Lucas Zuege's Blog

Static Site Generators are Awesome!

Back at the end of November, I decided to move my blog over from Ghost to Hugo. The reasoning behind it was both cost and wanting to minimize the bandwidth my website consumed.

Since this is my personal blog, I do not need it to have fancy features. I do not run ads. I do not have a newsletter or anything of that sorts. I just wanted a place that I could write, without all the fluff that many websites have today.

Enter in static website generators, and in my case, Hugo.

Hugo has been wonderful. I had to learn a bit to get my blog up and running, but for the most part, it has been mostly working. I recently changed the design of my website, and I am having some issues getting the search function working. But, for what I mainly wanted my blog to be, Hugo has provided that for me.

Better yet, as of writing this post, my blog's landing page uses less than 50kb of bandwidth uncompressed. That is insane! Especially when you think of other websites using 2-10mb of data from just loading their front pages.

Honestly, I think more personal bloggers need to stop using services like Wordpress, Blogger, Ghost, and others, and start using static site generators.

The Benefits of a static website

First and foremost, static sites are fast.

Like... really fast.

My website, in the state that it is when writing this blog post, takes less than half a second to load. These results were taken from the website performance tester, GTMetrix. That is insanely fast, when you compare it to results from tests I took prior to moving my blog over to Hugo. Ghost alone took one and a half to two seconds to load, mainly because of the additional javascript.

Another benefit to static websites is that they can use up less bandwidth. Obviously, this can change depending on what type of content you include on your website. More images, videos, and additional javascript/code may result in a bloated static website. But, if you take a standard Wordpress site, and compare it to a Static Site with the same content, the static site will likely use less bandwidth.

Less bandwidth means lower cost for you to host the website, as well as help those out who visit your website and have a data cap on their internet (yes, that is still a thing).

Moving to Hugo required some knowledge

Unlike using a content management system like Wordpress or ghost, generating static sites using Hugo, Jekyll, Eleventy, and any other static site generator does require some knowledge.

Luckily, there are a few content management systems for static site generators, but if you do not want to use these services, you need to know how to use git, need to know how to use markdown, and also need to know how to host the static site. There are services such as Netlify, Cloudflare pages, and similar services that help with these processes, but, running a site with a static site generator is definitely not for everyone.

And that is where I think static site generators fall.

A non-technical person will have a difficult time using static site generators. In fact, most of the blogs that I know use Hugo, Jekyll, or others all are blogs ran by tech enthusiasts. I cannot recall a single static site that is ran by a non-techy.

The blogging world really needs to change to a minimalistic, static site approach. But that is difficult to push for with the tools that are currently available.

Maybe that will be my first major project that I work on. A blogging platform that uses Hugo, but includes an easy to use way to write posts for your website, without needing to know technical knowledge.