You’d be hard pressed to find two more popular but distinctly different tools to use for static site generation than Eleventy and Next.js. In fact, simply comparing Eleventy and Next.js suggests a false equivalency — while both tools can generate static websites, they’re intended for two very different markets and use cases, from a focus on lightweight static sites (Eleventy) all the way up to complex and interactive web apps (Next.js).
Luckily for both developers and content teams, CloudCannon supports both Eleventy and Next.js: whichever tool you choose for your static sites, with CloudCannon you’ll have the benefit of accessible content management, flexible dev tooling, and intuitive content editing and page building.
With that said, let’s start comparing apples and oranges, shall we?
Next.js is a powerful hybrid framework for both server-rendered React applications and statically exported React applications and websites. As a framework, Next.js handles the tooling and configuration developers need for React, while also providing additional structure, features, and optimizations for their applications.
Next.js is increasingly popular among developers with React experience, or those who require the flexibility of a hybrid model that can encompass both server-side rendering (SSR) and static site generation (SSG) in a single project.
Backed by Vercel, the stated aim for Next.js is to bring the power of full-stack to the frontend. With recent developments including new Rust-based tooling for transpilation and minification, and the incremental bundler and build system Turbopack replacing Webpack, Next.js looks set to remain a powerhouse for users who want the full gamut of development options available to them.
|Templates / Starters||Yes (Next.js uses the term ‘Template’.)||Yes (Eleventy uses the term ‘Starter’.)|
|Installation requirements||Via npm||Via npm|
|Multilingual and i18n||Multilingual with a little work; i18n built-in.||Both via plugins.|
|Easy WordPress / legacy converter||No; you’ll need to convert to Markdown and then clean up your content.||No; you’ll need to convert to Markdown and then clean up with layout templates.|
|Support communities||Next.js Discord is a busy and helpful community.||Eleventy Discord and 11ty-community are both helpful; 11ty.rocks is also a great place to start.|
|Twitter accounts||Next.js Twitter||Eleventy Twitter|
|Code splitting||Yes (automatic)||Yes (manually)|
|Disable runtime JS||Yes (experimental feature)||No runtime JS required by default|
|Content security policy||Via
||Custom HTTP headers rules|
|CloudCannon support||Yes — your Next.js sites (in SSG mode) can be editable in minutes with CloudCannon.||Yes — you can get your Eleventy sites editable in minutes with CloudCannon.|
The short answer — as always — is that it depends on you, your team, and your plan for the future of your project.
Further, Eleventy is a great choice if your workflow includes collaborative development across multiple languages, or you’re handing off a built site to an external development team with a wide range of language preferences. Because Eleventy is both minimal and flexible, it’s easy to theme and extend, and brings with it a gentle learning curve for beginners to static sites.
Choose Next.js if you (or your team) have existing React expertise and/or components, or you already know your website project or app will grow in size and/or scope beyond a plain static site in the near future. Remember, Next.js is more than a static site generator. It’s a hybrid framework, meaning it blends server-side generated pages with static pages. This makes Next.js a compelling option for content-rich websites with a large number of pages (100k+), because upfront build time can be minimized or avoided entirely.
Similarly, for large e-commerce stores that rely on search and filtering to help users find one product among thousands, Next.js’s server-side rendering gives developers more flexibility to handle scaling. Larger development teams with short timeframes to scale their architecture will equally benefit from Next.js; if your team was tasked with launching a production-ready app as soon as possible, it’d be hard to look elsewhere.
CloudCannon’s focus is, and always has been, making content editing and production more accessible to everyone, no matter the use case. Accordingly, we provide excellent support for both Eleventy and Next.js, meaning we’re here for you whichever approach you choose. With our Git-based CMS, your content teams will be able to easily build pages in an intuitive visual editor, while developers benefit from our flexible approach to configuration and content management.
We’ve published a series of tutorials on getting started with Eleventy, and we also have a comprehensive overview (and video guide) of how to get started with Next.js and CloudCannon. It’s worth nothing, however, that our support for Next.js is focused on Next.js’s SSG capabilities, and as such does not include SSR.
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