What is a Static Site Generator?

by SWHabitation
Mar 12, 2024

Static Site Generator (SSG) is one of the fastest-growing and most powerful tools in web development today. SSGs are known for being simple, fast, and secure. But what are they? And how can you choose the right one for your needs?

Exploring the Concept of Static Websites

Before we get into static site generators, let’s first understand a static site. Static sites aren’t created on the server. Instead, they’re pre-rendered and delivered directly to the user’s web browser. This approach has several benefits, including faster loading times, better security, and easier scalability.

What is a Static Site Generator?

A static site generator (SSG) is a web development tool that helps you create static websites. A static website is a website that doesn’t look like a static page. Instead, it looks like a static HTML page.

SSGs combine content from different sources (e.g. Markdown files, APIs, etc.) with templates. This way, you don’t have to worry about server-side processing and databases. Instead, you can create leaner, faster websites.

How Do Static Site Generators Work?

SSG takes your content and templates into a fully static website. This includes converting your content files to HTML pages, stylesheets, scripts, and asset optimisation for delivery. All in all, you get a fully functioning static website that you can deploy to any website or hosting.

Advantages of Static Site Generators

  • Speed: Static sites load faster, resulting in a smoother user experience and higher search engine rankings.
  • Security: Static sites don’t have any server-side features, which makes them less susceptible to attacks and data breaches.
  • Scalability: Static sites are easy to cache and share across CDNs, making them available to users all over the world quickly and reliably.
  • Simplicity: Static site generators make the development process easier by separating the content from the presentation, making it easier to work with others and keep the website up-to-date.

There are many great Static Site Generators (SSGs) out there, and each one has its unique strengths and features. Let’s explore some of the best SSG’s for your project:


  • Official website:
  • Language: Ruby
  • License: MIT read
  • Templates: Liquid
  • GitHub stars: 48k
  • GitHub forks: 9.8k

Ruby-based Jekyll is one of the most popular among developers due to its simplicity and user-friendliness. Jekyll is great for blogging and personal websites due to its easy-to-use Markdown capabilities and native blogging capabilities.

Key Features:

  • Jekyll is easy to use: The easy-to-use interface and easy-to-read documentation make it a great option for beginners.
  • Beginner-friendly: Jekyll’s user-friendly interface and easy-to-read documentation make it a great option for beginners.
  • Large community: Jekyll provides a wide range of themes and plugins, thanks to its active user and contributor community.
  • GitHub integration: With Jekyll’s near-perfect compatibility with GitHub Pages, you can deploy directly from a repository on GitHub.


  • Official website:
  • Language: Go
  • License: Apache-2.0
  • Templates: Go
  • GitHub stars: 71.7k
  • GitHub forks: 7.3k

Hugo is written in Go and is well-known for its speed and efficiency. Whether you’re building an easy-to-implement blog or a complicated e-commerce website, Hugo’s fast compilation ensures fast development without sacrificing quality.

Key Features:

  • Blazing-fast performance: Hugo’s Go-based architecture allows for blazing-fast website creation, making it ideal for large-scale deployments.
  • Extensive theme library: Hugo offers a wide range of themes to meet different design needs and use cases.
  • Flexible content organization: With built-in taxonomies and custom content types, Hugo provides unbeatable scalability in organizing your site’s content.


  • Official website:
  • Language: JavaScript
  • License: MIT
  • Templates: React
  • GitHub stars: 55k
  • GitHub forks: 10.4k

Gatsby is a JavaScript-based static site generator built on React.js. It’s well-known for its lightning-fast, dynamic website-building capabilities. Whether you’re building a blog, portfolio, or even an e-commerce platform, you can use Gatsby to build highly interactive, high-performance websites. Gatsby’s plug-in to GraphQL and the React ecosystem allows developers to build high-performance, interactive websites.

Key Features:

  • React-powered: Gatsby uses React.js to make it easy for developers to create interactive and dynamic websites.
  • GraphQL integration: Gatsby integrates seamlessly with GraphQL to provide fast query and data handling for dynamic content.
  • Progressive Web App (PWA) support: Gatsby’s PWA features enable native app-like features, such as offline access and push notifications.
  • Rich ecosystem: With a wide variety of plugins and starters, Gatsby’s ecosystem gives developers the ability to expand features and get projects up and running fast.


  • Official website:
  • Language: JavaScript
  • License: MIT
  • Templates: React
  • GitHub stars: 119k
  • GitHub forks: 25.4k

Next.js is also a JavaScript and React-based solution for static site generation, but it supports server-side rendering as well. Next.js supports TypeScript as well as incremental static regeneration, making it an ideal choice for creating high-performance web apps and websites.

Key Features:

  • Server-side rendering (SSR): Next.js supports server-side rendering, improving performance and SEO.
  • Hybrid static/dynamic approach: Next.js supports static site generation as well as server-side rendering.
  • TypeScript support: Next.js supports TypeScript with strong type safety support and scalability for bigger projects.
  • Incremental static regeneration: Next.js adds the ability to incrementally regenerate static content. This allows for dynamic content updates without compromising performance.

Finding the Best Static Site Generator

Jekyll is a Ruby-based SSG, while Hugo is a Go-based SSG. Gatsby is a JavaScript/React SSG. Each SSG should be evaluated based on the expertise of your team, your project needs, and your long-term objectives.

React.js Beginner's Guide: Installation, Folder Structure

Read more


Static Site Generator (SSG) is the fastest, safest, and most efficient way to create websites. Once you understand how a static site generator works and which one is best suited for your needs, you will be able to unleash the full power of static website development.

Whether you are an experienced web developer or just starting, learning about the world of static site generators (SSG) opens the door to a world of dynamic and exciting web experiences.

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