25 Best Static Site Generators for Building Blazing Fast Websites

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Hexo Static blog frameworkNo doubt, a content management system makes web publishing a breeze both for an expert and a layman. But, often site owners look for a simple and flexible solution for making a simple website. That's where static site generators come into play. Compared to a CMS-powered website, a static website is much faster putting less burden on server resources. This is a huge advantage which attracts a website owner. We'll look at some of the best static website generators, website owners can use to power their online abode. No matter what underlying server-side technology you intend to use, one can easily find a static site generator supporting that specific stack. You can easily test these generators on your local machine before using them in a production environment. Power users (technically sound) can easily extend and harness the full power of these site generators. So, let's check out each of these flexible and powerful static website generators one can use for powering their business or a personal website.

Hexo Static blog framework
1. Hexo: If you want to run your blog as a static website, try this excellent solution. It runs on Node and is flexible enough to power a high traffic professional blog. With simple CLI-based deployment and with the availability of plenty of plugins, one can easily start a custom blog that runs at a blazing speed. Like other similar solutions, Hexo also has support for Markdown-powered content.

It also has a large collection of custom premade templates which can be used as a boilerplate to make something new. Projects powered by this framework can be installed on different hosting platforms. Plugins made for several other similar solutions (e.g. Octopress) can be used with Hexo without any issues. It has detailed documentation for new users.

Hugo static site generator
2. Hugo: This is a popular static site generator one can run on almost any web server. It claims to be free of any external dependency making it a standalone solution that runs out-of-the-box. Whether you want to install it on your local system or on a popular hosting solution, its simple deployment process makes it quite easy to get it up and running.

It allows flexible URL structure and also facilitates the definition of custom data and content types in different standard formats. It's free and open source enabling easy customization of the core by the power users. A good collection of themes can help you get started with a website in no time. You can easily extend and customize these themes as per your requirements.

Assemble platform for static websites
3. Assemble: This is a powerful static site generation framework that runs on top of Node and allows easy integration of popular front-end frameworks like Bootstrap and Foundation. With hundreds of Handlebars helpers and flexible plugins, one can easily extend the website, at will. If you're using Grunt within your tool-chain, this solution supports it out-of-the-box.

It also has a large collection of boilerplates to get you started with different project environments as well as layouts. It also has several modules assisted with Grunt to pull, parse, and interpret data pulled from various platforms like GitHub. With custom permalinks, website owners can generate optimized patterns matching with their preferences.

Wintersmith for building static sites
4. Wintersmith: This is yet another static site generator that runs on top of Node. It uses a simple directory structure which is used to house all static files associated with the project. Good numbers of templating engines are also supported either natively or through a plugin. It has Markdown support for crafting posts and articles.

Technically sound users can easily write plugins (through an API) for this platform to add custom functionality. It also supports popular CSS preprocessors. It's not just a simple website, but one can create a fairly large website through this powerful static website generator. It's lightweight and runs smoothly scaling automatically as the traffic load increases.

PHP powered static site generator
5. Sculpin: This is a popular PHP-powered engine that generates static websites from Markdown, HTML and Twig template files. The deployed project tree itself can be easily maintained through Composer for easy deductions and resolutions of dependencies, if any. It has a modern templating engine to easily extend or create designs from scratch.

The core is powered by Symphony HTTP kernel which enables developers to easily extend or add new features into the solution. It has one of the most lively and supportive community to help you get started in no time. I ran it on my Ubuntu box and it worked like a charm without any issues. If you're a PHP developer, do try this platform for building a fast static website.

Blog-aware static site platform
6. Jekyll: This hugely popular static site generator can be used to power both blogs and regular websites. It has a dead simple deployment process and enables you to run a new website in less than a minute. GitHub Pages service is powered by this static site engine which is completely free and works seamlessly. It uses a popular templating engine called Liquid.

Blogs powered by this engine supports custom permalinks, pages, posts and custom designed layouts. It also supports several importers to easily transfer your blog from a regular blog CMS to the Jekyll platform. Content can be written in Markdown, Textile or plain text which is automatically detected and rendered by the engine.

Nanoc static site publishing platform
7. Nanoc: This flexible static website generator can be used for building both a small website and a large business portal. Power users can easily harness the power of its command line tools to build, deploy, and customize a website. Its engine is powered by Ruby and is immensely flexible when it comes to adding new features to the website.

It is one of the few static site generators which allows easy implementation of multilingual websites. Though it generates flat HTML files for the website, one can also configure it use an external database system for the content. With an array of powerful filters and helpers, users can customize the website quite easily.

Python-powered static site generator
8. Nikola: This Python-powered static website generator can be used on almost any web server to build fast loading sites. Its incremental build system speeds up the extension or update process putting minimal burden on the server resources. Users can feed in content in different popular formats and the engine processes and generates static HTML files in no time.

It is one of the few static site generators that support comments out-of-the-box. It also includes tags, categories, RSS/Atom feeds and much more. If you're going to upload lots of photos, use its image gallery feature to easily integrate your collection within the website. Writing plugins for this platform are equally easy if you have a working knowledge of Python.

Metalsmith platform for static websites
9. Metalsmith: This intuitive static site generator is ideal for developers and users who are technically sound. Its plugin-based architecture enables easy integration of features and functions within a website or a blog. It also has a library of prebuilt plugins one can use to get started immediately. Writing one of your own plugins is also quite simple.

Since it has a plugin-based architecture, there is no limit on the type of feature you can integrate with this flexible website generator. Its engine uses YAML for data serialization which empowers you to write and create custom data and content. It has a powerful and extensible JavaScript API to easily manage and customize the static website.

Middleman framework for static sites
10. Middleman: Several popular and big websites are using this powerful static website generator. It uses ERb as the templating engine and includes dozens of handy features to build either a blog or a website. New users can take advantage of the project templates to kick off their website within minutes. Custom extensions are available for this platform.

It also supports pretty permalinks, custom caching module and support for dynamic pages if required. Similarly, multilingual websites can also be configured without any issues. It has a fairly simple directory structure with a no-nonsense build process for faster and painless deployments. Helper methods and partials enable users' to easily integrate custom sections and features to the website.

Wyam static website publishing platform
11. Wyam: This all-in-one static website generator can be used to create blogs, websites, eBooks, documentation and just about anything in the form of regular online content. Written in .NET, it has plenty of modules for extending and customizing the websites. It uses YAML as the parser and generates static files instantly.

It supports multiple templating languages and also has an integrated server specifically for previewing output beforehand. It also has Less preprocessing support with several image manipulation modules for a rich content website. Its support for NuGet package manager enables easy management of packages used in the project.

Spress static website publishing platform
12. Spress: I've included another powerful PHP-powered static website generator. It's very flexible enabling users to deploy almost any kind of website. Its engine uses Twig templating system to create flexible layouts. All the content can be written in Markdown format using your preferred editor. You can run it on a minimal web server without any issues.

Its add-on collection is also impressive which supports almost every common feature required on a typical website. Through its handy IO API, developers can create rich and interactive plugins for the platform. Apart from installing it on a regular web server, one can also use it to deploy a website on Red Hat's Openshift and GitHub Pages.

Stasis static publishing service
13. Stasis: If you love command line and scripting, this static website generator is made just for you. Developers' can harness the power of Ruby library to build and launch static sites with a custom directory structure. This powerful platform supports over a dozen templating engines giving enough options to web developers to play with.

It has a large collection of helpers to build custom sections easily. Its rendering engine supports regular expressions which can help in filtering select directories or files. It has a rich set of command line directives to configure the server and rendering engine as per the requirements. It's open source and has well-documented instructions to help you understand ins and outs easily.

PieCrust static website generator
14. PieCrust: This excellent static site generator uses Mustache and Jinja2 as its templating engine with support of both Markdown and Textile to compose content. Its integrated asset processing system supports CSS preprocessing, minification and concatenation of files to relieve you from these tasks. Its build process is blazingly fast generating static files in no time.

It has full support for custom taxonomies, custom meta-data and custom permalinks enabling you to serve your content in the way you want it to. For testing purposes, you can also install it locally on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. It also has a simple preview feature to inspect the rendered content before transferring to the production environment.

Broccoli Taco static site publishing service
15. Broccoli Taco: This is a promising static website generator that renders data-driven pages at blazing fast speed. It supports handlebars templating engine with an array of helpers and partials to build a custom website that meets your needs. You can build both blogs as well as a website through this solution. It gives you micro level control over assets and data associated with the pages.

The only bare-bones requirement to run a website is a single index file required within a project folder. One can specify data associated with pages in several popular formats, for e.g. JSON. It generates a well-organized directory structure segregating files and scripts for easy management. You can use this static website generator on GitHub Pages too.

Cabin static website generator
16. Cabin: This easy-to-use static website generator is powered by Node from under the hood. Its automated build system refreshes content and layout upon modification. GitHub hosted themes can be easily used in this framework. It has a nice collection of minimal and visually appealing themes ideal for developers and techies.

You can deploy a blazing fast static website through this solution on almost any web hosting environment. Theme creation is also dead simple and one can extend the default theme quite easily. It supports two popular templating engines and also includes CSS preprocessing. End users can easily publish posts and pages in Markdown format.

JBake platform for static websites
17. JBake: This Java-powered static site generator in one of the promising candidates included in this list. It supports three different templating engines which gives you enough flexibility to create custom designs in your preferred format. Similarly, content can be written in several popular formats like in Markdown or in classic HTML format.

Developers can also integrate popular front-end CSS frameworks within this site generator to quickly deploy a custom project. It is completely blog-aware supporting RSS feeds, archive pages, and categories. Website owners can also store the published content on an external service such as Dropbox or a Git server. Power users can also define custom meta-data associated with the pages.

Cactus for Mac to publish static sites
18. Cactus for Mac: Mac users will find this handy static site generator very useful for quickly deploying a website in their preferred hosting environment. This tool lets you choose the type of website or blog you want to create and accordingly creates default folders and files. It is powered under the hood by a micro web server that allows easy local development.

It also supports CSS preprocessing and a powerful templating engine out-of-the-box. Content can be written in plain text as well as in Markdown format. With instant refresh and handy preview support, one can easily track the changes before deploying the website on a live hosting environment. It also has a plugin system and provides deployment process for S3 and several other hosting platforms.

Grain framework for static sites
19. Grain: Individuals and businesses can use this static website generator for building both a simple blog or a big business website. It supports an array of content formatting engines to let you select the favorite tool for composing articles and posts. It has a powerful preview engine that refreshes the page regardless of the type of asset modified at the backend.

You can install and develop a static website on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. Similarly, theme creation is quite intuitive and flexible for this platform. Its source code is freely available on GitHub which can be forked and extended for added features. I'd recommend using it for building a documentation website or for deploying a blog.

Clojure-powered static website generator
20. Cryogen: It's a simple and powerful static site generator perfectly suited for creating personal or business blog. Core blog features like RSS feeds, archives and sitemaps are automatically handled by this solution. It uses Selmer templating engine and generates static HTML files within seconds. Users can format and compose the posts and static pages in Markdown syntax.

One can freely add HTML, JavaScript and CSS code within the project directory which is automatically picked and processed by the rendering engine. It can be deployed either on GitHub Pages or on a VPS powered by Nginx. The installation process itself is very easy with no complex configuration steps. I've successfully tested it on my Ubuntu box without any issues.

Roots static website generator
21. Roots: It's a powerful static compiler ideal for generating websites made with static HTML, CSS and JavaScript files. Its extreme flexibility enables developers to use different programming languages. It can also pull in custom meta-data and can incorporate it seamlessly within a project. Its rich API methods allows developers to build large static websites with ease.

One can also use an extension or can write his own add-on to create pluggable features for the website. You can configure it both for staging and production environments for easy transfer or migration of the project. It also a rich set of directives for the command line. Developers can also build multilingual websites through it.

PHP-powered static website builder
22. Vaseman: This versatile and flexible static website generator is aimed for professional PHP developers. It has a rich plugin ecosystem with equally powerful command line tools. It is powered by Twig templating engine with support of logic constructs to create rich web pages. Similarly, end users can easily format the content through Markdown syntax.

Power users can also use it for prototyping. Defining or customizing permalink structure is a breeze when using this system. It also has a powerful debugging helper to quickly find bugs and anomalies, if any. While composing individual pages, we can use YAML for specifying page-specific data to be used by the rendering engine.

Logya static website platform
23. Logya: This Python-powered static site engine can be used to deploy a project within seconds. Once configured, content can be composed in any text editor either in HTML format or in Markdown syntax. It uses Jinja2 templating system which is further augmented via integration of custom data types. You can literally host it just about anywhere you like.

Websites created through this powerful static site generator are search engine friendly with custom permalinks and XML or HTML sitemaps. Default project instance includes front-end framework Bootstrap and jQuery library which can be omitted, if not needed. You are free to fork it on GitHub to add project specific features in the core.

DocPad static web publishing system
24. DocPad: This immensely flexible static website generator is ideal for programmers and developers. It allows easy integration of version management tool of your choice. It has several ready-made project templates to spin off a website within minutes. It can be powered by different programming languages making it quite popular among a large community of developers.

Once your static website is ready in a staging environment, you can push it to different popular hosting services without any issues. It has one of the largest inventories of plugins to add custom features to a website. It also has a lively community of developers where new users can get lots of help in getting familiar with the power of this framework.

Harp static website publishing service
25. Harp: And last but not the least, this flexible static site generator can run a project powered by popular web and front-end technologies. It can automatically process and generate static HTML files from the project folder. It also supports good numbers of popular preprocessing technologies to code your design in your preferred way.

It also has rich support for making design templates which are enriched with helpful partials to custom code select sections. It also supports custom meta-data, loops and variables to create smart designs without any complexities. Like other popular solutions, this framework also supports website deployment to all the popular developer oriented hosting platforms.


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