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Hugo vs Jekyll vs Pelican: What are the differences?


In the world of static site generators, Hugo, Jekyll, and Pelican are three popular choices that offer developers the ability to create fast and efficient websites. However, each of these tools has its own unique features and characteristics. In this article, we will delve into the key differences between Hugo, Jekyll, and Pelican in order to help you make an informed decision on which static site generator is best suited for your needs.

1. Structure: Hugo uses a single binary executable that is written in Go. This architecture allows Hugo to be incredibly fast, making it a popular choice for large websites or blogs. On the other hand, Jekyll is written in Ruby and requires Ruby to be installed on the system. Pelican, on the other hand, is written in Python and uses the Jinja2 templating engine.

2. Extensibility: Both Hugo and Jekyll have a wide range of themes and plugins available, allowing users to extend the functionality of their websites. However, Hugo has a larger and more active community, resulting in a greater number of themes and plugins. Pelican, though it has a smaller community, also offers a good selection of themes and plugins.

3. Performance: When it comes to performance, Hugo outshines both Jekyll and Pelican. Hugo's Go-based architecture allows it to generate websites in just a fraction of the time it takes Jekyll or Pelican. This makes Hugo a great choice for websites that require frequent updates or have a large number of pages.

4. Templating: Jekyll uses the Liquid templating language, which provides a flexible and easy-to-use syntax for creating templates. Hugo, on the other hand, uses Go's native templating language, which may require a bit more learning for those unfamiliar with Go. Pelican uses the Jinja2 templating engine, which offers a similar syntax to Liquid and is also easy to use.

5. Content Organization: Hugo uses a content organization structure that is based on folders and files. This makes it easy to create and organize content, especially for larger websites. Jekyll, on the other hand, uses a similar structure but requires key-value pairs in the file headers for additional metadata. Pelican uses a similar structure to Jekyll, with content organized into folders and files.

6. Deployment: Hugo offers a built-in server for testing and debugging websites locally. It also provides easy deployment options to various platforms, including FTP, Git, rsync, and more. Jekyll and Pelican also offer similar deployment options, but may require additional configuration or plugins for certain platforms.

In summary, Hugo offers exceptional performance and a large community, making it ideal for large websites or blogs that require frequent updates. Jekyll and Pelican both offer solid performance and a good range of themes and plugins, but may be better suited for smaller websites or blogs. Ultimately, the choice between these static site generators will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Advice on Hugo, Jekyll, and Pelican
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 · 27.3K 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 · 5.8K 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 Hugo, Jekyll, and Pelican
Manuel Feller
Frontend Engineer at BI X · | 4 upvotes · 164.1K 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 Hugo
Pros of Jekyll
Pros of Pelican
  • 47
    Lightning fast
  • 29
    Single Executable
  • 26
    Easy setup
  • 24
    Great development community
  • 23
    Open source
  • 13
    Write in golang
  • 8
    Not HTML only - JSON, RSS
  • 8
    Hacker mindset
  • 7
    LiveReload built in
  • 4
    Gitlab pages integration
  • 4
    Easy to customize themes
  • 4
    Very fast builds
  • 3
    Well documented
  • 3
    Fast builds
  • 3
    Easy to learn
  • 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
  • 7
    Open source
  • 6
  • 4
    Implemented in Python
  • 4
    Easy to deploy
  • 3
  • 2
    RestructuredText and Markdown support
  • 1
    Easy to customize
  • 1
    Can run on Github pages

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Cons of Hugo
Cons of Jekyll
Cons of Pelican
  • 4
    No Plugins/Extensions
  • 2
    Template syntax not friendly
  • 1
    Quick builds
  • 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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    - No public GitHub repository available -

    What is Hugo?

    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.

    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.

    What is Pelican?

    Pelican is a static site generator that supports Markdown and reST syntax. Write your weblog entries directly with your editor of choice (vim!) in reStructuredText or Markdown.

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    Blog Posts

    What are some alternatives to Hugo, Jekyll, and Pelican?
    Hexo is a fast, simple and powerful blog framework. It parses your posts with Markdown or other render engine and generates static files with the beautiful theme. All of these just take seconds.
    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.
    It builds completely static HTML sites that you can host on GitHub pages, Amazon S3, or anywhere else you choose. There's a stack of good looking themes available. The built-in dev-server allows you to preview your documentation as you're writing it. It will even auto-reload and refresh your browser whenever you save your changes.
    JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
    Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
    See all alternatives