Hooray for Hugo!

26 March, 2017

Why Hugo? Why not Drupal or Wordpress which I have built sites with before? After all, Wordpress purportedly runs 23 of the world’s web sites. Why not go with the flow? I can give you the following reasons:

Meets requirements

Here is what I want from this web site: deliver content telling people about me and what I do, and tell people things that I find interesting. Why do I need a huge setup with a backing database, logins to remember, and the never-ending security updates? Static web sites don’t need them, and now, there are static web site generators like Hugo, Jekyll and Hyde and many others to help make the process easier.

Of course the other side of the coin is that if your web host has Softalicious, or Installatron, a new, working web site is just a couple of clicks away - one run by e.g. Wordpress with thousands of plugins to add extra features to your site. Also, a site with a wysiwyg text editor built in - all you need to do it select from the many many themes, and start adding content!

The other downside of static site generators is that you have to be able to install and run unix-style apps and have to use markdown to create your content, and this might be a bridge too far for some.

Both methods result in a working web site, with the advantage towards Wordpress for its ease and speed in getting to a working result.

Hugo is fast!

I’m old-enough to have used the internet before the world-wide-web, and can remember how simple and fast the first web pages were - even on slow modems. If all your site is doing is serving information and blog entries, why do you need a backing database and lots and lots of widgets?

Also, think about the amount of energy that’s needed to do the multiple database lookups and merges and compositions on multiple levels that a modern content management system does - is it all necessary? Not if you don’t need the extras!

So, if a page request can immediately respond with the contents of a file (perhaps one sitting in a cache), it has to be fast - as fast as your connection to the page server can be. On first impressions, it cannot be faster!

Strong advantage to Hugo here.

Hugo generates secure web sites.

Not having to log in to your site over the internet means, not only that you don’t, but also that nobody else can either!

1/ I’ve attached an image of ‘Recent log entries’ from a Drupal site (the precursor to this one). There is page after page of the same. What’s happening here? ‘wp-login.php’ is the page which allows you to log in to a Wordpress web site, e.g. goiser.com/wp-login.php. It’s not a Wordpress, so has a different login page, so rejects the requests.

2/ I have a Wordpress site (www.canberraev.org) with a lockout blocker on the ‘admin’ account which blocks repeated failed attempted logins from the same IP address. With reporting turned on, it reports a lockout every couple of hours.

What does all this mean? It means that there are lots of attempts to get into other people’s sites all over the place, all of the time. Like spam, it’s no effort to set up an app to search the internet for web sites and then try to log in, and just set it running. Like spam, these apps must occasionally come up with a hit, and give these hackers admin access to a web site. Just think about that, and the consequences..

(If a static site is hacked, the master is sitting on your computer, so you only need to re-upload it!)

If it’s impossible to log into your web site online, it’s impossible to be hacked.
That’s a strong win for Hugo!!

Hugo is interesting!

From the beginning of the web, we’ve people have built web sites manually, then using apps which allow you to drag-and-drop, and have wysiwyg editors, and now the big thing is these hugely powerful content management systems like Wordpress and Drupal - (well over 1,000!).

Now, as often happens, there’s a move that can be seen as a backlash - a back-to-basics movement. Don’t you find that interesting? I do! Unfortunately, I can’t be on the bleeding edge of this movement, but you can see the future from just behind the pack as well!


If you don’t need all the bells and whistles of a content management system, you don’t need to buy into all the concomitant responsibilities and issues, and can turn your energies to other parts of your life. This is my hope.

Thank you for reading!

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