Earlier, websites were merely a collection of static HTML documents. All the web pages were hard-coded in advance.
But as the digital landscape continues to evolve, brands are witnessing the growing popularity of a new tool.
Enter – Static Site Generators!
This tool works by taking a collection of markdown files and converting them into HTML using templates.
In layman’s terms, these generators represent a middle ground between manually creating an entire website from scratch in HTML and using a CMS such as WordPress.
Let’s take a look at how this unique tool can enable you to build high-performing websites.
How Are Static Site Generators Different From HTML Webpages and CMS?
Before we move forward, let’s discuss how SSGs are different from HTML webpages and CMS.
Here are some key differences:
- Since SSGs generate static websites, files can be served and cached very easily.
- They are secure as there isn’t any code being executed on the server.
- It is easier to author content as you are writing in Markdown instead of HTML.
- It makes styling easier as you can write directly in templates.
Advantages of Static Site Generators
Speed, security and SEO are some of the advantages of static site generators. Besides, they are also easy to maintain and highly scalable.
It comprises static files, no database is required, resulting in many additional benefits.
Some of which are:
All the assets generated by Static Site Generators are static and there is no direct involvement of a database. As a result, such static assets can be served from a simplified web server or directly through a CDN.
CDNs have a ready-to-serve infrastructure already in place and all static assets are rendered in advance. As a result, there are no extra services or system ports needed to serve a statically generated website. Thus, a lot of attack vectors are easily eliminated from the picture.
Static sites are easy and economical to scale.
In the case of the backend, we need more RAM, CPU, Bandwidth, Storage, and CDNs to scale up, which is very costly and inefficient.
To scale static sites we only need more bandwidth and storage which relatively costs less and easily available by CDNs.
A webpage request takes more time to complete when it has to interact with a number of systems. And those systems need to perform logical operations on the basis of the request.
When a website is built through Static Site Generators, no logical operations are needed to serve a webpage since all that prior work has already been done and the webpage is already cached in the CDN.
This automatically boosts the overall performance of the website by reducing the serving and loading time of the web pages.
How to Choose the Best Static Site Generator?
There are some key considerations that need to be kept in mind while choosing a Static Site Generator. Let’s take a look at the most important ones:
The very first factor to consider while choosing a static site generator is the kind of project you intend to do with it.
If you are building a website primarily for delivering content, then a static site generator which prioritizes generating content pages and URLs might be the best fit.
Tools like Hugo, Nuxt, Jekyll, and Eleventy can serve you best.
If it is a web application project, you mightneed a more advanced static site generator such as GatsbyJS or NextJS.
If the website you are building consists of thousands of pages, then you need a static site generator that has faster built speeds. Some static site generators have incredibly fast page generation speeds like Hugo and Eleventy.
While developing a website, you often need a templating tool that supports the complexity of your content. This is why businesses often look for developers that are efficient in working with templating engines. It is better if the same templating engines are supported by the static site generators you use.
This way, you can leverage the skills of your peers in conjunction with the particular static site generators.
As a result, the team becomes more productive in serving the content using familiar and overlapping technologies. For example, if your team members don’t know React, then choosing a React-based static site generator will mean that they will not only learn about the key functionalities of that particular static site generator, but they will also get to learn React.
While developing websites, challenges are inevitable. Usually, the tech stack documentation enables you to overcome challenges like scalability, navigation and accessibility. But sometimes you need help from someone more experienced to tackle edge cases.
In the same way, while choosing a static site generator, it is important to consider one that has been in the market for a long time. While they might not have the newest features, what they do have is a wealth of articles to cover tedious problems.
With newer static site generators, you may not find as many answers, and hence to find solutions you need to wait until someone has a solution or workaround. This is where a developer can help you.
JAMStack maintains a long list of static site generators, and you can find this list here. If you are interested in getting expert insights on how you can introduce static site generators into your projects, team Grazitti has all the answers!
Wish to Build a Website With Static Site Generators? Contact Us!
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