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Using nginx/varnish as a caching reverse proxy in front of apache/php is rather common. You get all the ease of use of Apache (mod_rewrite instant .htaccess rule changes, mod_php, etc.) , ability to use whatever cpu intensive plugins/code you want in your application, and once the page is cached it loads instantly for as long as you cache it. Nginx can be configured to serve static assets directly or your app can use CDN links.

I've never really understood the recent fascination with static site generators. I get that it's neat you can upload just everything to S3 and host it there with no servers, but then if you want to change something site wide you have to reload everything. Dynamic app + with caching reverse proxy + optional CDN is a tried and true method. I've been on projects that use this method with small VMs to power sites with tons of traffic.

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