Open Source

Best Open Source Static Site Generators

This article will cover a list of useful “static site” generators that can be used to generate static sites on Linux. A static site is a full-fledged, multi-page website or a single webpage that delivers content “as is” from servers. There are no dynamic components in these websites that can change based on certain events or user interactions. Everything is fixed and what you see is what you get. You can sort of think about them as ebooks that can be viewed in web browsers. Note that some developers do add some dynamic components to static sites by embedding code from third-party services and plugins (comment system for example), but the main core remains static.

Pelican

Pelican is a free and open source static site generator written in Python programming language. You can create fast, static websites using Pelican’s numerous command line options. Pelican supports writing content in Markdown and reStructuredText languages, taking care of appropriate HTML markup for your content. You can also create websites and blogs that require chronological or sequenced pages using Pelican. Other main features of Pelican include support for many languages, template and theme engine, RSS feeds, ability to import content from other sites, official and third party plugins, and so on. You can access official Pelican documentation from here. Installation instructions are available here.

Jekyll

Jekyll is an open source static site generator written in Ruby programming language. It integrates deeply with GitHub and you can easily create and manage a Jekyll website by pushing your changes to a GitHub repository. GitHub’s own static site hosting, called “GitHub Pages” is powered by Jekyll. You can use markdown language to write content and use its “Liquid” template engine to structure your website. It includes numerous features specially trailers for bloggers and you can import content from third party services. Jekyll also has a graphical admin dashboard plugin that can assist you in writing and publishing content. Official documentation for Jekyll is available here. Installation instructions can be accessed from here.

Hugo

Hugo is an open source static site generator written in Go programming language. It focuses on delivering lightning fast content and can make use of markdown and shortcodes to create content. It comes with numerous pre-defined templates tailored for different needs. Some of these templates also include fields for SEO optimization. Other main features of Hugo include multi-language support, AMP sites support, ability to show content in JSON format, many pre-designed themes, templates for creating documentation sites and so on. Official documentation for Hugo is available here. Installation instructions can be accessed from here.

Publii

Publii is an open source static site generator written in Electron and VueJS. It comes with a dedicated, graphical desktop app that can be used to create and manage websites. This desktop app is also available for Linux in AppImage format. If you are used to WordPress like CMS that provides a graphical admin dashboard, you will find Publii quite similar. Almost all tasks can be carried out using GUI app only and very little command line interaction is required. Other main features of Publii include numerous built-in tools specially designed for bloggers, built-in SEO tools, supports importing content from other sites, and so on. Official documentation for Publii is available here. Installation instructions can be accessed from here.

Next.js

Next.js is an open source static site generator written in NodeJS and TypeScript. Next.js features a reactive approach to handling data where every piece of data is watched. Other pieces update themselves reactively based on changes in other parts of the website. It can render fully reactive websites / web applications with an option to export static sites. Other main features of Next.js include multi-language support, image optimization utilities, incremental site updates, analytics support, built-in SASS support and so on. Official documentation for Next.js is available here. Installation instructions can be accessed from here.

Gatsby

Gatsby is an open source static site generator written in NodeJS and TypeScript. Gatsby is designed to cater different static site needs and provides templates for creating blogs, documentation sites and online stores. It uses a GraphQL data layer that makes managing different data sources easier and provides a much more consistent way to access and manage data. Other main features of Gatsby include official and third party themes, official and third party plugins, free cloud hosting service, support for progressive web apps, reactive data and so on. Official documentation for Gatsby is available here. Installation instructions can be accessed from here.

Nuxt

Nuxt is an open source web application framework that can create both dynamic and static sites. Written in VueJS, it features a modular structure allowing you to include only necessary modules needed to create and manage a static site. Other main features of Nuxt static site generator include built-in SEO tools, pre-rendered pages, custom layouts, client-side rendering, dynamic routes, meta-tags management, SASS support, pre-tailored components, transitions and animations, real-time live previews and so on. Official documentation and installation instructions for Nuxt are available here.

Hexo

Hexo is an open source static site generator written in NodeJS and JavaScript. It provides support for writing content in markdown language and comes with numerous official and third party plugins to manage your site. Hexo provides over 300 pre-designed themes to get you started quickly and save time. Other main features of Hexo include support for Octopress plugins, blogging tools, fast deployment to GitHub and GitLab pages, multi-language support, custom themes and templates, and so on. Official documentation for Hexo is available here. Installation instructions can be accessed from here.

Conclusion

These are some of the most useful static site generators that can be used to generate fast, static sites that are mostly rendered on the client side. All these projects are open source and can be installed in Linux with just a few commands.

About the author

Nitesh Kumar

I am a freelancer software developer and content writer who loves Linux, open source software and the free software community.