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Top Static Site Generators (Free and Paid)

As a developer, creating a Static site brings out a lot of advantages. First, it is cheaper, faster, and easy to maintain compared to dynamic websites.

Moreover, Static site generators always come to the rescue if you want to create Informational websites, showcasing your content, portfolio websites, Documentation, tutorial, and many more.

Now, the popularity of static site generators among developers has been immensely increasing over the last couple of years. There are many reasons involved in the spike in the usage of static site generators.

Today we will go through everything there is to know about static site generators and the great benefits they bring.

Let’s get right to it.

What Is a Static Site Generator?

A static site generator provides the ability to generate a completely static HTML-based site that doesn’t require a database or server side processes.

In simple words, a static site generator is a tool that creates HTML pages from templates, components, and a given content source. It makes it easier for developers to use those pre-built HTML pages instead of coding each individual page. Therefore, these HTML pages are quicker to develop and load faster in the user’s browser.

To use a static site generator, you typically write your website content in a markup language like Markdown, and use a templating language to define the website layout and structure.

You then run the static site generator to generate the final set of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files, which can be deployed to a web server or content delivery network (CDN) for visitors to access.

📣 Static vs Dynamic Sites

So why switch from a dynamic site like WordPress, to a statically generated site?

The obvious ones are that a static site is going to be faster and cheaper to run. A nice side effect of being faster is that search engines will also give you a little more link juice and rank you higher.

Most popular static site generator offer many features that will make your work easier such as:

  • Pre-made template and layout options: SSG usually have built-in, pre-built templates and layout options.
  • Markdown support: The actual content of the website is written in a markup language such as Markdown. Markdown documents can be easily customized using text editors.
  • Support for different content: SSG support different types of content, e.g., galleries, blog posts, pages, etc.
  • Integrated SEO features: Some SSG also supports SEO features.

Benefits of Using a Static Site Generator

As static site generators are comprised solely of static files, no database is required, resulting in many additional benefits:

  • Greater Performance
  • Customization Option
  • Lighter Backend
  • Less Server Side Dependencies
  • Version Control and Testing
  • Data Protection, and many more…

From above, clearly justifies how beneficial it is when you are using a static site generator. Now, without wasting any time let’s directly head on to the list of Best Static Site Generators.

The following is a list of popular static site generators. Each generator is built differently and although many may have the same overall purpose, there are differentiation points such as language used, and capabilities for each.

Static Site Generators Summary Table:

GridsomeJavaScript (Vue.js)
EleventyJavaScript (Node.js.)
Next.jsJavaScript (React)
GatsbyJavaScript (React)
HexoJavaScript (Node.js)
PubliiWordPress like UI
Newcomer in SSG
MetalsmithJavaScript (Node.js)
Statiq Web.NET
DocusaurusJavaScript (React)
ScullyJavaScript (Angular)
SvelteKitJavaScript (svelte)


Go to Jekyll WebsiteRuby

A blog-aware static site generator with permalinks, categories, pages, etc

Jekyll is one of the most popular open-source static website generators — and with good reason. It’s the software that powers GitHub Pages, which offers free hosting for static sites.

At its core, Jekyll is a blogging-friendly generator. This static software supports Markdown and supports the Liquid templating language.


Go to Hugo WebsiteGo

A static site generator ideal for blogs, docs, portfolios, and more.

Hugo is an open-source static website generator which generate pages at a blazing pace, with build times often under one second.

The software enables you to preview changes to your pages as you make them using LiveReload, and it offers powerful theming functionality.

Hugo uses a modular system to help you build static websites. You have several modules to choose from, including content, layouts, and data.


Go to Gridsome WebsiteJavaScript (Vue.js)

A powerful static site generator that lets you create pages using modern tools like Vue.js and GraphQL. It also offers a wide collection of plugins with which you can extend the functionality of the generator.

Gridsome is a powerful static site generator. You can use it to create pages with modern tools such as Vue.js and GraphQL.

As you might imagine, Gridsome is not as beginner-friendly as other tools in this list. You will need some web development experience to get the most out of this software.

If you already know your way around Vue.js, Gridsome is one of the best static site generators that you can use.


Go to Eleventy WebsiteJavaScript (Node.js.)

The tool supports several template languages but is based on Liquid at its core. Besides Liquid, Eleventy can also parse several other languages for your static pages, including Markdown and JavaScript.

Eleventy is a relative newcomer to the field of static website generators. This particular software relies on JavaScript and Node.js. That means that you’ll need some level of familiarity with the JavaScript language to use it effectively.

If you’re comfortable using JavaScript, Eleventy will reward you with some of the best performance among static site generators.

This tool supports multiple template languages, but at its core, Eleventy relies on Liquid, which makes it similar to Jekyll in that regard.

Beyond Liquid, Eleventy can also parse several other languages for your static pages, including Markdown and JavaScript.


Go to Next.js WebsiteJavaScript (React)

Next.js is a React framework that gives you building blocks to create web applications.

Next.js is less a generator for static sites, and more a framework for building static applications using React.

It supports static site generation (and revamped this support to much improve it in the 9.3 release in early 2020), and if you’re looking to build an application with React and want best-in-class static site generation backing that up, Next.js is a good place to look.

It assumes a good knowledge of both JavaScript and React, so it’s not for the non-technical people.


Go to Gatsby WebsiteJavaScript (React)

GatsbyJS is React-based, works with any CMS, API, or database, and can be used for building headless experiences.

Gatsby is an open source web development framework that combines the functionality of React, GraphQL, and Webpack to create static websites and web apps. It uses React for developing the site’s UI and GarphQL to power its Data layer.

With the help of React you can complete the User interface in a simple, straightforward way, and with GraphQL it can easily pull data into your website from sources like WordPress, Drupal, a simple markdown file, a CSV, or any other CMSs.

It also enables you to use its wide range of plugins to extend its functionalities.


Go to Astro WebsiteJavaScript

Astro is Javascript-based, supports multiple frameworks, and is known for on-demand rendering via partial hydration.

Astro is an all-in-one web framework and a Static Site generator that is designed to create fast and content-focused websites. For instance, it is suitable for websites like marketing sites, publishing sites, documentation sites, blogs, portfolios, and some e-Commerce sites.

Astro is Fast by default providing good performance specifically to content-focused websites.


Go to Hexo WebsiteJavaScript (Node.js)

A fast, simple and powerful blogging framework that uses node.js.

Hexo is a NodeJS static site generator that offers itself as a blogging framework.

A notable feature of Hexo is tag plugins. Tag plugins are snippets of code you can add to your Markdown files without having to write complex or messy HTML to render specific content.

Hexo supports several tag plugins, including block quotes, Twitter and Youtube embeds, and code blocks.


Go to Zola WebsiteRust 

Zola is written in Rust with a single binary, no dependencies, and flexible features like Sass compilation.

Zola is a strongly opinionated SSG written in Rust that uses the Tera template engine. 

One of the limitations of Zola might be the lack of a built-in scripting language. Unlike other SSGs, there isn’t an ecosystem of plugins you can add to your site.


Go to Pelican WebsitePython

The software has several themes that you can customize, offering multilingual support. Besides, Pelican lets you import data from WordPress, RSS feeds, and other third-party sources, making it an excellent option for a headless setup.

Pelican is a little-known static website generator that’s all about Python. If you’re familiar with Python, you can use the software to create static pages using Markdown and reStructuredText.


Go to Nuxt.js WebsiteJavaScript(Vue.js)

As the name might imply, Nuxt.js has a lot of similarities to Next.js, with the glaring difference being that it uses Vue instead of React.

For similar reasons as Next.js, it would also be misleading to refer to it as purely a static site generator as Nuxt can function as either an SSR framework for building SPAs or as an SSG.

Using Nuxt Static Site generation you can render your application during the build phase and deploy it to any static hosting services such as Netlify, GitHub pages, Vercel, etc. This means that no server is needed in order to deploy your application.


Go to VuePress WebsiteJavaScript(Vue.js)

VuePress is a minimalistic Vue-based static site generator that is optimized for writing technical documentation. Each page generated by Vue Press has its own pre-rendered static HTML, providing great loading performance and is SEO-friendly.

It comes with Built-in Markdown extensions like Table of contents, Custom Containers, Line Highlighting, Import Code Snippets, and many more which are very useful in static documentation.


Go to VitePress WebsiteJavaScript(Vue.js)

VitePress is basically a little brother of VuePress but the only difference is it is built on top of Vite. Although, it is a simple, powerful, and excellent Static Site generator that you may be looking for.

VitePress comes with built-in markdown extensions in which you can take care of many useful functionalities. For instance, Header anchors, Links, GitHub-style tables, Emojis, Tables of contents, custom containers, and much more.


Go to Publii WebsiteWordPress like UI

Publii is a desktop-based CMS for Windows, Mac and Linux that makes creating static websites fast and hassle-free, even for beginners.

Publii, unlike most of the other static site generators here, is not a command-line tool. Instead, it is a desktop application, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

You might think of this as something similar to WordPress, except that instead of being a website it is an application that runs on your computer and then generates a static version of the website, ready to be published as the other tools do.

There are built-in publishing tools to push the static website to a variety of existing hosts, such as Netlify and cloud hosting locations.

It has an import system for converting an existing WordPress site to Publii, and a marketplace of paid professional-level themes.

The application itself is free and open-source and has an active community of users helping one another on a discussion forum.

Publii is the least technical of the static site generators currently on offer, while still having pretty much all of their benefits. For someone not looking to get into a coding and command-line based approach it is a great solution.

How to Find The Best Static Site Generator?

Now you might think, “Ok, I’m convinced. Which is the best one?” 🤔

There are a number of key considerations when looking for the best static site generator for you and your next project. Let’s look at 3 of the most important ones.

1. What are you building?

At the heart of choosing the right tool is considering the job you need to do with it.

Are you building….

A site whose primary function is to deliver content? 

If so, a tool which priorities generating pages and URLs while giving you straightforward control over exactly what is output might be your best choice.

Tools like Jekyll, Hugo, Nuxt and Eleventy do this very well indeed.

A site with a more complex application-like function? 

Some sites are less about “viewing” and more about “doing”. And while most SSGs can be used as the basis for a web application, others come with more advanced, client-side features ready-to-go. GatsbyJS, NextJS and SapperJS might provide some useful capabilities.

A large site with many thousands of pages? 

Static site generators are achieving faster and faster build speeds. But that can still take a little time. If you have many pages to generate you will need to consider this.

Some tools have incredibly impressive generation times. Hugo is particularly impressive. As is Eleventy and the recent updates to Jekyll.

2. How are you building?

Following what you are building, perhaps the next most important consideration is how you are hoping to build. What languages and frameworks suit your development team? There are SSGs build using anything from Statiq to Vue.

If your team specializes in .net, they can still work with static generators and benefit from the advantages described above without moving from their familiar development ecosystem. They don’t need to learn a whole new language.

Then again, if they prefer JavaScript, there are many SSGs which might suit them. There are variants which employ different JavaScript frameworks such as React, Vue, Angular, or perhaps vanilla, framework-less JavaScript.

You can match the SSG to the tastes and workflows of your development team or client. And work in ways which suit you.

3. How complex are your templating needs?

The type of variety and complexity in the site you are creating could well influence the templating tools you will want at your disposal.

Most SSGs give some concept of code re-use with things like partials, includes, macros and so on. But you might want to go deeper.

Frameworks such as Vue and React afford used component models which logically capture not just visual style and content, but also behaviour and functionality.

So if your project is more of an application than a site, then perhaps choosing an SSG based on one of those frameworks would be advantageous.

Does your team or client already have particular skills and preferences for an existing templating language? Continuing to support that capability might be to your advantage.


Static site generators certainly provide some enticing benefits to users who do not require the functionality of a dynamic website.

As they continue to grow in popularity, different variations are created for different purposes. However, the main benefit of a static site for most will likely continue to be it’s ability to quickly serve content to users.

Also, you can find a long list of static site generators and learn about each one at staticgen.com.

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Sunil Pradhan

Hi there 👋 I am a front-end developer passionate about cutting-edge, semantic, pixel-perfect design. Writing helps me to understand things better.

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Sunil Pradhan

Hi there 👋 I am a front-end developer passionate about cutting-edge, semantic, pixel-perfect design. Writing helps me to understand things better.