What is the best Open Source CMS for HUGO?

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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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While we do provide top-tier hosting, it is completely optional. CloudCannon is a Git-based CMS so all the content changes push back to your Git repository making it seamless to host on GitHub Pages, Netlify, Vercel, or wherever you’d like really.

We also have a feature called Outputs which makes it easy to host on your own infrastructure. With Outputs, when we build your Hugo site, we commit the static output to a branch in your repo. That means you don’t need to run the Hugo build again for your own server, you can just copy the static site straight from your repo.

As for vendor lock-in, we do everything we can to minimize this. Our goal is for you to use CloudCannon because it’s the best CMS rather than being forced to use it because you’re locked in:

  • Configuration lives in a CloudCannon specific file which can be removed if switching to another CMS.
  • Our component system, Bookshop is open-source and can be used independently of CloudCannon. It’s also not a requirement to use CloudCannon but it does enable a pretty cool editing experience.
  • You own your content and website, it lives in your Git repository. You can stop using CloudCannon at any point without having to do any sort of export.

If anyone wants to test Netlify CMS, a new theme is available!

I had no idea CloudCannon had a personal plan :hushed:

Is there a page that tells us what’s included? I couldn’t find anything on the pricing page.

Also, I’m assuming the Outputs feature is optional for hosting externally? My host handles the building of my site and I don’t want to commit my public files to source control. For Hugo this is especially important because you have to delete it after every build to avoid conflicts with previous ones.

It’s something we’re experimenting with, you can find it in your account settings. Basically has no sharing but lets you try out the editing experience.

Correct on outputs, it’s an optional feature for hosting externally. It commits the build version of your site to a branch of your choosing so you don’t need to do another build on your own infrastructure. If you have your own build pipeline you don’t need it. CloudCannon is a git-based CMS and all your changes will save back to your repo, so it’ll just work with your existing build pipeline, no extra configuration necessary.


I was using Google Cloud at first (Firebase hosting to be precise) (not bad and they have a free tier)
I tried Forestry for the CMS flavor (not bad either)
Now, I have switched to Netlify, the experience is really smooth and I recommend it !
It builds automatically your site after every git push. Really easy and fast.

Cloud Cannon for sure


It says only a 14 day free trial on their pricing page then its $45 pcm (or $540 pa) for the lowest (ie. standard) tier.

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Ah, you are right… they have changed that. The only thing I can say: it is worth every penny.