The Best Static Site Generators For Your Website in 2022
When it comes to building a website, you need to take into consideration two things. Firstly, your content, and the second a content management system (CMS). The content management system merges your content with your chosen website theme, and this is where a static site generator comes into play.
A static site generator takes all your files and creates a static website out of them, and this is beneficial for a number of reasons. However, choosing the right static site generator is important and with so much choice, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.
When choosing an SSG, you should take into consideration a number of factors and assess your business needs individually. Today, we’re going to look at the best static site generators of 2021 to help you decide which is the best static site generator 2022.
What is a Static Site Generator (SSG)?
A static site generator is a tool that generates a full static HTML website based on raw data and a set of templates. Basically – a static site generator automates the task of coding individual HTML pages and gets those pages ready to serve to users ahead of time.
Site generators can be built in pretty much any language.
Why Should You Use a Static Site Generator?
There are many benefits to using a static site generator that you should consider:
- Static site generator is the key to developing JamStack applications.
- It is also a faster way to develop a site.
- They are secure and reliable and offer very few attack vectors.
- It is incredibly dynamic.
- It’s a simple process
- It has great scalability
Best Static Site Generators of 2021
Proving to remain extremely popular amongst its users, Gatsby takes a React-based approach to development. It refers to itself as a ‘progressive web app’ and can work offline and be added to your mobile home screen. It utilizes a GraphQL data pipeline, a famous tool that manages data throughout. It also offers rapid development workflow, which alongside its strong component model, offers fantastic usability and modularity to users.
If you’re familiar with the web component library React, you’re in luck, because Gatsby is built around React. This is sure to make your work much easier as you would have some familiarity with the layout!
However, it’s interesting to note that while performance for end-users is reported to be extremely good, Gatsby is notorious for struggling to offer fast-build times for websites with a large number of pages. This has led to efforts within the company to support build caching and other build-time optimizations.
It offers a wide selection of plugins for different purposes, some of which allow you to source data from Content Management Systems, promotes integration with Alogia, and handles image management.
This year, Gatsby has also increased its performance or image manipulation operations within build time. They have added various automatic image format support in the frontend code it generates.
Next.js is a React-based web framework that is used for building web applicated that is server-side rendered, statically pre-rendered, and hybrid SSG/SSR applications. The program offers a wide variety of built-in tools, making routing, state and code-splitting that little bit easier.
Next.js has surged in popularity throughout 2021, especially amongst the Jamstack community, thanks to its ability to deliver sites of larger sizes. It has the ability to build super-fast static websites that behaves like dynamic. It is also great for user experience (UX), search engine optimization (SEO), and for community support.
Because it utilizes tighter coupling between the framework and hosting platform than others, it has required additional development to support some of its features. If you’re looking for a better user experience, above-average performance, and rapid feature development, this is the framework for you.
If you like the Python programming language and Jinja2 as a templating language, this is the generator for you, as Pelican is written in exactly that. Using the Python language unlocks the potential to expand your website in many ways.
Using Pelican, you can import site data from WordPress, so migrating sites from WordPress to a static site generation is super easy compared to other SSGs. Because WordPress is supported by Pelican, you don’t have to worry about losing or destroying your site’s set up and moving data over is a breeze. If that wasn’t enough, it can move a whole website, not just blogging.
However, if you’re not familiar with Python language, navigating Pelican can be a bit difficult. Python also has to be installed on your computer for Pelican to work. In addition to this, there is also limited help around working Python for those unfamiliar. If you have some experience and skills in using Python language, Pelican is a great place to start.
Jekyll works by taking the static HTML from your website to convert it into a working static site. It is built with the Ruby programming language, so can be a little difficult to set up if you are a Windows user. This is because it required a Sid environment to be installed. Thankfully, if you’re not familiar with this, Jekyll offers great documentation and support as part of its installation process.
There is no need for a database with Jekyll as all content is stored in text files and can be accessed simply through your preferred text editor.
Hugo is known for its easy setup process and friendly user experience. On Gilab, it is currently rated higher than 30,000 stars. Put simply, it works by taking content and templates and turning them into a working HTML website.
Hugo runs anywhere. All you need is to download it. There’s no need for databases, external libraries, or runtimes. Hugo-sites can be used on Dropbox, Github, Pages, and a range of other web hosting services, making this static site generator super flexible for everyone.
Flexibility and user experience come naturally to Hugo. You can declare the types of content you use and even define your own Metabase. Did we mention that you can also use any URL structure for organizing content? It is widely portable and built on many of the principles established by Jekyll.
Hugo is built to be as quick as possible. A whole site can be built in a millisecond and is designed to make website rebuilding super-efficient. Many coins Hugo as the fastest SSG on the market.
However, Hugo has one flaw. It uses Go programming language which amongst today’s web developers, is not very common. Despite this, it remains very popular with sites deployed on various hosting platforms and is loved by users all over the world.
It’s difficult to comment on the popularity of Eleventy as its design is transparent, leaving no signature within the sites it generates. Despite this, Eleventy has gained awareness within certain parts of the web development community, especially those who are interested in performance and want to retain complete control over their site output.
On average, you can build a site within 30 minutes using Eleventy, which is quite impressive. Delays in build times are a common disappointment within the community, so it’s refreshing to see such as different approach. When you build your SSG on top of a framework it naturally adds your build time.
Eleventy is also praised for its strong website performance. Eleventy has become a preferred choice for web developers in the last year, however, it’s important to note that it does require more familiarity with technical parts. There are also little documentation or tutorials available, so this is not for beginners.
Nikola includes everything you need to build a beautiful static site. It offers everything from highly detailed templates that supports blogs and full websites to image galleries and a range of themes and plug-ins.
Similarly, to Pelican, Nikola works with Python, so to use it you need to have some level of familiarity with the language, meaning again this is not one for beginners. If you are a little bit more technical than most, Nikola is a great option for you.
Nikola offers a lot of themes, but unfortunately, they are not as extensive as other static site generators. If you’re looking for a creative website, you may want to look at alternatives.
However, if rebuild speed is something you’re after, you can rely on Nikola for that.
So, there you have it. Everything you need to know about the best static site generators for 2022. When choosing which one is best for you, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each and your needs when looking to build. You should take into consideration your technical ability, content, and the time you realistically can dedicate to building it.
Do you have a favorite when it comes to the best static site generators you can use?