Static site generators are popularly used to create a website, especially for those who want a simple site that doesn’t require a lot of upkeep. It helps users quickly develop a static website without the need for custom coding and compiling each HTML webpage separately. However, it’s important to choose the right one for your project and preferences.
We have put together a list of the seven best static site generators, along with a detailed comparison to help you choose the best for your needs.
What Is a Static Site Generator?
A static website generator is a tool that helps you create a static website without the need for coding. It takes your content, which can be in the form of text, images, and videos, and generates HTML files for each page of your website.
Most online static site generators (SSG) come with built-in site templates so that you can create a website without the need to code each HTML file separately.
Top Static Site Generators: Comparison Chart
|Jekyll||Ruby, Markdown||Liquid||Developing blogs|
|Hugo||Go||Go||Websites with large number of pages|
Here are the best web generators along with their features, pros, and cons.
Gatsby: Best for Building Small Websites and Landing Pages
Gatsby is a react-based SSG that uses GraphQL data layer to help users pull data from anywhere, which is changed into a format that can be used by React components on a page. It also allows both progressive and responsive image loading and supports Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) creation.
Gatsby comes with a wide range of built-in features, such as server-side rendering, asset optimization, code splitting, and data prefetching. It also has a rich plugin ecosystem with plugins for analytics, type checking, internationalization, source control, and more.
Templates: React, Node.js. and GraphQL.
Gatsby Pricing: Custom Pricing as per the requirements.
Pros and Cons of Gatsby
- Open source and free
- Rich plugin ecosystem
- Good for SEO
- Highly scalable
- Requires a lot of learning to set up
- Takes time to build larger websites
Jekyll: Best for Developing Blog Pages
Jekyll is a powerful free and open source static site generator that helps users quickly change plain text into static web pages. It comes with a built-in templating system with thousands of community-contributed templates.
The website generator is written in Ruby and is blog-aware, which means that it is designed to work well with blog content. It also has a large community and a wide range of plugins that you can use to extend its functionality.
Language Supported: Ruby, Markdown
Jekyll Pricing: Free and Open source
Pros and Cons of Jekyll
- Open source and free
- Large community of developers
- Blog aware/li>
- Wide range of plugins
- No dedicated support
- Limited control over the website’s design
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Next.js: Best for Creating High Traffic Websites
Next.js is a react-based static site generator that allows users to create server-rendered react webpages. It comes with features such as automatic code splitting, smart bundling, file-system-based routing, CSS-in-JS, and prefetching. It also has a plugin and extended API system that lets you extend its functionality.
The SSG has built-in caching and server-side rendering that makes it easy to create performant React applications. It also comes with zero-configuration typescript support and Material-UI integration. This enables instant build image optimization, built-in Typescript & CSS support, and supports internationalization though subdomain routing and automated language detection.
Templates: Markdown and React
Next.js Pricing: Free. However, if you want to deploy Next on Vercel, the starting price is Rs 1604 per user.
Pros and Cons of Next.js
- Built-in caching and server-side rendering
- Zero-configuration typescript support
- Material-UI integration
- Hybrid: Server-Side Rendering and Static Site -Generation
- Incremental Static Regeneration
- Difficult to fetch and handle data
- No plugin community
Hugo: Best for Websites with Large Number of Pages
Hugo is designed to be a fast, efficient, and easy-to-use website generator. It comes with a built-in templating system and supports multiple content types, such as articles, blog posts, talks, and slideshows. It also has comprehensive documentation that makes it easy to learn and use.
It has an efficient CMS that supports API-driven content and multiple taxonomies without any plugins. It also features short codes providing greater flexibility than Markdown syntax. It enables web developers to generate output in multiple format other like HTML, JSON and AMP.
Language Supported: Go
Hugo Pricing: Free and Open Source.
Pros and Cons of Hugo
- Supports multiple content types
- Multi-lingual and i18n support
- Pre-designed Hugo Ships templates
- Custom outputs
- Limited number of themes and plugins
- Requires additional server request
Docusaurus: Best for Documentation Websites
Docusaurus is designed especially for documentation websites. It comes with features such as versioning, translations, search, and multilingual support. This SSG also has a live-reload development server, which makes it easy to preview changes.
Docusaurus has an easy-to-use theme system that allows you to customize the look and feel of your website. The static website generator also features a plugin system that lets you add new features and functionalities. Moreover, it supports i18n and has a built-in search engine.
Docusaurus Pricing: Free and Open Source
Pros and Cons of Docusaurus
- Built-in content search
- MDX supportt
- Pluggable architecture
- Document versioning
- Git and crowding translation manager
- Limited number of themes and plugins
- Requires additional server request
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Nuxt: For Developing Progressive Frontend Frameworks
Nuxt is a Vue.js-based static website generator. It has a folder-based manifest file that makes it easy to keep track of your pages and their dependencies. The website generator also has a modular structure that allows you to divide your web application into smaller chunks. Nuxt also supports async data and CSS-in-JS.
Nuxt supports both on-demand server rendering and static site generation. The static website generator also provides strong directory conventions and structure for better collaboration and teamwork. Developers can easily import components with smart-code and fetch web content from any source easily.
Nuxt Pricing: Free
Pros and Cons of Nuxt
- Zero configuration requirements
- Automatic code splitting and routing
- Hybrid rendering
- Tag management
- 160+ Nuxt Modules
- Difficult working with custom library
- Relatively Small Community
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Eleventy (11ty): Best for Building Customized Web Pages from Scratch
Eleventy Pricing: Free and open source
Pros and Cons of Eleventy
- Extremely Lightweight
- Simple folder structure
- Friendly and active developer community
- Reusable Template creation
- No serverless rendering
- No internationalization options
- Data overloading risk
Why Use Static Site Generator
Coding every web page of a static website is not possible for any developer. Here is why every developer should use SSG.
- Eliminates Manual Coding and Compiling
If you are not using a static site generator, you will have to code every web page of your site manually. This is a time-consuming process. And, you will also have to compile your HTML files every time you make a change to your site.
With a static site generator, you can quickly generate the HTML/JSON files for your website. This eliminates the need to code each web page manually and compile the HTML files every time you make a change.
- Reusing Template
Another advantage of using a static site generator is that you can reuse templates. For instance, if you want to create a blog, you can use a template for the blog page and reuse it for every post. This saves a lot of time as you don’t have to code the same page again and again.
- Faster Development
Static site generators help you quickly develop a website as you don’t have to code each page separately. As the generator takes care of the repetitive tasks, you can focus on other aspects of development, such as design and content
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- What are the best static site generators?
There are many available and the best one depends on your requirement. Some of the popular ones are Jekyll, Hugo, and Gatsby.
- Is WordPress a static site generator?
No, WordPress is not a static web page generator. WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that helps you create a dynamic website.
- What is a Static Website
A static website is one that doesn't require a database or any back-end coding. Every webpage of the website is stored in HTML files, which are then displayed in a browser. The content of the website doesn't change based on the requests of users and the webpage displays the same content.
Static websites are fast, secure, and easy to set up and maintain as the content of the website doesn't change with the user's request. It is a popular choice for personal sites, small websites with a few pages, landing pages, etc. And, with the help of online static site generator, you can quickly create a static website without any custom coding.
- How does a static site generator work?
A static site generator takes your content and generates the HTML files for each page of your website. It also comes with a built-in templating system that helps you quickly create a website without the need to code each HTML file separately.
- When to use a static site generator?
A static site generator is best suited for websites that don't require dynamic content. If your website doesn't have content that changes with the user's request, then you can use a SSG.