I thought a few of you might be interested in the experiment I've been tinkering with this afternoon.

My homepage ( is now generated by Hugo - powered by Netlify, with markdown source stored at GitHub.

The interesting thing perhaps is that I have nearly six thousand posts. And it handles it.

The first build took 15 minutes to build and deploy. A subsequent commit of a change to a post took 3 minutes to build and deploy.

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@jonbeckett what made you decide to switch? Trying new things or was Jekyll failing at something?

@kevingranade Partly experimenting with Hugo - partly frustrated that I had to mangle the backlog of old posts to help Jekyll survive (it doesn't play well with lots of files).

Hugo still isn't great at lots of files, but it's better than Jekyll at it :)

@jonbeckett ...but does the 3 mins include the Netlify overhead. What were the raw Hugo build/rebuild times for the local site ?

@andyc oh, locally it's about 10 seconds. Watching the netlify build, it appears they make a container for each build - then swap the DNS at the last moment.

@jonbeckett Funnily enough, I use Papermod for another simple site. I think it's quite flexible and powerful.

@andyc yep - papermod appears to work quite well. I liked it because it was documented a fair bit better than some of the others.

The only tweaks I've really made to it is to filter the RSS down to the last 10 posts, and show the full post content in the RSS (so Zapier can grab it and send to Wordpress and Tumblr).

@jonbeckett I've played around with both Hugo and Jekyll for my own website, and I've used them for some project websites at my previous job.

I was never very happy with either of them. I also never found a theme I liked for either. For my personal site, I went back to Wordpress, which is also horrible to work with, but has a lot of themes at least.

In the past, I've designed my own themes. I'm considering just building a site from scratch like in the old days.

@veronica I went through the same pain earlier today - digging through the Hugo themes until I found something passable. Half the problem with all of these projects is the haphazard documentation you have to collect from numerous different sources to make sense of what's going on.

I have also played around with various platforms over the years, including Joomla and Ghost at one point but always returned to Wordpress.  I have a few database projects and find that Wordpress with Pods works well...

..but I often think that one day I will switch to some better platform..

It sounds like Hugo is easy to work with.  Have you used it for anything other than just a blog?

@adam Yep - similar journey - have used all the big platforms both for work and personal use over the years. Hugo and Netlify work well together. I think if a site is fairly small, either Hugo or Jekyll are great.

That being said, there's a huge argument (certainly for commercial work) to just go with Squarespace (unless the client wants a specific design).

Most of the website projects I am working on nowadays require some special features that would be a nightmare to do in Squarespace...but that is because I am no longer freelancing and just do work for a few key clients.

But I can see your point about most places that just want a basic site would probably do well to use something like that rather than pay a developer to customize something and then leave them hanging.

I am coming to the conclusion that custom websites (especially with database features) are a long-term relationship between a developer and the client

@adam Absolutely right. Most of my work is either in govt or corporate these days - and they have gone almost 100% towards low code cloud solutions (where they can). It's the management cost too - Wordpress sounds simple until you have to pay for the hosting, or if it's a big company the fail-over, monitoring, etc, etc - whereas managed services are just a consistent cost.

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