Like many over the years we have watched WordPress grow and bloat. Doing nearly everything through a SQL database may add flexibility but with a significant performance hit. The developers attempts to make it simpler to use make it harder if you want to put some twists in – bah to Gutenberg!

Moving from Windows to Linux a decade ago was a revelation. Could moving from WordPress to Hugo be a similar revelation?

TL:DR No, but ….

Pros:

  • Hugo will run on macOS, Windows, Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and on any machine where the Go compiler tool chain can run.
  • Producing pure html code for uploading to your website made it unbelievably fast compared to an equivelent WordPress site on the same server.
  • Because it is pure html there are no PHP or MySQL/MariaDB dependencies. If it runs it will keep on running forever unchecked.
  • The ability to build the site on your own PC and view modifications in real time on your favourite browser made editing a dream.
  • Like WordPress – it’s free.

Cons:

  • Windows users may be uncomfortable running command line stuff on their PC and (S)FTP
  • The structure of menus/content/images etc is non-intuitive. You will have to work from an example.
  • Content is contained in Markdown files. New users will need a cheat sheet to build content
  • There is a limited and unimpressive range of ready built themes.
  • There isn’t a plugin to solve every problem

Conclusion:

I enjoyed trying to build this site in Hugo. In the end I couldn’t get it to do all I wanted in the way I wanted. I reluctantly reverted to creating yet another WordPress site. On the other hand Hugo is now part of our website builder portfolio. If you want a simple fast site it is probably the best. The target market is straightforward information websites. The Hugo Showcase (see the Hugo site) gives a good flavour of the type of site you should consider using Hugo.

Hugo is for the coder who enjoys learning fast and doesn’t require handholding (aka expecting a YouTube video to solve any known issue). WordPress is the easiest way for the novice to get into website building. It’s plethora of themes and plugins means you are limited only by your imagination in design terms.

An analogy in transport terms is Hugo is like a motorbike whereas WordPress is more like a top trimmed motor car. Speed, economy or comfort?

Hugo: two wheels better than four?
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