These are the tools I'm currently using for web development:
- Computer: Toshiba Satellite C55. 4Gb of RAM. Intel Celeron N2830 dual core processor. It's a little underpowered, but it was cheap (~$250) and I bought it a few years ago when I was just beginning to code and I still didn't know if I was going to stick to it for the long haul. So far it does the trick, so I haven't bought a new one. If you want to know what kind of computer you need this article has very good tips.
- Operating System: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Some of the most significant developments in the world of programming and web development are easily accessible from the Linux command line. A Windows machine just doesn't cut it for web development, although in the last year or two Microsoft has thrown in the towel and is embracing open source. They now even have an Ubuntu native app that let's you use a Linux terminal emulator without leaving Windows. Nevertheless, I decided to install Ubuntu Linux in my computer, and so far it has been a good decision.
- Responsive Framework: minimal.css. I decided to create my own style sheet from scratch rather than going with something like Bootstrap, which is really more suitable for larger projects. I love the fact that I can control the look and feel of my site from a light-weight style sheet that I can tweak to my liking every now and then.
- Version Control: Git and Github. If you want to get into programming, you have to learn version control. Version control basically means keeping records of every change you make to your site, and being able to revert to any previous version of your site easily and flawlessly. Git is by far the best version control system in the planet and an industry standard. While Git concepts are not always easy to grasp, you'll likely end up using just a few basic commands, and learning them is definitely doable. Github, not to be confused with Git, is just a website where programmers can post their code and save it in repositories, and where they can use Git from the convenience of the site's GUI. Github was purchased by Microsoft a couple of years ago, when the large Redmont-based company started to focus on open source.
- Text Editor: Visual Studio Code. What text editor to use is perhaps the most fiercely debated question among programmers. I haven't yet met anybody who doesn't like Sublime Text, although the most hard core developers wouldn't be caught dead using something other than Vim. While Sublime Text is perhaps the best blend of power and ease of use, Vim is very hard to learn (after all, it is a clone of the Vi editors that came with early Unix systems). I find Visual Studio Code to be powerful enough for my needs. I especially like the IDE-style interface, where you can see your folders and files to the left, a terminal window at the bottom, and the text editor front and center, so that you don't have to toggle between different windows.
- Hosting: Nginx virtual private server running on an Ubuntu 16.04 droplet at Digital Ocean (referral link). Setting up a VPS is a real pain, and the reason I decided to go that route is because I took it as an aspirational project. If you're looking for easier options to host a personal site, I recommend Github Pages.
- SSL/TLS Certificate by Let's Encrypt, to serve this site through HTTPS (if you decide to host your site in Github Pages or Firebase you get SSL by default).