In our previous article, we talked about decoupled implementations of WordPress that don’t use the standard editor or front-end. Statically-generated WordPress websites do use the WordPress editor and front-end, but are still decoupled from the rest of the WordPress server.
These implementations are simple to use, and provide the same speed and security benefits as headless, decoupled implementations. However, static WordPress sites add additional steps to updating your website, as your site must be re-generated and re-deployed with each edit. This method also removes a number of content management features that make WordPress such an attractive option.
Static site generation is great, and provides a built-in editorial workflow as changes can be made, approved, and then deployed. Whether or not it is a right fit for you depends upon your use case, and the complexity of the functionality you expect to offer.
top static site generator tools for wordpress
Below, we list some of the leading plugins for static WordPress generation. However, this is still a growing market. We anticipate many more challengers to enter this arena in the coming years.
In comparing the below tools, we found a great deal of overlap. In each case –
- the plugin offers a free version and a premium version;
- the plugin touts speed, security, and simplicity of hosting;
- the plugin is compatible with most static hosting solutions such as Cloudflare, AWS S3, and Netlify.
For that reason, it’s hard to assess the advantages and disadvantages of each. With that being said –
- Simply Static is a tool we’ve used on client sites in the past, but only on its free tier. The Pro version integrates with GitHub, which allows for additional hosting options not available in the free tier;
- WP2Static offers auto-deployment, which removes an additional step when making site updates. More recently, they’ve teamed up with Strattic, a publishing and hosting platform led by Elementor;
- Staatic touts compatibility with WordPress multi-sites, and auto-deployment even from WordPress sites that are auth-protected.
simplicity with sacrifices
Static websites are very simple, but that simplicity comes at a cost. Much in the same way that creating headless/decoupled WordPress experiences remove some dynamic features of the WordPress front-end, the same is true for static sites.
When you deploy a static site, there is no database connection back to the WordPress server. Therefore, plugins that add dynamic features may not work, or work in the same manner. This effectively neuters a lot of what makes WordPress such a great publishing tool.
So, for basic marketing site requirements, static sites are fantastic. If you require more advanced functionality such as e-commerce or a logged-in experience, you might want to stick to the conventional WordPress implementation.
alternative static site solutions
WordPress is not the only content management system that offers static site functionality. In fact, there’s hundreds of them when using the Jamstack. While WordPress is unquestionably the premier content management system, static sites sidestep a number of these top-tier features.
In those cases, we would recommend an even easier solution to create static sites, without any of the overhead of a WordPress deployment. In a future article, we’ll cover an alternate static site generator in more depth – one of our favorite’s named Hugo.