#HugoPowerUser: reasons to choose Hugo

I’m more of a settings person than a content person. I really like to tweak this blog as much as I can, even more than I like to write some new posts on it. It’s a bit of a playground and a sandbox for new technologies.

This is one of the reasons I switched to Hugo, the static website engine. I’ll write a series of posts on how I switched from Wordpress and how I customized the website to suit me.

Welcome to why did I change my blog’s design and structure for the 4th time.

Wordpress is nice for beginners but can be a mess

I’m not a web developer and I get easily lost in nested CSS files. So when I started my blog (about 2014), I chose Wordpress as the obvious solution. It’s a nice engine/CMS, very user-friendly, but requires a lot of tweaking to make it work decently, especially on a poor hosting as the one I had first, while updating the Wordpress core, themes, plugins and backups becomes tedious. If you are a beginner, consider the (free) hosting on wordpress.com.

Whenever I wanted to tweak something specific, for instance add an HTML line in the header I had two choices: install a plugin that does it or learn how to become a Wordpress developer. After too many plugins changing the content and database their way, the nested changes were just to much for my hosting to handle while the quality of the resulting HTML just fell.

I needed something simple that works fast, simply without all the fuzz.

Why a static website engine?

Think about it: what does a blog offer? Text, maybe some images, in a nice formatted way. The content is mostly static and there is no specific reason to have a dynamic generator underneath or even a database to handle the content that could be easily stored in those same HTML files that are served directly.

My reasons for a static website:

  • Static websites are faster, especially on cheap hosting services. With a few tweaks I’ll show you in future posts I was able to minimize the blog size and increase it’s speed exponentially. The speed ratings of this website reached 100% on some measurements.
  • I like Hugo more than like Wordpress, I love Markdown and using my editor. Hugo is a kind of software that gives an amazing UX, although is just a command line program.
  • No security holes! There are no dynamic parts and nothing any attacker could do. No login forms, no databases, just nothing!
  • No engine, plugins or themes to update: the Hugo command get’s updated occasionally but the upgrade is straight forward.
  • I can version all my content with Git and use other programming best practices such as a Changelog
  • Using Git, the backup of all my content is as simple as a git push to a (free) remote repository like on BitBucket (private) or GitHub (public) or even a local git-remote to an USB key. There is absolutely no need for exports, database dumps, www-folder backups and so on.

Basically: once the website is up, there is no management of it anymore, except for content changes.

Should you use Hugo?

The cons, for any non-tech-savvy user could be:

  • You have to write everything with your editor: there is no WYSIWYG writing. On the other hand once the website is set up (an expert can help for this part), writing the content is just Markdown, which is bloody easy, while Hugo can generate and refresh the website locally blazingly fast.
  • Using Git is not that user friendly and many people complain about that. Of course using Git is not required although it’s a mayor advantage.
  • The theme needs to be customized manually (footer, header, CSS parts). Again an expert can help for this part.

If those are not a problem for you, then use Hugo. Now. Go. Click that link!


This post is part of the series Hugo Power User. Check the other ones:

  1. #HugoPowerUser: reasons to choose Hugo
  2. #HugoPowerUser: content organization
  3. #HugoPowerUser: make it web friendly pt. 1
  4. #HugoPowerUser: make it web friendly pt. 2
  5. #HugoPowerUser: make your static website even faster
Categories: Blog
Tags: Hugo Power User // Blog // Hugo // Wordpress // Design