Why these three companies chose Hugo to power their websites

Stories from 1Password, Kubernetes, and a data visualisation consultancy down the road from me in Sydney.

Ron Erdos • Updated September 20, 2020

1Password

Mitch Cohen, the documentation team lead at 1Password explains:

At 1Password, we used to go through a different documentation platform every month: blog engines, ebooks, wikis, site generators written in Ruby and JavaScript. Each was inadequate in its own special way. Then we found Hugo. We made one last switch, and we’re glad we did.

I love this quote from Cohen too:

We’re a security company, so we swear by static sites and use them wherever possible. We feel much safer pointing customers at HTML files than at a complicated server which needs to be hardened.

It reminds me of when I asked the dev lead at a company I worked for if we could migrate from the database-powered blogging platform (and WordPress fork) Ghost to Hugo.

He gave me the thumbs up, saying his devs would prefer to not have to maintain and secure another database for something that could be easily done with a static site platform.

So, we migrated to Hugo. They still use it today.

Anyway, it’s worth reading the full 1Password case study on why they chose Hugo to power their documentation site.

Kubernetes

The Kubernetes website migrated from Jekyll to Hugo in 2018. There were a few reasons behind the switch. One of these was compile time. The Kubernetes team explain:

At 250+ pages, the Kubernetes site’s build times suffered significantly with Jekyll. We’re excited about [switching to Hugo and] removing the barrier to contribution created by slow site build times.

Another reason for migrating from Jekyll to Hugo: multilingual support. Here’s the Kubernetes team again:

Our initial search focused on finding a language selector that would play well with Jekyll. The projects we found weren’t well-supported, and a prototype of one plugin made it clear that a Jekyll implementation would create technical debt that drained resources away from the quality of the docs.

They continue:

Hugo’s multilingual support is built in and easy.

Here’s the full article from Kubernetes on migrating from Jekyll to Hugo.

Small Multiples

Small Multiples is a data visualisation consultancy in inner-city Sydney, Australia. (Hello, by the way, I’m not too far from you!)

Originally, Small Multiples ran a Squarespace website, but felt that an off-the-rack solution “didn’t reflect our technical capabilities and the types of products we build for our clients”. Fair enough, as a tech shop, they certainly had a point.

So the team set out to replace Squarespace.

The Small Multiples team knew and liked Netlify (so do I) from their client work, so they chose it for their hosting / CDN.

Next, the Small Multiples team wanted a server rendered website builder. They looked at Gatsby but “didn’t choose it due to the lack of availability of a simple CMS driven data source”.

The team at Small Multiples eventually chose Hugo, having seen it work at scale to power Smashing Magazine, and because it had a variety of CMS options such as NetlifyCMS and Forestry.

Of Hugo, the Small Multiples team say:

Fortunately, the site is more portable now than it was, or would have been with a dynamic CMS like WordPress, or a fully hosted service like Squarespace.

They continue:

No part of the pipe-line is tightly coupled, the hosting, the CMS and the templates and the build process can all be updated independently, without changing anything else.

We have complete control over the design and mark-up produced. This means we can implement a better responsive design and have a stronger focus on accessibility and performance.

Here’s the full article exploring Small Multiple’s switch from Squarespace to Hugo.

Do you have a story about choosing Hugo you’d like to share? Please email me at ron dot erdos at [the website you’re on] and I’d love to feature it!

"Thanks so much for your work ... I'm migrating my WordPress blog to Hugo and it's been really helpful" — Francisco S., engineer and blogger

The planets in our solar system