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Jekyll or Hugo — Help me decide

Build speed

Generally speaking, Hugo builds sites much faster than Jekyll. In this benchmark, Jekyll took 187.15s to build a 10,000 page site that Hugo built in 2.95s. Hugo is written in Go and one of its chief goals is to stay extremely fast. Jekyll is written in Ruby, and while its plugin system makes it very extensible, it can’t keep up with generators like Hugo.


Comparing Jekyll and Hugo build times (

Should build speed matter that much to you? It depends. If you’re building a small site with a few dozen pages that you’ll only edit from time to time, probably not. But if you’re creating an active site whose content will grow and grow over time, choosing a static site generator (SSG) with a faster build speed will make both your development environment and your build pipeline more pleasant to work with.


Jekyll is extensible via plugins written in Ruby and boasts a large ecosystem of them—see awesome-jekyll-plugins. These do anything from creating XML sitemaps and RSS feeds to adding analytics and comments. Hugo does not have plugins but does have built in features to handle those things plus shortcodes to perform common tasks like embedding Youtube videos. You can create your own shortcodes too. These are not, however, nearly as flexible as Jekyll plugins.

If your source content fits into Hugo’s (very flexible) content model, you can probably get by with a combination of Hugo’s shortcodes and partials. But if your source content looks nothing like what the end result will be, you might hit a wall with Hugo. Some very advanced Jekyll sites transform source content several times before it gets rendered to HTML, content that may not even live in the filesystem but is fetched on the fly by a plugin. If that sounds more like your project, definitely verify that whatever SSG you consider lets you achieve that level of customization, especially with Hugo. That said, there is a way to fetch external content from REST APIs with Hugo.


Jekyll is blog-aware, meaning that it has built-in features that help you make a full-featured blog faster, such as drafts, permalinks, categories and posts. Put another way, Jekyll wants you to have a blog (one blog, really). As you read the docs, you’ll see a lot of references to that—blog post-like content must live in a _posts folder, for example. In Jekyll-land, there are pages and posts, the difference being that pages don’t have dates. This is a bit more like a traditional CMS like WordPress. The upside of this is a lower learning curve, as it’s pretty clear where things go, and if you are writing a blog you have less decisions to make. The downside is that you might feel constrained down the road if you want to add brand new sections to your site.

├── _config.yml
├── _data
|   └── members.yml
├── _drafts
|   ├──
|   └──
├── _includes
|   ├── footer.html
|   └── header.html
├── _layouts
|   ├── default.html
|   └── post.html
├── _posts
|   ├──
|   └──
├── _sass
|   ├── _base.scss
|   └── _layout.scss
├── _site
├── .jekyll-metadata
└── index.html # can also be an '' with valid YAML Frontmatter

Common Jekyll directory structure (

Hugo is another story. Hugo lets you decide where your content goes, all of it. What’s a page? What’s a post? You decide! Grab a cup of coffee and read the Content Organization page in the Hugo docs to get the full scoop, and don’t feel bad if you don’t get it the first time around. This makes Hugo extremely powerful—you can have completely separate blogs and other list-like content sections with entirely different layouts and configurations running on the same site. You can output content in formats other than HTML, even JSON. The only thing to watch out for is the learning curve. If it’s your first time with Hugo, you might want to build a few throwaway Hugo sites first before you start drawing up the grand plans for your real project.

├── archetypes
├── config.toml
├── content
├── data
├── layouts
├── static
└── themes

Directory structure for a new Hugo site (


Both Jekyll and Hugo have the concept of themes. Themes are like website templates but structured in a way that the underlying static site generator understands. Using a theme can greatly reduce the amount of HTML, CSS and JavaScript you need to write for a new site. There are tons of Jekyll themes out there, this is just one of many sites that collect them. There are comparatively less Hugo themes but many of them are linked to directly from Hugo’s themes site, making them easier to find and giving you a guarantee that they passed some basic criteria in order to be listed. Both Hugo and Jekyll support overriding pieces of themes, but Hugo’s more advanced template lookup order means that you can often do it with more precision.


Hyde is a popular theme for Jekyll


Hucore is a minimal theme for Hugo based on Hemingway2

Further reading

Here are some other topics worth exploring as you make your decisions:

  • Templates: Jekyll uses Liquid templates which will be more familiar to most developers, whereas Hugo uses the more restrictive but faster Go templating language

  • Assets: Jekyll has some built-in support for asset pipelines as well as quite a few plugins for it; Hugo leaves this up to you (though it may have support in the future)

Contributed by Josh Dzielak

Hugo vs Jekyll: What are the differences?


In this Markdown code, we will provide the key differences between Hugo and Jekyll, two popular static site generators used for building websites.

  1. Performance: Hugo is known for its superior performance compared to Jekyll. Hugo takes advantage of Go's speed to build sites incredibly fast, while Jekyll, built on Ruby, is relatively slower in comparison. This makes Hugo a better choice for large websites or projects with frequent updates, where speed and efficiency are crucial.

  2. Installation and Setup: While both Hugo and Jekyll require certain dependencies to be installed, Hugo has a simpler and more streamlined installation process. Hugo is self-contained, meaning you don't need to install any external dependencies, making it easier for beginners to get started. Conversely, Jekyll's setup may involve some additional steps, such as managing Ruby installations and gem dependencies.

  3. Flexibility of Content: Hugo offers more flexibility in terms of content organization and presentation. It uses a content structure that closely resembles a traditional file system, allowing users to easily organize their content in folders and subfolders. Jekyll, on the other hand, uses a strict naming convention for files, which can make the organization more rigid and less intuitive for some users.

  4. Customization and Themes: Both Hugo and Jekyll offer a wide range of customizable themes, but Hugo provides a more extensive selection. With its built-in support for modular templates and powerful template language, Hugo allows for more advanced customization options. Jekyll, although also customizable, may require more manual coding or configuration for achieving certain design or functionality goals.

  5. Multilingual Support: Hugo has native support for multilingual websites, making it easier to create content in multiple languages. It provides automatic language detection, content translation, and language-specific URL routing. While Jekyll can also handle multilingual sites, it requires the use of plugins or manual configuration, and the setup process can be more complex.

  6. Community and Plugin Ecosystem: Both Hugo and Jekyll have active communities and extensive plugin ecosystems. However, Jekyll has a larger and more established community due to its longer history, making it easier to find resources, tutorials, and community support. Hugo's newer community, though growing rapidly, may have fewer resources or community-driven plugins available.

In summary, Hugo provides better performance, easier installation and setup, more flexible content organization, advanced customization options, native multilingual support, while Jekyll enjoys a larger community and plugin ecosystem. Choose Hugo for speed, simplicity, and advanced customization, whereas Jekyll may be a better fit if an extensive community and plugin ecosystem is important.

Decisions about Hugo and Jekyll
Manuel Feller
Frontend Engineer at BI X · | 4 upvotes · 163.2K views

As a Frontend Developer I wanted something simple to generate static websites with technology I am familiar with. GatsbyJS was in the stack I am familiar with, does not need any other languages / package managers and allows quick content deployment in pure HTML or Markdown (what you prefer for a project). It also does not require you to understand a theming engine if you need a custom design.

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