What is the best Open Source CMS for HUGO?

Not Open Source, but Cloud Cannon is really pushing hard on new features to support Hugo sites and helping me migrate away from Forestry. With TinaCMS as the primary focus and some recent services issues with Forestry, I wouldn’t point anyone to it anymore. :frowning: Which is sad because for a while I was pushing everyone to use it for Hugo sites.


Minor addendum: The themefisher version of the airspace theme is actively maintained (i.a. by me), it’s found here.

Hi @salim , I updated the link and the comment, thanks!

1 Like

Hi @zivbk1 ,

Could you please share some details? Forestry is a good candidate (despite closed-source) and I consider using it in production…

IMHO Forestry works well for now and I still have some sites on it, but in private conversations with people in that organization, and from the apparent shift in focus to TinaCMS away from adding new features to Forestry, I would see Forestry as a shorter term solution who is on the way to retirement. It is my understanding that there is work planned to make Tina work for SSGs like Hugo, but it is not available yet (that I know of).
I know that Cloud Cannon is actively working on features to support a handful of SSGs and I would consider it the replacement to Forestry. I am currently moving my sites from Foresty to that solution.


You might also look at this https://frontmatter.codes/ which works well with GitPod.io

The combo is an excellent way to manage git-backed content directly from the repository.


The Front Matter Headless CMS runs within Visual Studio Code.

That looks quite impressive. Thanks for sharing.

I will be testing it.

Hm… actually I think that this deserves its own topic. Hugo users need to know about it.


Confirmed, Forestry will be shut down in the near future:

“we’ll have a generous migration window to help our existing Forestry users migrate to Tina Cloud before we officially sunset Forestry CMS”
Source: Tina Cloud, the next iteration of Forestry | Forestry.io


I would never lie to you my friend. :blush:


I would never lie to you my friend. :blush:

I guess internet made me paranoïd! :grin:

1 Like

CloudCannon is absotely awesome. It is the best option currently available. It is much more user friendly than Netlify, as it is much closer to ‘zero-config’, which I value highly. CloudCannon has a great free tier and is even better than the sunsetting Forestry. CloudCannon is currently integrating Tina-like features, which work like magic! I speak from experience, as I am a heavy CloudCannon user. CloudCannon even featured me on their website: Usecue | CloudCannon

PS. I did quite some research on Hugo CMS systems while creating my own niche (high-end) oriented Hugo-specific CMS (which is NOT free NOR open-source).


StackEdit.io is an open-source and web-based Markdown editor.

I was able to edit Markdown files with a WYSIWYG + live Preview and commit quite easily to a Gitlab repo.

New files can be created from StackEdit from a customizable template.

Major drawbacks:

Here are my notes about the Setup in Gitlab (Github support is broken and requires the use of a tricky workaround):

Create a new App in Gitlab → Profile → Applications: https://gitlab.com/-/profile/applications

Here is the “scope” of a functionnal setup:

 Callback URL 	
Confidential 	No

    api (Access the authenticated user's API)
    read_user (Read the authenticated user's personal information)
    read_api (Read Api)
    read_repository (Allows read-only access to the repository)
    write_repository (Allows read-write access to the repository)
    openid (Authenticate using OpenID Connect)
    profile (Allows read-only access to the user's personal information using OpenID Connect)

In StackEdit, select “Manage Workspaces” to see and edit a whole Folder and his content

This is a project I would love to see revived!

Two things I’m thinking about (but will probably have no time to make real):

  • Get in touch with the dev of StackEdit Pro and ask him to release the source-code of his improvements in case he wants to give up this project.
  • Convince the lovely folks at Netlify to invest a part of their fund dedicated to the Jamstack in StackEdit

I was looking at Cloudcannon and the feature set compared to Netlify seems… really poor for the same price point. They do offer a Personal (free) version but if it’s even more limited than the Standard (first tier paid) version then I can’t imagine what is left to do. Their CMS (cloudcannon) does look incredible but the value proposition compared to Netlify seems very poor. I haven’t looked deep into Netlify CMS and the last time i played with it was 4ish years ago.

Hey @gaetawoo, CloudCannon cofounder here. Thanks for checking it out! Keen to dig into what you’re see as limited in the feature set, maybe I can address your concerns :smile:

1 Like

I was a Forestry user, currently trying Tina (the non-React-based SSG support version) and there is a lot I like about it but I’m very much open to looking into other options given the cost implications.

I’ve just started looking at CloudCannon purely from having noticed it mentioned here. My initial impressions are very good but something simple like ‘Menus’ I can’t seem to figure out.

Forestry had Menus but Tina doesn’t yet or the experimental version I’ve been trying certainly doesn’t. I found Menus in Forestry really handy especially if you wanted to re-order a menu item having the GUI just to be able to drag the order kept it really simple.To me it seems like a feature that would be fundamental to any CMS.

If the editing for any of my Hugo sites will be done by a developer (or me) then I’m going to use Front Matter for a while.

How are other people handling Menus? Tasks like re-ordering menu items or adding/editing menu items is something I feel a CMS user will expect to be able to do if they have a content managed website.

1 Like

It’s a good question. In CloudCannon, we recommend using a data file for navigation, something like this:

- title: "Home"
  link: "/"
- title: "About"
  link: "/about/"
- title: "Services"
  link: "/services/"

Then in CloudCannon, you can easily add, reorder, update and delete items to your navigation.

1 Like

This is really good. Apologies if it should be obvious but what do you recommend for a multi-level navigation?

You could use the built in Hugo navigation if you’re populating it from the front matter. From a developer’s perspective, I’m a big fan doing it this way. From the editors perspective, we find it requires too much context to comprehend.

For multi-level, I’d recommend using a data file with CloudCannon structures.

You can have a recursive structure like this:

  - name: Home
    link: /home/
  - name: About
    link: /about/
  - title: Resources
      - name: Tutorials
        link: /tutorials/
      - name: Templates
        link: /templates/
      - title: Community
          - name: Forum
            link: /forum/
          - name: Discord
            link: /discord/

And you would configure a CloudCannon structure to allow an editor to create this structure with this:

      - label: 'Item'
          name: ""
          link: ""
      - label: 'Nest'
          title: ""
          menu: ""

This basically says anywhere I’m using a menu key in front matter, make it an array which editors can add two different types of items to. Either a “Item” which has a name and link or a “Nest” which has a title and another menu. So you can have infinite nesting with this method.

It’s makes it easy for an to update, rearrange, restructure and build their own nested navigations. See a little demo video of this in action.


This is very interesting stuff. I’ll need to have a thorough read of the docs especially the configuration stuff but I really like what I see here. Thanks

The situp on Cloudcannon seems really easy. Can I situp on my own server because it appears that there is a verndor lock hosting on your platform? I wonder if I use Hugo, which is open and builds everything, why should I get myself locked in with Cloud Cannon instead of using the open netlify cms? I think the ease of situp is the pro here.

1 Like