Using a static website generator

Static, Practical, Great

Article from Issue 250/2021
Author(s):

If you only want to put a blog, technical documentation, or a web business card online, static website generators can save you a lot of work.

Most websites today are delivered by a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Drupal, or TYPO3. While you can conveniently operate these CMSs from a web browser, you also need a scripting language such as PHP and a database running on the web server. This complicates not only installation but also maintenance: Attackers can exploit a vulnerability in the CMS to harvest information or even hijack the web server. Moreover, a CMS only assembles a page when a visitor wants to read it. Dynamic generation costs time and also computing power if there are multiple requests.

Do the Work First

Static website generators take a different approach. They receive the website contents and use a design template to generate the individual web pages. You only have to upload the result to your own web server.

Because the pages are ready for delivery, they require neither PHP nor a database. The web server can also deliver them far faster than dynamically generated pages. On top of that, this type of static site can be stored in a version control system such as Git.

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