites are stored in a central “warehouse” at a subdomain of a domain name I use for assets and stuff. I do this regardless of the site domain, my only condition is that the site domain is on the same physical server. I’ve done things this way for almost 20 years, never had an issue.

I was thinking the same for fonts. So, they’d all be at fonts.assets.com, then I guess in their individual folders; so fonts.assets.com/lobster2 etc.

Would this work?

I’m thinking during the dev of a site I’d call the fonts from Google, then once the client is 100% on the font choice I’d swap to hosting them myself.

A big question, which I think I know the answer too: Would hosting fonts like this put much stress on the server? My guess is no, not when you consider images are stored there already, etc. But it’s worth asking the questions.

Comments, abuse, advice, etc. welcome.


#2

You can download all the google web fonts from here http://google-webfonts-helper.herokuapp.com/fonts

If you have one common location for all fonts/all sites then it’ll have to potentially deliver multiple files to multiple sites simultaneously, if it’s not up to snuff then it could be a bottleneck.

Why not just have an assets/fonts folder In each site with just the fonts that site uses?


#3

I agree. Keep it simple.

Make a folder with all the fonts you want and add this to every site you build and delete the fonts you don’t want.


#4

Ah, yes, didn’t think of that.

Hmm, in theory, yes, but it adds substantially to the workload…

I use Jannis’s Repo stack for this sort of thing, as it just a simple drag and drop (no flaffing in FTP), to do this per site/domain means installing repo, and adding unique fonts for that site. I tend to use a range of a dozen or so Google fonts, so there would be repetition.

I guess if I were to think that above comment thru a bit more, a simpler solution would come to me, but really I wanted to have everything centralized.

Might have a rethink on the whole idea.

Cheers.


#5

OK, so what about using RW Resources (insert spitting sound here)?

At the mo I’m rebuilding one of my own sites, it’s present location is www.domain.com/new/

I assume I can drag the font folder into resources and publish to get it on the server, then add it to the font manager stack thingie as /fontname/

When the site moves to it’s new location: www.domain.com/ the font folder will be in it’s new home and url to it will be the same?

I know this is basic stuff normally, but i have a deep mistrust of RW Resources, so want to check it doesn’t do daft things with the url.

Or, should i just stop being a dick and use GF’s like everyone else?


#6

Just use a decent FTP app - it is much much less hassle than using a RW only solution. Transmit for example has full finder integration so it is as simple as drag and drop to a desktop droplet if you want and totally reliable. Using Stacks is cumbersome, using RW resources is doomed to fail.


#7

Figured.

I’ve used the FTP approach before, but because I work across four different machines, it’s just easier to use repo. Bit more cumbersome to setup, but easier afterwards. Obviously, still use FTP for things you have to use FTP for, but for getting files and stuff on the server, Repo every time for me.

Anyway, I’ve had a moment of clarity and decided to stop being a dick* and just use GF like everyone else.

*Only about this, I’m still going to be a dick about most other things.


#8

I create an assets folder in the root folder of the new site and drop anything I need to warehouse in it.
I then do my test site in a subdomain, anything I link to from the assets folder in the project will have the proper path and wont have to be edited when I move the site from the subdomain to the main one like I would have to if I had the assets folder in the subdomain.


#9

I get the google thing, use the site I posted above, download the relevant .woff files and then host them on the site’s server like you would any other font.


#10

Or convert the woff to Base64 and don’t bother hosting


#11

Aidy - can you explain the benefits and limitations of such conversion? How would this be implemented in practise?


#12

I got this from @tav

Basically you use this converter to convert the woff to Base64.

You can paste the string into Font Pro

I guess the major pro is you are not pulling in an outside file when the page loads, whether it’s a warehoused font or Typekit etc. The font is baked into the site.

Also ahem, (cough) it means you can use any fonts (copied, borrowed or otherwise) and have no webpage count of usage (cough)


#13

If you are using Foundry, just drop a font.woff file into Resourses. I was very dubious about this approach initially but have used it many times without any issues I can see and no issues have been reported).

Using RW7 too.


#14

I use assets folder. I publish locally so that my website and my created assets folder is in one place, then use Transmit and its folder sync option to upload. It frees up RW so I can keep working on more changes while Transmit uploads… which is super handy with a full republish… who likes staring at the screen while 500 files upload?

Also this helps when updating logos in the assets folder, Transmit will sync the changed/updated files without me having to guess while assets I just changed.

It’s easily the best workflow I have used to date and saves me tons of time and agony.