Are you looking for an open source static site generator? Look no further, this article has you covered.
Websites can be thought of as static or dynamic. A CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress typically powers dynamic websites. The content management system obtains the information from a database and then populates the content on a web page whenever a user requests it.
Static sites are websites served from a web server to the client without any modification. This is a simple method of building websites since each page on the website is a separate HTML file. In the early days of the web, this was how they built websites.
So if you visit the home page of a static website, you are viewing an actual home page file. In this article, we will introduce 11 open source and free static site builders that you can use to build your website.
Jekyll is the pioneer of static site generators. It was first published in 2008 by Github co-founder Tom Preston-Werner. It is written using Ruby and generates static sites by loading content from JSON, YAML, CSV, and TSV files.
Jekyll powers GitHub Pages, which allows users to host their websites based on their GitHub repository account at no additional cost.
Github link: https://github.com/jekyll/jekyll
Hugo is an open source static site generator built using the Go programming language. What sets Hugo apart is the speed with which it creates websites. It is also flexible and offers a powerful theme system that allows you to create your own theme.
It is available on multiple operating system platforms, supports nice URLs, and has different content type options.
Publii is a free and open source desktop application. It runs locally on your machine instead of site servers and does not require internet access. So you can work on your site offline.
When you log in, simply upload the changes to your server and the changes will be saved. There are several download options, including standard HTTP / HTTPS servers, Amazon S3, GitHub, Netlify, SFTP, and Google Cloud pages.
With Publii, you can create a personal blog, portfolio, or business website. It also helps you create, edit and run unlimited sites from the same app with instant switching. You don’t need to remember any databases or other credentials.
Nuxt is an intuitive Vue-based web framework that lets you build static sites. It’s open-source and when you create your static site, you can host it for free on Azure Static Web Apps. Nuxt supports server-side rendering, which leads to a big increase in SEO, better UX, and more opportunities compared to traditional Single Page View (SPA) applications.
Gridsome is yet another open source SSG based on Vue.js and powered by GraphQL. It uses the Jamstack framework, which allows it to build fast default, better performing websites with increased security, low cost to scale, and better development experience.
Gridsome supports PWA, which works offline when there is no internet connection, leveraging data cached during your last interaction with the app.
Hexo is a fast, simple, and powerful blogging framework powered by Node.js. It supports all features of GitHub Flavored Markdown and most Octopress plugins. It also has powerful APIs that provide unlimited scalability.
There are different plugins to support most of the model engines, for example, EJS, Pug, Nunjucks and many more. It also easily integrates with NPM (Node Package Manager) packages such as Babel, PostCSS and Less / Sass.
Docusaurus is an open source static site generator developed by Facebook. It is built using React and is powered by Markdown. You can write documents and blog posts using Markdown, and Docusaurus will publish a set of static HTML files.
Therefore, you can save time and focus only on documenting your project. You can even integrate JSX components into your Markdown, thanks to MDX. Docusaurus also comes with preconfigured localization, which can translate your documents into over 70 languages.
VuePress is a minimalist Vue powered SSG built by Evan You; the creator of Vue.js. It was developed to meet the technical documentation needs of Vue projects. It is powered by Vue, Vue Router, and Webpack. Vuepress is open source, simple to use, and requires minimal setup with markdown.
Eleventy uses independent model engines. If you decide to use something else later, organizing your content this way will make the migration easier. It also offers several template languages. You can choose one or use them all together in one project.
Pelican is an open source SSG written in Python. Its features include writing content in reStructuredText or Markdown markup, easy-to-host static output, and custom themes through Jinja templates. It is also multilingual, has atom / RSS feeds, code syntax highlighting, import from WordPress and other services, modular plugin system, plugin repository matching and many other features.
Lektor is yet another open source SSG built by Python. It is 100% file-based, which means all source data is well-structured and can be tracked in a version control system or cloud storage like Dropbox. It also has a flat file database in which all source data is stored in a flat file tree database and can be freely queried. The layout of this data is fully configurable.
Lektor has a customizable administrator where you can edit your pages without having to touch the raw sources. It also has dependency tracking, where the build process intelligently tracks page dependencies so that it only rebuilds pages that have changed. Its other features include a system of plugins, image tools, multilingual, deployed from any host, running on Windows, Linux and OSX.
Build your static website
Static websites offer a wide range of benefits. These websites are flexible, perform better, have fewer server-side dependencies, improved reliability, superior security, and exceptional version control and testing. If you are looking to build a static website, be sure to check out the free open source static site builders above.
In this guide, we’ll describe what a Static Site Generator (SSG) is, why you would want to use one, and how to create a whole new site with it.
About the Author