GitHub Pages vs Read the Docs

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GitHub Pages vs Read the Docs: What are the differences?


GitHub Pages and Read the Docs are both popular platforms used for hosting documentation websites. They have some key differences in terms of features and functionality. In this Markdown code, I will provide a concise comparison between GitHub Pages and Read the Docs.

1. Customization: GitHub Pages offers a higher level of customization compared to Read the Docs. With GitHub Pages, you have more control over the design and layout of your documentation website. You can easily modify the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code to match your branding and styling preferences. On the other hand, Read the Docs provides a more standardized layout and design, limiting the customization options available.

2. Hosting Options: GitHub Pages is specifically designed for hosting static websites, including documentation. It seamlessly integrates with your GitHub repository, allowing you to easily publish and update your documentation with every commit. Read the Docs, on the other hand, is a dedicated platform for hosting documentation and provides additional features such as API documentation and versioning support. It supports hosting both static and dynamic documentation websites.

3. Collaboration Features: GitHub Pages provides robust collaboration features as it is part of the larger GitHub ecosystem. You can leverage the pull request workflow and easily collaborate with other contributors, making it an ideal choice for open-source projects. Read the Docs, while it also supports collaboration, does not offer the same level of built-in collaboration features as GitHub Pages. It primarily focuses on hosting and generating documentation.

4. Automatic Documentation Generation: Read the Docs has a distinct advantage when it comes to automatically generating documentation. It is designed to seamlessly integrate with popular documentation generators, such as Sphinx for Python projects. Read the Docs can automatically build and update documentation from the project's source code, making it an efficient option for projects with frequent documentation updates. GitHub Pages, on the other hand, requires manual generation and deployment of the documentation files.

5. Scalability: Both GitHub Pages and Read the Docs are scalable options for hosting documentation websites. However, Read the Docs is well-suited for large and complex projects with multiple versions and API documentation. It provides features like versioning and automatic linking between different versions, making navigation between versions easier for users. While GitHub Pages can handle considerable traffic and documentation, it might require additional customization to efficiently handle complex projects.

6. Documentation Hosting Platform: Read the Docs is a dedicated documentation hosting platform, specifically designed to host and generate documentation. It offers additional features like search functionality, support for multiple programming languages, and translations. GitHub Pages is primarily a code hosting platform that includes the option to host documentation websites. It provides stronger integration with the GitHub workflow, making it a seamless choice for projects that heavily rely on Git and GitHub.

In Summary, GitHub Pages provides more customization options, seamless integration with Git workflow, and excellent collaboration features; whereas, Read the Docs excels in automatic documentation generation, scalability for complex projects, and comprehensive documentation hosting platform.

Decisions about GitHub Pages and Read the Docs
Howie Zhao
Full Stack Engineer at yintrust · | 7 upvotes · 217K views

We use Netlify to host static websites.

The reasons for choosing Netlify over GitHub Pages are as follows:

  • Netfily can bind multiple domain names, while GitHub Pages can only bind one domain name
  • With Netfily, the original repository can be private, while GitHub Pages free tier requires the original repository to be public

In addition, in order to use CDN, we use Netlify DNS.

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Pros of GitHub Pages
Pros of Read the Docs
  • 290
  • 217
    Right out of github
  • 185
    Quick to set up
  • 108
  • 107
    Easy to learn
  • 58
    Great way of setting up your project's website
  • 47
    Widely used
  • 41
    Quick and easy
  • 37
    Great documentation
  • 4
    Super easy
  • 3
    Easy setup
  • 2
    Instant and fast Jekyll builds
  • 2
    Great customer support
  • 2
    Great integration
  • 13
    GitHub integration
  • 7
    Free for public repos
  • 2
    Automated Builds

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Cons of GitHub Pages
Cons of Read the Docs
  • 4
    Not possible to perform HTTP redirects
  • 3
    Supports only Jekyll
  • 3
    Limited Jekyll plugins
  • 1
    Jekyll is bloated
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    What is GitHub Pages?

    Public webpages hosted directly from your GitHub repository. Just edit, push, and your changes are live.

    What is Read the Docs?

    It hosts documentation, making it fully searchable and easy to find. You can import your docs using any major version control system, including Mercurial, Git, Subversion, and Bazaar.

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    Blog Posts

    What are some alternatives to GitHub Pages and Read the Docs?
    Netlify is smart enough to process your site and make sure all assets gets optimized and served with perfect caching-headers from a cookie-less domain. We make sure your HTML is served straight from our CDN edge nodes without any round-trip to our backend servers and are the only ones to give you instant cache invalidation when you push a new deploy. Netlify is also the only static hosting service with integrated continuous deployment.
    GitLab Pages
    Host your static websites on for free, or on your own GitLab Enterprise Edition instance. Use any static website generator: Jekyll, Middleman, Hexo, Hugo, Pelican, and more
    Amazon S3
    Amazon Simple Storage Service provides a fully redundant data storage infrastructure for storing and retrieving any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web
    Medium is a different kind of place on the internet. A place where the measure of success isn’t views, but viewpoints. Where the quality of the idea matters, not the author’s qualifications. A place where conversation pushes ideas forward.
    The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call “home” — we’d love you to join the family.
    See all alternatives