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David Large for CloudCannon

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The best headless CMS for Hugo

You already know Hugo. It’s one of the most popular static site generators in the world, because of its optimized build speeds, built-in templates for SEO, analytics, commenting (and more!), and its flexibility for developers. But while frontend developers will usually be the ones who build and set up new Hugo websites, they’re far from the only people who use Hugo on a day-to-day basis. In fact, most content and marketing teams will spend more time adding, removing, and tweaking website content than a site’s developer will. (This is another reason Hugo’s blistering fast build speeds are vitally important for production sites which see a lot of content changes.)

Do you really need a CMS for Hugo?

If you’re a developer creating a portfolio website or a personal blog that no one else will ever need to update, you might not. But for digital agencies, developers-for-hire, and everyone else on your team — including future team members, whose technical skills or enthusiasm to learn new tools aren’t yet known — you’ll want to future-proof your website editing and page-building capability. In the discovery phase of a new site build, it’s crucial to find the right content management system for your Hugo websites, and not just one that’s ‘good enough for now’. And that’s where CloudCannon comes in.

Edit easier than ever

Content and marketing teams — let’s call them site editors for simplicity — need to be able to create and build out pages with a clear and intuitive interface. Site editors generally don’t want to use the command line, and they almost certainly don’t want (or need) to worry about Git. They’re focused almost entirely on the way the content looks and reads on the page — how it feels — and anything that takes them out of the ‘content zone’ is a distraction.

But being ‘in the zone’ means different things to different people, so CloudCannon offers the most intuitive and configurable interface on the web. Developers can choose from a range of editing controls to personalize the editing interface for each team of editors. Even the most non-technical editors will be able to find the workflow that works for them, with as much (or as little) complexity as they need to do their work.

Share and approve content

Site editors also need to be able to share their work before it’s published, so collaboration is at the heart of how CloudCannon works. After all, there’s not a content writer alive who hasn’t made a typo, published the wrong product, or changed their minds about something on a page in the split-second between clicking ‘Save’ and waiting for the page to render.

CloudCannon’s Projects feature allows site developers to set up a configurable approval workflow between Staging and Publication modes, meaning there can be multiple steps for subeditors, brand managers and even legal teams to approve content before the world sees it. Approval workflows can always be customized to meet the needs of any team.

Live rendering editing(!) and page-building with components

I know what you’re thinking — editing the content live on a page, in Hugo? Is that even possible? Absolutely! With CloudCannon and our open-source component development tool Bookshop, your site editors can work directly on the page itself, changing the content they need to, and seeing their changes immediately, without a Save/Build/Refresh step. What’s more, Bookshop lets site editors create new pages from a browsable list of page components — all live and instantly rendered on the page itself, with no guesswork.

With CloudCannon and Bookshop, developers can create prebuilt custom components from simple (images, headings, text fields, social embeds) to more complex designs (image grids, testimonials, and CTAs). These components can be easily dragged, reordered, and cloned, with new content added or removed as needed.

Work together, better

Here’s where we talk — just a little, and without unnecessary detail — about Git. Whether you’re using GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket, CloudCannon works seamlessly with your repository. Developers and site editors can use CloudCannon simultaneously via two-way Git syncing to edit both content and features, keeping your work accessible until you’re ready to publish.

And because your site files stay in your own Git repo, they’re always yours. CloudCannon privileges data portability — we simply refuse to lock away your site’s files, settings or content — so you’ll always have the freedom to take your content wherever you want to.

Edge hosting with CloudCannon

CloudCannon also offers a competitive hosting option on a global CDN with stellar performance, allowing you to deploy quickly and securely without setting up a single server. All CloudCannon sites receive a unique domain name for immediate use and testing on all devices, with SSL enabled by default. 

With CloudCannon, you’re not locked into a hosting agreement, so you can always choose to stay agile and select the best option for you. Host on your own infrastructure if you prefer — CloudCannon’s builds are committed to a branch in your repository, so all you need to do is copy the static files to your server.

Let’s get started

Whether you’re a seasoned Hugo developer or just starting out, we’re here to support your Hugo projects. In our Jamstack Tutorials section you can learn how to set up and configure a Hugo site to get the most out of CloudCannon, or learn the basics of Hugo and build your first site in our Hugo beginner’s tutorial. Or if you’d prefer to jump straight in, why not deploy one of our Hugo themes with a single click, and start exploring?

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