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Gatsby vs Jekyll: What are the differences?

Introduction Gatsby and Jekyll are two popular static site generators used to build websites. While they both serve the same purpose of generating static websites, there are key differences between the two platforms. This Markdown code will provide a comparison between Gatsby and Jekyll, highlighting their distinctive features and functionalities.

  1. Integration with React vs. Liquid Templating Language: One of the major differences between Gatsby and Jekyll lies in their templating languages. Gatsby uses React Templates, allowing developers to build dynamic and interactive user interfaces using JavaScript. On the other hand, Jekyll uses Liquid templating language, which provides a more limited set of functionality compared to React.

  2. Plugins and Ecosystem: Another significant difference between Gatsby and Jekyll is the availability of plugins and the surrounding ecosystem. Gatsby boasts a vast plugin ecosystem with a wide range of community-developed plugins that extend its functionality and make it easier to implement various features. Jekyll, on the other hand, has a smaller selection of plugins available, limiting its flexibility and customization options.

  3. Build Process and Performance: Gatsby and Jekyll also differ in their build process and resulting performance. Gatsby uses a build process that pre-fetches and pre-renders pages, resulting in fast loading times and improved performance. Jekyll, on the other hand, generates static HTML pages directly, which can sometimes result in slower loading times, especially for larger websites.

  4. Data Fetching and Sources: In terms of data fetching, Gatsby and Jekyll have distinct approaches. Gatsby provides built-in functionality for fetching data from various sources, including APIs and databases, allowing developers to easily populate their websites with dynamic content. Jekyll, on the other hand, is more limited in terms of data sources and primarily relies on static data stored within the project itself.

  5. Development Experience and Scalability: The development experience and scalability of Gatsby and Jekyll also differ. Gatsby's ecosystem and use of modern JavaScript technologies, such as webpack and GraphQL, provide a more powerful and scalable development experience. Jekyll, while straightforward to set up and use, may encounter limitations when it comes to larger and more complex projects.

  6. Hosting and Deployment: Lastly, Gatsby and Jekyll differ in terms of hosting and deployment options. Gatsby allows for easy deployment to platforms such as Netlify or Vercel, with options for serverless and cloud-based hosting. Jekyll, on the other hand, is more commonly hosted on traditional web servers and requires manual deployment, limiting the flexibility and scalability of the hosting process.

In summary, Gatsby and Jekyll differ in templating languages, plugin ecosystems, build processes, data fetching capabilities, development experience, and hosting options. These distinctions should be considered when choosing between the two static site generators based on project requirements and preferences.

Advice on Gatsby and Jekyll
Needs advice

Hi everyone, I'm trying to decide which front-end tool, that will likely use server-side rendering (SSR), in hopes it'll be faster. The end-user will upload a document and they see text output on their screen (like SaaS or microservice). I read that Gatsby can also do SSR. Also want to add a headless CMS that is easy to use.

Backend is in Go. Open to ideas. Thank you.

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Replies (2)
Vishal Gupta
Senior Architect at Mindtree Ltd · | 3 upvotes · 27K views

If your purpose is plain simply to upload a file which can handle by backend service than Gatsby is good enough assuming you have other content pages which will benefit from faster page loads for those Headless CMS driven pages. But if you have more logical/functional aspects like deciding content/personalization at server side of web application than choose NextJS.

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Leonard Daume
CTO - Doing the right things right at QYRAGY GmbH · | 2 upvotes · 5.6K views

I have experience with Hugo and Next.js, but not with Gatsby. I would go with Next.js. However, I used Astro for my last project, so I would recommend Astro. Astro is much faster and you can use almost any frontend framework if you need to.

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Decisions about Gatsby and Jekyll
Manuel Feller
Frontend Engineer at BI X · | 4 upvotes · 163.2K views

As a Frontend Developer I wanted something simple to generate static websites with technology I am familiar with. GatsbyJS was in the stack I am familiar with, does not need any other languages / package managers and allows quick content deployment in pure HTML or Markdown (what you prefer for a project). It also does not require you to understand a theming engine if you need a custom design.

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Pros of Gatsby
Pros of Jekyll
  • 28
    Generated websites are super fast
  • 16
  • 15
  • 10
    Progressive Web Apps generation
  • 9
    Easy to connect with lots of CMS via official plugins
  • 9
    Reusable components (React)
  • 7
    Allows to use markdown files as articles
  • 5
  • 5
    All the benefits of a static website + React+GraphQL
  • 5
  • 4
    List of starters as base for new project
  • 3
    Easy to connect with Drupal via official plugin
  • 3
    Open source
  • 1
    Gitlab pages integration
  • 1
    Incremental Build
  • 74
    Github pages integration
  • 54
    Open source
  • 37
    It's slick, customisable and hackerish
  • 24
    Easy to deploy
  • 23
    Straightforward cms for the hacker mindset
  • 7
    Gitlab pages integration
  • 5
    Best for blogging
  • 2
    Low maintenance
  • 2
    Easy to integrate localization
  • 1
    Huge plugins ecosystem
  • 1
    Authoring freedom and simplicity

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Cons of Gatsby
Cons of Jekyll
  • 6
    No ssr
  • 3
    Very slow builds
  • 3
    Documentation isn't complete.
  • 2
  • 2
    Slow builds
  • 2
    Flash of unstyled content issues
  • 1
    Problematic between develop and build commands
  • 1
    Difficult debugging
  • 1
    Too many dependencies
  • 1
    Plugin driven development
  • 1
    Difficult maintenance
  • 4
    Build time increases exponentially as site grows
  • 2
    Lack of developments lately
  • 1
    Og doesn't work with postings dynamically

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What is Gatsby?

Gatsby lets you build blazing fast sites with your data, whatever the source. Liberate your sites from legacy CMSs and fly into the future.

What is Jekyll?

Think of Jekyll as a file-based CMS, without all the complexity. Jekyll takes your content, renders Markdown and Liquid templates, and spits out a complete, static website ready to be served by Apache, Nginx or another web server. Jekyll is the engine behind GitHub Pages, which you can use to host sites right from your GitHub repositories.

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What companies use Gatsby?
What companies use Jekyll?
See which teams inside your own company are using Gatsby or Jekyll.
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What are some alternatives to Gatsby and Jekyll?
Hugo is a static site generator written in Go. It is optimized for speed, easy use and configurability. Hugo takes a directory with content and templates and renders them into a full html website. Hugo makes use of markdown files with front matter for meta data.
Next.js is a minimalistic framework for server-rendered React applications.
Lots of people use React as the V in MVC. Since React makes no assumptions about the rest of your technology stack, it's easy to try it out on a small feature in an existing project.
Create React App
Create React apps with no build configuration.
The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call “home” — we’d love you to join the family.
See all alternatives