Best static site generators of 2022

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(Image credit: Startupstockphotos / Pexels)

The best static site generators will help you build websites and publish pages swiftly. 

It takes a long time and lots of expertise to build and update a website – and loads of people just don’t have either of those resources available. If you fall into that camp, then it’s worth considering a static site generator.

A top-quality static site generator can take your customized website templates, combine those with content drawn from several sources, and then create and publish pages within seconds – so you can quickly generate new pages and create new content without having to rely on complicated CMS systems or coding anything from scratch.

The best static site generators churn out high-quality pages with speed and precision, and they’re able to support hundreds of different templates, plugins, and themes – and they can grab content from loads of different places. We've compared these static site generators on aspects like ease of use, learning curve, documentation, variety of plugins and languages, and pricing, among other things. 

We’ve gathered eight of the best right here, so you’re sure to find the right product for your site. You don’t have to stop there if you need some web-design help: check out our picks of the best website builder services right here.


The best static site generators of 2022 in full

Why you can trust TechRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Hugo

(Image credit: Hugo)

1. Hugo

An open-source static site generator with amazing speed and flexibility

Reasons to buy

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More than 300 themes
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Loads of useful tools
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Intuitive design

Reasons to avoid

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Uses Go programming language

Hugo (opens in new tab) claims to be the fastest static site generator on the web, and we can’t argue with the figures – this product boasts a site generation time of less than 1ms per page.

There’s plenty to like elsewhere, too. Hugo includes more than 300 themes, so you’ll be able to find the perfect look for your site, and it also ships with templates that can handle common site-building tasks, like SEO optimization, enabling comments, and adding analytics.

Hugo’s slick design pairs with impressive flexibility. This product supports unlimited content types, and it works in multiple languages. And if you want to get technical, you can use markdown syntax, shortcodes, and multiple output formats. You can also upload Hugo-built sites to any host.

Hugo is open source, so it works on every big platform – and it’s completely free. Start here if you need a fast, intuitive site generator and don’t want to spend any cash.

Website screenshot for Pelican Static Site Generator

(Image credit: Pelican)

2. Pelican

A Python-powered static site generator

Reasons to buy

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Relies on the popular Pyython and Jinja systems
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Works in multiple languages

Reasons to avoid

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Needs Python to be installed

Pelican (opens in new tab) is another free, open-source static site generator, and it uses the Python programming language and Jinja for templating and themes. That’s a great start: Python is popular, and Jinja has high-tech templates for virtually every situation.

Pelican enables users to create content in reStructuredText or Markdown, its static output can be hosted anywhere, and it can publish content in multiple languages. It supports Atom and RSS feeds, and it can also import content from WordPress, RSS feeds and other services – so you can use content from existing sources to generate new pages.

The modular plugin system enables hundreds of extra features for your sites, too. This is another great free option, but be aware that it is only suitable if you are already familiar with Python and have Python installed on your device.

Eleventy

(Image credit: Eleventy)

3. Eleventy (11ty)

A simple and straightforward static site generator

Reasons to buy

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Easy to use
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Uses loads of programming languages
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Free to use

Reasons to avoid

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Not as in-depth as other products

Lots of static site generators are daunting if you don’t have a technical background, but Eleventy (opens in new tab) tries to buck the trend with an emphasis on simplicity.

Its simplicity doesn’t mean that Eleventy lacks features. Impressively, you can use and mix ten different template languages when you build sites using this product, from HTML and Markdown to Javascript and Mustache, and Eleventy also supports custom file extension handlers and the ability to add plugins in a server-free environment.

It’s a free product, too, so you’ve got no excuse to get going, especially if you want to build sites with multiple languages. Eleventy is impressively fast in the browser and during builds, and is highly configurable because it runs on JavaScript. 

You'll also find plenty of documentation and support from an active community (GitHub and Discord) if you have any queries.

Gatsby

(Image credit: Gatsby)

4. Gatsby

A whole suite of website-creation products along with static site generation

Reasons to buy

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Loads of integrated products
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Supports more than 2,000 plugins
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Includes accessibility products

Reasons to avoid

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Best features aren't free

Gatsby (opens in new tab) isn’t just a static site generator – it’s a suite of tools that aims to take the pain out of all aspects of website creation. It can generate websites with content that’s pulled from your choice of CMS, database, API, or file system, with over 2,000 plugins supported.

Once you’ve grabbed your content, you can integrate the tech you’d like to include on your static sites, preview it on Gatsby’s cloud service and upload pages and sites to your chosen web host.

There are plenty of benefits to Gatsby. Automated code-splitting, prefetching and image optimization speed up site-building, sites scale when needed, and accessible building is standard.

Gatsby’s free Cloud product allows one user to build on one custom domain, but if you want to scale up then you’ll need to pay for its Professional or Enterprise products, which start at $42.50 per month if you pay annually. With this much going for it, though, Gatsby easily justifies its cost.

Nikola

(Image credit: Nikola)

6. Nikola

Smart, incremental website creation

Reasons to buy

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Imports content from loads of formats
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Time and space-saving builds
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Versatile CMS options

Reasons to avoid

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Needs Python knowledge

Nikola (opens in new tab) gets to work quickly by importing content from several different formats, including Markdown, Python, HTML, and reStructedText, and it creates incremental builds of your sites – which saves time, bandwidth, and storage space.

You can host Nikola’s site on any provider, and there are plenty of other features that make this tool easier to use and more powerful. Its user interface revolves around easy commands, it includes automatic rebuilds, and it works with loads of CMS apps if you do not want to delve into coding and command-line interfaces.

Elsewhere, Nikola supports almost forty languages, it allows you to write your own plugins and use those in its extensive library. And, as an open-source product, it is free too. 

Nikola has an IPython plugin that makes it quite easy to create IPython content. 

Jekyll

(Image credit: Jekyll)

6. Jekyll

Easy to use static site generator that's impressively versatile

Reasons to buy

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Straightforward structure
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Great documentation
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Good import options

Reasons to avoid

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Not as in-depth as some tools

Jekyll (opens in new tab) is a simple and effective static site generator that’s been around since 2008, and it remains one of the most popular free options on the market.

It uses a repetitive and straightforward command structure that makes it easy to use, even for command line beginners. It can import content from WordPress, RSS, Google Reader, Joomla, and loads of other third-party providers.

Jekyll uses the Liquid template language to deploy loads of different themes and extras on your sites, and it’s currently used by companies like Spotify, Twitch, and Netflix to produce pages quickly and effectively – so you can be sure that it’ll do the job for you, too. Although there's no custom code in the templates, they are simpler and come with great helpers and filters. 

Jekyll can also generate  JavaScript, CSS, and HTML files from CofeeScript, Markdown, or Sass files.

Publii

(Image credit: Publii)

7. Publii

A static site generator that doesn’t need command-line knowledge

Reasons to buy

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Intuitive graphical interface
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Loads of great features
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One-click synchronization

Reasons to avoid

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Less helpful for technical users

Publii (opens in new tab) differs from most static site generators because it doesn’t make users run to the command tool to get things working. Instead, Publii uses a desktop application with a conventional interface, and it works on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. That makes this tool easier for anyone who isn’t familiar with command lines.

It’s got a built-in WordPress importer that captures existing content in seconds, and its straightforward interface means you can quickly select templates and themes, drag-and-drop new additions, and create a stylish site.

Publii takes care of Google AMP and SEU requirements with plugins and tutorials, too, and your pages can be hosted anywhere. It’s got one-click synchronization with Google Cloud, GitHub, AWS and other cloud hosting providers, and you’re still able to dive into the code if you’d prefer thanks to Block and Markdown editors.

Impressively, Publii is free too. It’s one of the most comprehensive static site generators on the market, and it’s a top choice if you want a more familiar interface.

Website screenshot for Statiq Web

(Image credit: Statiq Web)

8. Statiq Web

A Microsoft-based static site generator

Reasons to buy

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Uses Microsoft's .NET platform
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Ideal for text-heavy sites
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Ties into other tools

Reasons to avoid

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Less useful for beginners

Statiq (opens in new tab) is a newer addition to the static site generator marketplace, and it’s one of the few products that runs on Microsoft’s .NET framework – so it’s ideal if you’re well-versed in that development platform.

It’s easy to add content to Statiq’s web pages by using Markdown, and it’s just as simple to add metadata, assets, and scripts to your pages as long as you’re familiar with using the Command Line.

Statiq Web is free, and it ties in with other products too: Statiq Docs builds websites that house plenty of documentation, and Statiq’s Framework tool can create custom static generation applications – so you can even create your own static page generation tool.

Make no mistake about it: Statiq Web and its partner products are high-end and powerful tools that require plenty of technical knowledge to use effectively. But if you do understand your way around .NET and the command line, you’ll be good to go.

We've also highlighted the best web hosting and the best alternatives to Squarespace.


What is a static site generator?

Static site generators are alternative tools to content management systems (CMS) and they generate static HTML websites by applying data and content to templates. 

The HTML pages that static site generators create are known to load incredibly swiftly in browsers.

How to choose the best static site generator for you?

These are the top options available today. Each one comes with a set of positive and negative points. One of the most important things to consider when choosing one of them over another is your own technical abilities. 

If you are more knowledgeable than some, then you will definitely be disappointed in the less technical SSGs. If you are interested to learn, your best option is one with a medium level of technical difficulty paired with dependable documentation to guide you through the process.

You should also take into account the speed you prefer for your website. It is natural for developers to go with the faster ones. 

Another consideration is the programming language. You should go with the SSG that is written in the language that you are most skilled with. Otherwise, you will have to start by learning the language, which can take a lot of time and you may end up losing energy or interest in building your site afterward.

The best static site generators: How we test

We've tested these static site generators across numerous points to determine how well they perform. We looked at what user-level they were best suited to, their learning curve, and the programming languages they offered. 

We evaluated the number of themes they offered, the variety of useful tools, the quality of documentation, and the number of plugins they supported. 

We also checked how many formats the tools would allow importing from and how intuitive the overall graphical interface was, among other aspects. 

Mike has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade and has written for most of the UK’s big technology titles alongside numerous global outlets. He loves PCs, laptops and any new hardware, and covers everything from the latest business trends to high-end gaming gear.