Creating a website that operates as intended indeed takes a great deal of effort, time, and experience. A top-notch static site generator makes your website building journey more fun so that you never feel exhausted. Moreover, you may concentrate on other essential aspects of a website to ensure that it achieves its ultimate goal.
Basically, a static site generator can leverage the personalized web templates to mix them with information gathered from multiple resources to produce and launch web pages in seconds. As a consequence, you'll be able to quickly develop new pages and content without relying on any CMS, plugins, or third-party services. It's all in the house!
The best static site generators can simultaneously produce high-quality pages by maintaining precision and agility. They can also accommodate a wide range of template, theme, and plugin-related functionality, as well as content from a multitude of sources. This is why the popularity of static site generators is growing higher every day.
Currently, there are 300+ Static Site Generators available. But to save you from becoming paralyzed by analysis, we are presenting our list of Best Static Site Generators in 2023. This will surely assist you in choosing the ideal tool for your next static website.
While learning about the best SSG, you will also learn:
- What is a static site generator?
- Why should You Choose A Static Site Generator?
- Benefits of the Best Static Site Generator
- Things to Consider While Choosing a Static Site Generator
What is a Static Site Generator (SSG)?
Static Site Generators are different from CMS-based website creators. It assists developers in creating quicker, lightweight, and static websites. You can create a visually enhanced website within a short period with an SSG.
While building your static site, you will be using templates and raw data for a headless CMS. Most importantly, without taking the coding headache, you will be doing it via HTML.
Static site generators (SSG) combine data and content with templates to create a page view that will be provided to site visitors. The most significant distinction between SSG and regular web app stack is that a static site generator produces a page's view in advance. So, it does not delay until it is requested or each time it is demanded. It displays the requested page during the build time.
Consider a static site generator as a script that receives data, content, and templates, process them, and generates a folder containing all the web pages and resources.
It has a variety of beneficial consequences, the most notable of which is that you can transfer this work away from "request time" (whenever users desire a page view) towards "build time," which is irrelevant when users request a page view. This " decoupled " structure breaks the link between the number of visitors to a site and the expense of generating the views to support all those visits is broken by this "decoupled" structure.
Why Should You Choose A Static Site Generator?
Static site generators are the essential element of Jamstack application development. Most of the benefits of Jamstack are visible because of the best static site generators. So, let’s see why you should choose one to create your next website crafting project.
Since there is no involvement of server-side applications, databases, or third-party services, static sites are blazing fast. If you’ve considered that static assets should be hosted through CDN rather than depending on web servers. As a consequence, you will be getting all the elements prepared for launching a lightning-fast site.
Reliable Security Standards
Although you cannot say that a website is completely safe, static sites have a limited number of attack routes. There isn't any database to break into, no application server to jeopardize. There is no web server that can be accessed by operating at the edge of a CDN. Jamstack apps mostly depend on third-party services for build-time or run-time data. But those data come with their own set of risks.
Static site generators do not go down like traditional server-side apps. This is because there is no database connection that can fail, no server that can go down, no runtime issues that can result in a failure. But if a build fails due to an error, the site will continue to function with previously created assets. If your website faces a sudden surge in traffic, static assets scale with it.
If you are thinking "Static" means limited functionality in your site then you are wrong. However, you are biased if you are thinking your site is dynamic and you can't use a static site generator to build a site similar to it. But don't be fooled by the usage of Static. Static sites can perform practically anything a server-based web app or site can. All you need to do is utilize the proper API services at build time and on the client-side.
Generally, Static site generators contain dynamic content. This is exactly what they are designed for but during build time instead of run time. This feature can originate from a source containing JSON, YAML, or Markdown data or API.
It has become a common practice to use a third-party headless content management system to produce static assets on a static website. The content is often retrieved from the API during the build process in order to produce static assets using the SSG.
These are the services available to implement dynamic features in Static Sites:
- To handle backend functionalities, use AWS Lambda and Azure functions
- Use Decap to manage all the backend functionalities, tools, and website building ecosystem into a single workflow.
- For handling secured access and identity purposes use Auth0
- To Include search functionality you can use Algolia
- To add complete eCommerce functionalities, use Snipcart
You can implement a plethora of features into your static site by exploring more features of Static site generators.
We’ve mentioned some of the considerations that you should make before choosing the best static site generators. However, when you go through the best static site generators, you'll notice that there are a few more things to consider. So, let's not spend any more of your time and explore the best static site generators and how they may help you with your site-building efforts.
Best Static Site Generators In 2023
Each of the static site generators we considered has its own set of features and specialties. So, let's have a look at some of the most popular SSG available out there:
Next.js - Most Popular Static Site Generator
Next.js is more than just a Static site generator; it's a comprehensive React ecosystem that can be used for a large number of applications. Numerous developers who are already familiar with React have expressed interest in this React-based SSG.
To operate with Next.js, you will require both the React.js framework and the Node.js ecosystem. You can utilize this framework to craft a completely server-side rendered (SSR) or statically pre-rendered web applications (SSG), as well as hybrid SSG or SSR applications.
Next.js can be utilized to produce pages either at build time or to load them at request time. It is a hybrid system due to multiple supports, including image support, analytics, file system, API routes, CSS (built-in) support, etc.
Next.js is currently being used by many leading brands in the market, which explains its popularity. For example, the trending video marketing platform TikTok. The main drawback is the steep learning curve since you'll need to be familiar with Next.js, React.js, and Node.js to get rolling with your static site. Therefore, we recommend you check out more on this framework.
- Getting started with Next.Js
- Learn Next.Js - Official Tutorial
- Next.Js Templates
- Next.Js Conference - The future of React and Next.Js
- Discord Community
Hugo - Fastest Static Site Generator
Now, let's talk about the second best on our list, Hugo. This SSG is based on the Go programming language that was forged by Google and is renowned for its extraordinary performance and speed. For this reason, HUGO officially declared its platform as the fastest static site-building framework.
HUGO comes with over 300 themes that will assist you in creating the best appearance for your sites. The templates of this framework can also help you with typical site-building chores such as SEO optimization, adding analytics or comments, and so on.
Hugo is a combination of sleek design patterns and a lot of adaptabilities. This solution operates in several languages due to multilingual support. Also, it offers an endless number of content types. To go beyond the basic functionalities you can utilize markdown syntax, shortcodes, and different output formats. Most importantly, you can easily upload Hugo-built sites on any server.
Hugo is open source, which means it may run on any major platform and is entirely free. Whenever you need a quick, easy-to-use site generator but don't want to pay any money, try Hugo. To learn more about this amazing SSG, check out their rich documentation.
- Hugo Official Documentation
- Getting Started With Hugo (Video Tutorial)
- Premium Hugo Themes
- Hugo Community Forum
- Best CMS For Hugo
- WordPress to Hugo Migration
Gatsby is holding the crown in our list of static site generators, and for a good reason. This static site generator is based on well-known React.js technology. As a result, it offers a fantastic user interface with out-of-the-box features.
Thanks to React.js, the pages load at lightning speed, and the next pages are pre-fetched. It gives a sense of a progressive Web App or native app.
With a constantly growing community, Gatsby offers more than 2000 plugins. This makes it simple to locate a plugin for almost any task you have in mind. For example, an extension that pulls posts from a CMS-based website and converts them into a static site is available.
Gatsby also offers backup, including cloud service that makes crafting and hosting static websites easier than ever before. Besides, the professional assistance of this platform always helps you enhance your site’s performance to the next level. Ultimately, you will be able to get your desired traffic on your site and gain increased revenue.
Using Gatsby, you can implement a lot more to your static website. You can check out their enriched community and thorough documentation to explore more about it.
- Gatsby Documentation
- Official Youtube Channel
- Gatsby Starter Themes
- Discord Community
- Free Gatsby Theme Directory
Eleventy (11ty) - Simple Static Site Generator
If you don't have technical expertise, many static site generators might be intimidating. But Eleventy is one of the best static site generators that strives to break the mold by focusing on simplicity. Though the official website of eleventy promotes simplicity, that doesn’t mean it lacks features.
Eleventy builds solid HTML, which accounts for its performance. Its support for autonomous template engines, on the other hand, makes it a tool for professionals.
You can use up to 10 template languages to create your dream website with this platform. The fun part is that you can write the languages all on the same page, including HTML, Markdown, Liquid, and many others.
Maybe you're a seasoned developer searching for the right SSG to help you create a one-of-a-kind website. You'll also want to customize the site to your preferences. We recommend you use Eleventy without wandering around.
In our list of static site generators, Jekyll has been around for a long time (Since 2008). It is the most renowned open-source SSG for a good reason. It's worth noting that this free static site hosting service powers GitHub pages.
Since Jekyll is coded with Ruby, it's an excellent option for Ruby on Rails developers. You can utilize this engine to craft simple blogging websites and personalized or professional web projects such as GitHub.
Because Jekyll is a blog-friendly static site generator, migrating any blog website is easy to execute. It can swiftly extract all the required information from a site's pages, posts, categories, and more. You can make use of HTML, CSS Markdown, Liquid to construct any template.
Due to Jekyll's long presence in the marketplace, it is maintained and backed by a huge community. You can host your site in GitHub for free because it runs via Jekyll. So, without any further due, please check out the documentation of Jekyll.
Nuxt.js is sometimes referred to as the Vue edition of Next.js. However, it does follow most of the similar principles and functionalities, just like its React-based counterpart.
With this framework, you don't need to start from the ground up to use the progressive web application features. This is because it's built on modular web architecture. Moreover, the bundle analyzer of this ecosystem can assist you in tweaking your website.
With 50+ modules of Nux.js, you are getting the groundwork for creating and launching universal online apps and websites. You may produce a static version of your site using a personalized Webpack setup.
Hexo is a Node.js-based static site generator that is simple and easy to use. It’s most typically used for developing ordinary blog sites, and it enables utilizing templates from other engines, simplifying the development process for JS developers a snap.
Your blog site can be deployed to Heroku, GitHub Pages, or any other comparable platform with only one command in Hexo. It's a free and open-source framework that lets you create blazing-fast blog sites in a matter of seconds.
Moreover, Hexo permits all the functionalities of the GitHub infused Markdown and Octopress plugins. The plugin system of this platform is really amazing since it allows you to install a variety of plugins for the programming languages such as CoffeeScript and Jade.
Gridsome is a potent static site generator that offers a lot of features. It can be used to build web pages using advanced tools such as Vue.js and GraphQL.
With this static site generator, you can create a "head" for the CMS. This SSG might be used to produce static pages using the resources collected from WordPress, which is a "headless" CMS.
The main benefit of headless CMS is that you will be getting all the features of static pages along with the complete spectrum of CMS capability. To put it another way, you will have access to databases, extensive taxonomies, and even full-fledged text editors.
Gridsome offers a large number of plugins that you may apply to increase this SSG's capabilities. If you are not getting an exceptional feature that meets your requirements, you can utilize the plugin for that.
Lastly, we can say, Gridsome is one of the best static site generators available if you’re already familiar with Vue.js. To learn more about Gridsome you can check out their thorough documentation section.
Vuepress - Minimalistic Static Site Generator
Vuepress is yet another static site generator that similarly uses the Vue.js framework like Gridsome to create beautiful static web pages. However, it specializes in single-page HTML webpages that require minimalistic design.
To keep things straightforward, the contents are provided via markdown. Also, there are options to allow technical documentation since Vuepress was created to describe the Vue project.
Users will also gain access to themes and plugins along with the flexibility to leverage the Vue in Markdown and craft personalized themes. To minimize your effort, you can check out the documentation.
Pelican - Python Powered Static Site Generator
Pelican static site generator does not contain too many features like other SSGs out there. Also, it won't offer you an easy user interface or the convenience of installation. It does, however, provide a python environment that can be utilized the software to craft pages with the help of Markdown and restructured Text.
This tool features a number of customizable themes as well as language support. It also allows you to import data from third-party resources such as WordPress RSS feeds, which makes it an ideal choice as a headless configuration.
Pelican comes with a large number of plugins that you may use to expand the generator's capabilities. Altogether, it's one of our simplest static site generators, but it's a great choice if you are already familiar with python or want to learn more about it.
Things To Consider While Choosing A Static Site Generator
There are some factors that will influence your decision while choosing the best static site generator. Let’s have a look at those factors:
User-Friendliness: If you are a professional developer, you'll be able to handle any static site generator with relative ease. However, if this is your first time using it, start with a user-friendly generator that will reduce your work and allow you to develop your site in the quickest time feasible.
Supported Content Types: On one hand majority of the prominent static site generators will allow you to generate a variety of pages. On the other hand, other SSG focuses on dedicated content such as blog posts.
Well-established Community: Generally speaking, we advise you to select technologies with renowned user communities. In this way, you'll have an easy way of solving issues and receiving answers to inquiries.
Features Of The Best Static Site Generator
The most prominent SSGs provide a variety of features that make your job easier, such as:
- Support for Markdown: Most generators don't offer full-featured text editors. Alternatively, they employ Markdown, which may include extra unique Markdown syntaxes.
- Pre-built layout and templating Feature: The process of creating and organizing a complete website is not an easy task. This is why the best SSG offers built-in templating and layout options to minimize your effort.
- Supporting Variety of Content Types: Based on the generator you choose, it should be able to handle a variety of content formats, including blog posts, pages, rich galleries, and more.
- SEO functionality: Your website will never be able to compete without the proper implementation of SEO. You're better off switching to a different tool if you're currently utilizing a static site generator that doesn't include SEO tools or add-ons.
It's worth mentioning that most static site generators presume that you have a basic understanding of website construction. Some of them are user-friendly for rookie users but you should have the basic concepts of the command line, markdown, etc.
Of Course, there are more static site generators out there, but the ones we mentioned are worth trying in 2023. If you are experienced compared to basic users, the SSG with less sophistication will leave you frustrated. But suppose you want to enhance your learnings. In that case, your ideal selection is one that offers a medium degree of technical complexity and reliable documentation to help you along with your development phase.
Developers love to select the option that works really fast. But when it comes to the core language, choose the SSG written in the language you prefer the most. Otherwise, you will lose more time learning and then implementing it in building a site.
We’ve tried to enlist the best static site generators that include all the latest and trending features. Therefore, it will be easy for you to choose the best out of many and create the dream static site that works faster than any other website maintaining environment.
Check this article for the best static website hosting