As web technologies evolve, developers constantly explore new tools and frameworks to enhance their websites’ performance and maintainability. One such transition involves migrating a personal homepage from Gatsby, a popular React-based web framework, to Hugo, a static site generator written in Go. In this blog post, we will explore the motivations behind such a migration and discuss the steps involved in making the switch.

Why Migrate from Gatsby to Hugo?

There are three main points, with the last one being the most impactful on my decision to finally migrate.


While Gatsby offers great flexibility and extensibility, it can be complex for simpler websites. Hugo, on the other hand, embraces simplicity, making it an ideal choice for personal homepages without much functionality. For me, as a non-web developer it was just too hard to deal with Gatsby any longer.


Gatsby generates dynamic React-based websites, which can be resource-intensive and slower to load. Hugo, being a static site generator, generates plain HTML files, resulting in blazing-fast load times and a more efficient use of resources.

Not only the page itself, but also the build process is much faster (from several minutes to less than 100 milliseconds).


Gatsby relies on a vast ecosystem of plugins and dependencies, which can occasionally lead to version incompatibilities and maintenance challenges. Hugo, with its minimalist design philosophy, offers a smaller set of dependencies and is less prone to issues caused by the complex web of dependencies.

My page was running two major version of Gatsby behind the latest version, and I tried upgrading several times, but as a non-web-dev guy I had no chance.

Step-by-Step Migration Guide

  1. Familiarize yourself with Hugo

Before migrating, it’s essential to understand Hugo’s core concepts, such as content organization, templating, and configuration. Hugo’s official documentation and online resources provide a wealth of information to get you started.

  1. Analyze your Gatsby project

Carefully examine your existing Gatsby project and identify its structure, content, and any additional features or plugins you want to migrate. This analysis will help you plan the migration process effectively.

  1. Set up a new Hugo project

Create a new Hugo project by following the installation instructions provided in the official Hugo documentation. Use the Hugo CLI to scaffold a basic project structure.

  1. Choose theme

Select a Hugo theme that aligns with your desired design and functionality. Of course, you can just migrate your current Gatsby theme to Hugo, but that would be a lot more work. It’s a lot easier to just pick an existing one and customize it to match your needs. Hugo’s templating is different, but by choosing an easy to adapt theme, this is pretty straightforward.

  1. Migrate content

Transfer your existing Gatsby content, such as blog posts, pages, and images, to the appropriate directories in your new Hugo project. You may need to modify your content files accordingly.

The best feature of Gatsby

One of the standout features of the Gatsby framework is its ability to create seamless and fast user experiences by eliminating the need for page reloads. Unlike traditional websites that require a complete refresh when navigating to different pages or sections, Gatsby leverages JavaScript and its reactive capabilities to update the content dynamically. This means that when a user clicks on a link or interacts with the site, Gatsby updates only the necessary components, resulting in an incredibly smooth browsing experience. This makes the website feel remarkably faster and more responsive to users.

On the other hand, Hugo does not have such a possibility. It’s just a static site generator. But there is an awesome project out there, which transforms every static site to a progressive web app: fireship-io/flamethrower By including that small library - which is really easy to use - into my Hugo page, it had the same killer-feature as the Gatsby page.


It was very satisfying to finally migrate my personal homepage from Gatsby to Hugo. It has been on my to-do list for a while, but I just found it difficult to complete. After all, the migration only took a few days, and I couldn’t be happier!

It was a really enjoyable project for me, and now that my new page is set up, I only see good things. Even more impressively, I managed to transfer the PWA-like experience from Gatsby to Hugo, thanks to the awesome library flamethrower.