Static & Simple Sites: Generators and Hosting

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What’s a static site?

A static site is a website that has only client-side files: meaning it doesn’t use a database. The site is completely comprised of HTML, CSS, and maybe JavaScript files, and if you were to take all these files from the server where they are kept and put them somewhere else, you would have the complete site re-built. In a static site, all the pages are already ready for the visitor before the visitor requests to see them. This site is an example of a static site, and it’s built with Jekyll (more on that below). Typical other examples include documentation sites like the Jekyll documentation website.

This is in contrast to dynamic sites. Dynamic sites are sites where the pages aren’t ready for a user until the visitor makes a request for them. Dynamic sites also rely on database information to create sites that show pages specific to each visitor (whereas a static site shows the same information to any visitor). Most websites you can think of are dynamic websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

Static sites have several advantages: they can be blazing fast, can be cheaply hosted or hosted for free, and are very lightweight. Static site generators are frameworks that permit you to spin up and support static sites with ease.


Jekyll is an amazing, lightweight static site generator. It’s a framework for organizing and generating static files and partials. It’s got great documentation and was created by a Github founder. It’s an awesome solution for rolling your own blog or small personal site, and can be hosted for free on Github’s gh-pages.

I built a seed Jekyll application with tons of lovely features for you to fork and use for free on Github for your own projects.

Visual interfaces for creating Jekyll sites and adding or editing pages

Themes and freebies

Documentation and tutorials

Hosting static sites