Static site generator

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Static site generators (SSGs) are engines that use text input files (such as Markdown, reStructuredText, AsciiDoc and JSON) to generate static web pages.[1] Static sites generated by static site generators do not require a backend after site generation, making them first-class citizens on content delivery networks (CDNs). Some of the most popular static site generators are Jekyll, Hugo, Next.js (JavaScript) and Angular (TypeScript).[2][3] SSGs are typically for rarely-changing, informative content, such as product pages, news websites, (software) documentation, manuals, and blogs.


SSGs typically consist of a template written in HTML with a templating system, such as liquid (Jekyll) or Go template (Hugo). The same structure (typically a Git repository) includes content in a plain-text format such as Markdown or reStructuredText, or in a structural meta format such as JSON or XML. A single plain-text file may corresponds to a single web page while a single structural meta file may result in a whole Website through a SPA framework like Angular. The website variable settings are stored in a flat-text configuration file _config.yml (YAML), _config.toml (TOML) or _config.json (JSON). Page files typically also start with a YAML, TOML or JSON preamble to define variables such as title, permalink, date, etc. Files with names that begin with an underscore (_) such as (as opposed to are considered templates or archetypes and are thus not rendered as pages themselves.


Several hundreds SSGs have been documented to exist, with the vast majority being written in languages that are already prominent on the web, such as Python, Go, JavaScript and TypeScript.[4]

System label/name Language Notes
Jekyll Ruby Uses Liquid templating language from Shopify.[4] Particularly popular on GitHub pages.
Hugo Go Uses Go templates and its main selling point is its high speed when building large websites.[4]
Next.js JavaScript Uses React templates.[4]
Pelican Python Uses Jinja2 templates, supports multiple languages and content can be imported from popular blogging platforms like WordPress.[4]

Comparison with server-side systems[edit]

Many server-side template systems have an option to publish output pages on the server, where the published pages are static. This is common on content management systems, like Vignette, but is not considered out-server generation. In the majority of cases, this "publish option" doesn't interfere with the template system, and it can be made by external software, as Wget.[5]

Server-side template system

People began to use server-side dynamic pages generated from templates with pre-existent software adapted for this task. This early software was the preprocessors and macro languages, adapted for the web use, running on CGI. Next, a simple but relevant technology was the direct execution made on extension modules, started with SSI.

The basic process for a server-side web templating system: content (from a database), and "presentation specifications" (in a web template), are combined (through the template engine) to mass-produce web documents.


  1. ^ "What is a Static Site Generator? How do I find the best one to use?". Netlify. Archived from the original on 2022-09-18. Retrieved 2022-09-18.
  2. ^ "What Is a Static Site Generator, and How Can It Help Your Website Creation Process?". TeleportHQ. 2021-12-15. Archived from the original on 2022-09-18. Retrieved 2022-09-18.
  3. ^ CloudFlare (2022-09-18). "What is a static site generator?". Archived from the original on 2022-09-18. Retrieved 2022-09-18.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Static Site Generators - Top Open Source SSGs | Jamstack". Archived from the original on 2022-09-18. Retrieved 2022-09-18.
  5. ^ "Static Site Generator". Gatsby. Archived from the original on 2022-09-18. Retrieved 2022-09-18.

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