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Without CMS, your website is gonna be very hard to manage. Imagine that you can’t change your contact info, product descriptions, or the slogan you have on your header without the help of a developer. Sounds terrible! 


static site generator cms


Luckily, adding a CMS to your website is becoming a standard nowadays. Some are built from scratch, in an entirely custom way, some are just slightly adjusted from the available on the market solutions. CMS, which is a shortcut for Content Management System is a very powerful tool, that helps you to manage your website without any technical knowledge at all! It is equipped with the Admin Panel where you can set which functionalities will be available for which type of the user (usually Administrator, Moderator, Editor, etc.).

One of our latest Tech Talks has been dedicated to using a static site generator as a CMS engine. Let’s find out how to do it using Ruby on Rails!

Table of Contents:

1. What is a static site generator?

2. Why use a static site generator?

2.1. Fast loading time.

2.2. Freedom and flexibility.

2.3. Security and reliability.

3. How to create a static website?


What is a static site generator?

Static sites have been with us for a pretty long time. They were what we used to build the web before dynamic CMSs (WordPress, Drupal, etc.) took over. The question arises then: why should we bother about static sites when we have dynamic CMSs now? Because of the modern tools that appeared within the last years - and static site generators are one of them.

A static site generator is an application that takes your site content, applies it to templates, and generates a structure of purely static HTML files ready to be delivered to visitors. The application itself can be written in any language: Ruby (Jekyll), Go (Hugo), JavaScript (Gatsby, 11ty).

Again - why should we bother, when we have WordPress, Hubspot, and many more advanced solutions? Because using a static site generator brings many benefits in comparison to them. Let’s distinguish them below:

Why use a static site generator?


1. Fast loading time

Dynamically pulling information from a database on every page hit of a content-heavy site can result in delays, frustration, and bounces. SSGs serve pre-compiled files to browsers, cutting load times by a large margin. This means that your website will simply load faster which is a great solution, both when it comes to user experience and SEO matters.


2. Freedom and flexibility

Traditional CMSs may appear to be very advanced and customization-friendly but they have their limits. I can say from my own experience, that when we’ve implemented Hubspot to our website and blog, our development work has become harder. 

Sure, the marketing & sales team got access to a bunch of new functionalities. But when we ask our developers, to change something in the frontend or backend - they need to double the work they would do, if they could simply write the code from scratch. Reading the documentation, trying to understand the API, fixing the bugs that come along the way - trust me, SSG would do a much better job in that case.


3. Security and reliability


When using an external CMS engine such as Hubspot, the biggest threat is security breaches. If someone will attempt to hack Hubspot and succeed - your data will be there. Deciding for a static website, made by a static site generator you have much higher control over all of your data. And they are as safe as your server is.


How to create a static website?


So as you might figure out from the article, one of the best modern ways to create a static website now is to use a Static Site Generator. In the Tech Talk below, our Senior Ruby on Rails Karol and Ruby on Rails Developer Damian compared different ways you can do it using RoR (ENG subtitles available!) and chose the most appealing one. 

They have also explained the evolution of CMSes in our Railwaymen company to show you that this area is constantly changing and requires staying up-to-date. So if you consider, whether you should still use Comfortable Mexican Sofa CMS, or give a try to Refinery, Jekyll, or an entirely custom solution with Action Text - watch the video below!