Has anybody tried Simply Static?

(Alex P) #1

Some time ago I’ve been looking for an archival solution – for projects that no longer need any content updating. I haven’t found anything worthwhile at the time (I found a plugin but it was no longer maintained).

I recently have stumbled upon Simply Static (wp plugin repository / project page) which seems to do just that.

Simply Static is a static site generator for WordPress that helps you create a static site that you can serve separately from your WordPress installation. This provides a couple benefits. One, this allows you to keep WordPress in a secure location that no one can access but you. Two, your static site is going to be really, really fast.

I have no connection with the plugin (and I haven’t tried it yet) but I’m posting it here as it seems a nice solution and was wondering if any of you has ever worked it.

(Leland Fiegel) #2

Haven’t used Simply Static, but I’m familiar with the concept of static site generators for WordPress.

Simply Static’s plugin description lays out the benefits really well: it’s fast (it’s just a bunch of HTML files, no server-side processing needed) and secure (unless your static file host itself is compromised).

You could probably throw it up on something like Amazon S3 super cheaply.

I’d go for it if I were you. Seems perfect for your use case.

Of course, I’d keep a WP backup handy just in case you want to update the design or something. Then you could run that through the static site generator again.

(Dan Knauss) #3

I’ve wanted to try it but never got around to it. Looks like it’s had steady development, but I know nothing about the developer – looks like a solo altruist with only 4000 installs after a few years, so I’d worry about longevity.

My question is why use WP rather than a static site CMS for simple sites since the main value of WP is interactive features through plugins, comments, forms…?

The Simply Static marketing site emphasizes it creates “hack proof” WordPress sites, which is not really true or what I would see as the main value. WP still runs somewhere and outputs a static site to a destination folder. The static site could not be hacked in the usual way, although it might have exploitable Javascript. The actual WP install elsewhere could be locked down very securely and reduce hacking risk to a minimum but not absolutely. Security with normal WP installs is not so hard you need to go static though…

Thanks for the reminder about this plugin! I may use it soon. If you’re testing it, please share your notes.

(Jeffrey Carandang) #4

Seems like a great plugin! Not sure if this is different from static page caching option from several caching plugins though.

(Leland Fiegel) #5

True, if it was still web-accessible. I think the idea behind the claims of being “hack-proof” (at least through a WordPress vulnerability) is the idea that the WordPress installation could be totally destroyed after the static site is generated. Of course, this would make it impossible to use WordPress as a CMS anymore, but for an archival solution like @pax is looking for, it wouldn’t matter as much.

It would be similar in terms of performance. Except for the time it takes to initially process the cached files. But if you don’t plan on clearing them very often, it would be about the same.

There are some other benefits too. Like being able to host on a static-file-only host like GitHub Pages or Amazon S3. And the aforementioned “security” of not having an actual WordPress installation to exploit.

(Piet) #6

I have tried Simply Static and it works actually pretty awesome!

The main reason why I have not implemented it for any of my live sites yet is because I will need to swap out Gravity Forms to an inferior 3rd party forms “solution” and I have not yet reached the point that I’m willing to do that.

The developer of the plugin is very active, receptive to feedback and quick to making changes if required.

I highly recommend taking the plugin for a spin to see what it can do for you!

(Dan Knauss) #7

Far out. Not a use case I have considered!

If you want to retain CMS functionality for future revisions you could generate sites locally from WordPress, track and push changes from a local folder to your webserver, GitHub Pages, or use Dropbox. You could even leave WordPress accessible to remote users over your own network, but then you get back into even more serious security concerns.

I think this plugin should be called MovableTypePress. :grinning:

(Scott Blaine) #8

Hi, I’m the plugin author. Piet was kind enough to mention this post to me.

The ability to archive sites wasn’t my original intent when I created Simply Static, but I’ve had quite a number of people tell me that that’s what they were using it for. That may account for a slightly lower number of WordPress installs than it might otherwise have, since shutting down WordPress would no longer could it towards an active install. And, more likely, it doesn’t have more usage because I’ve done basically zero marketing of it.

Saying that you could make your WordPress site “hack proof” may not be the best phrasing. Hack resistant, perhaps? In any case, you could definitely lock down your WordPress site far more than you could otherwise, since only people contributing content to the site would need to be able to access it. And, as noted, if you end up shutting down WordPress after using Simply Static then there’s definitely no WordPress site left to hack :slight_smile:

Anyway, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have. My involvement with the plugin has slowed over the last couple months (exceedingly more busy with the day job) but it’s definitely something I plan to continue supporting for the foreseeable future.

(Anh Tran) #9

Just tried this plugin. While the UI looks nice, it doesn’t work with MultiSite with domain mapping plugin installed :frowning:

(Peter) #10

I tried and tested some flat CMS, static systems and this plugin too just this week. From my perspective if I use WordPress for this kind of website, I use some simple static cache plugin like Cache Enabler what gives me practically performance of static website but still door for anything what is possible with WordPress for future.

If the site will rarely change and don’t need any interactive function, I would probably migrate WP to some static generartor and take benefits of free or really cheap hosting of static website like Leland mentioned already.

Also how pietbos posted if I will be ready to give up Gravity forms, then I will probably migrate more sites to statics systems.


I have been using the Simply Static plugin since July 2016. I wanted the great usability of WordPress to create content, but also the benefit of static hosting, particularly being cheaper e.g. using GitHub Pages, more secure, and the static pages are faster to load.

I am impressed with the Simply Static Plugin and recommend it.

I have created a step by step guide to creating Fast Free Static Website with WordPress and GitHub Pages, which features the Simple Static WordPress plugin.

I hope you find my review useful.

(Piet) #12

What are you using for the contact form on that choir site?


Hi, it is a custom form I have developed and deployed on Google App Engine.

It is based on the guestbook tutorial at:

Let me know if it is of interest.

Note that as an alternative, a simpler option is to use https://formspree.io/

This will effectively email the content of a html form.


(Piet) #14

The Formspree is definitely easier to follow and implement.

As noted above earlier this year my main gripe is that I cannot use Gravity Forms. For simple sites that doesn’t matter too much, but it is mostly the complex sites that can benefit the most from serving the site static…

(Peter) #15

What about idea to hold Gravity on one private site and make forms for all statics websites, then embed these forms there?

(Piet) #16

I haven’t tried it, but I doubt that conditional logic and drop downs using parameters would work with an embedded form.

@petercralen Have you tried that before?

(Leland Fiegel) #17

You would still need a “non static” server to process the form. If form entries were processed on the “private site,” then that might defeat the purpose of the private site.

Or you could just write up a custom form handler, hosted on some random server (no WordPress, just some ability to send you email notifications and/or store entries), based on the Gravity Forms-rendered HTML/CSS/JS.

In any case, I don’t think it would be worth the time to implement a “static” Gravity Form considering plug-and-play form hosting services like Wufoo.

(Claudio Benvenuti) #18

Hi guys, my name is Claudio and I’m the founder of HardyPress, a secure hosting platform targeted to vulnerable, legacy and zero-maintenance WordPress installations.

We love static websites. They’re cheap, fast, scalable, secure, easy to reason about. Half of the web could easily switch to static (and it would be a huge gain for everyone), that’s why we created HardyPress.

The principle behind HardyPress is simple: visitors access to a completely static version of your website. Your real WordPress installation lives on a separate domain and only runs when an editor needs to make some changes to the content, for the rest of the time your WordPress simply doesn’t exist.

We seamlessy support Contact Form 7, and we take care of scraping your website’s pages, and augment the search box to provide instant suggestions, so, for most websites, everything will work just fine, even if they are served as static.

We are a young italian startup and we are just out with the public beta of our product.
Any feedback would be extremely valuable to us, be it positive or negative, so, If you like to give a try, I can give you dedicated support and offer 3 free months of hosting, just PM your email address.


(Peter) #19

Interesting service, however personally I am not much opened to give a full access to a website/server (FTP) to somebody who publish only one email address as a whole information about person/company behind this service. I m not a person who require a company address and bank account, but at least some cool story of how Claudio Benvenuti got this idea and why he do this service can help little bit to make a overall picture.

I think some kind of personal/company story is the advantage of this kind of start-ups.

(Claudio Benvenuti) #20

Hi Peter, and thank you for your feedback. I really understand what you mean.

We’ll soon have a blog/new section on our website and as first post I’ll sure follow your advice, introducing ourself.

Anyway, we just released a new importer so, if don’t want to leak the FTP credentials, you can use the All-in-One WP Migration® plugin (Top-rated trusted plugin - 600,000+ active installs).