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Questions as I evaluate Publii for a replacement website

  • #11598
    Avatar photo[anonymous]

    Hi all,

    I currently maintain a website for a small volunteer run rowing club in British Columbia, Canada ( It’s a static site, hosted on Google’s Firebase. The current site is generated by Mobirise. I am, however, looking at switching to Publii (or some other service) in the hopes of easing some of our maintenance issues related to consistent styles, appearance, duplicated content, etc. I believe that the TAGS mechanism of Publii will be very helpful for the site. For example, we could have tags corresponding to “learn to row”, “youth programs”, “adult programs”, “safety”, etc, and various programs could be tagged as needed.

    I’ve experimented with some of the free themes, and noticed that the amount and type of customization available through the GUI varies a lot. For example:

    • “Editorial 2” has the phrase “Editor Pick’s” hardwired in config.json.
    • Some themes allow colours to be extensively customized, and other’s not.
    • Some themes include the featured images from posts, other’s don’t.
    • Some themes include the custom excerpt (content before a “Read More” separator), and other’s don’t.

    In our case, we have a club logo and a related colour palette and I would like to preserve that. We’ve also found it useful for people to be able to register for a program directly from what, with Publii, would be an excerpt. Beyond that, though, I do not have a requirement to replicate the look and feel of the current site. In fact, having the look and feel “baked in” is one of the things that attracts me to Publii, as my background is in software development, not web design!

    So, with that as preamble, here are my questions:

    • Is there a way to find out what the customization options for Marketplace themes are? I don’t see one, but that could just be me.
    • What have people found the best way to get started is?
    • Is the easiest way to order the theme and plugin packs and experiment?
    • Is it a given that I’ll end up with some theme file overrides, or do the configuration options on the paid themes tend to be more extensive?
    • Any other advice on getting started?


    Avatar photo[anonymous]

    I have only ever used free themes.  If you take time to learn handlebars (which is not hard at all) there is a lot you can do to tweak a theme to make it really fit your needs.  Even without the tweaking – the free themes offer a lot of options.

    I like what I see about the paid themes, and would like to play with one or two.  There was a great discount on them around Christmas, but I was not able to take advantage.

    Frankly I would just start working with it.  In my journey I did become a little discouraged a couple times before the simplicity and joy of Publii really kicked in.  I worked with some other tools, but I am back again.  I think some of the new features coming in versions 0.45 and 0.46 will really be nice.  They should allow generation of single page sites much easier while still supporting a blog on the back end.

    If you are using this in a multi-user environment – try sharing your backend files on google drive (or similar).  I uses several computers to edit (as opposed to several editors) and this makes it easy to have the same sites available no matter which one I work on.

    Last – don’t forget that the great people who brought us Publii also do custom work.  If you have a budget – this might be the way to go:

    Avatar photo[anonymous]

    Hi Fellow Canadian;

    Your best shot is to start with overriding a theme

    • in your case, I would focus on overriding the CSS of one of the themes you like to add your colors.
    • you could do the same trick with the theme Editorial 2” to remove the phrase “Editor Pick’s”.
    • as those are digital and static files, it is difficult to offer a trial, as @bjazmoore mentioned, your best bet is rebate if the frees one doesn’t suffice.

    Q: Any other advice on getting started?

    During the last 5 years, I tried, almost all the StaticGen Industry: (Hugo, Hugoblox, Next.js, Nuxt, Gatsby, Jekyll, Hexo, VuePress, MkDocs, Eleventy, …) and they are all great, but as most of them are not GDPR, and since none of them are perfect, Publii is the closest one

    What I lack is

    • multilanguage; which I bypass by generating one website per language
    • no post publishing system nor possible to automate

    In any case;

    You could also consider selling the idea to your crew to update their branding and refresh their color for something more Publii compliant in exchange for easing the maintenance and way to publish

    For an example:


    • have virtually zero security issue (like any Static Website)
    • but compared to Mobilize, if you don’t update the software and the theme, you will never have issue what that in mind, mostly because it doesn’t require big and public JS
    • you could share and collaboratively edit the whole by storing your Sites in Google Drive

    In any case; good luck and I hope to ear from you soon!

    Avatar photo[anonymous]

    Well, my crew is very amenable to doing what I want as… well… the crew is ME 🙂

    On the other hand, I also came up with the colour scheme, so the crew would kind of like to stick with it!

    Multi-language isn’t really a problem for us as we’re just a small rowing club in British Columbia. There’s no way we could afford to put in the work. Also, for an application like ours, tools like Google Translate are probably adequate.

    I’m intrigued by the Google Drive idea (our organization runs on Google Workspace). From articles like this one (, I’m guessing the method is to point the sites location to a directory that’s synced with Google Drive, as opposed to something more built in. Is that right?

    If I find the process reasonable, and the capabilities of a paid theme seem a better match, I have no problem paying for some extra capabilities. I’d just like some confidence that I can get a paid theme to do what I need, so building comfort with overrides would be helpful.

    A few things I really like about Publii so far are:

    1. It keeps multiple resolutions of the images, so I don’t have to scale my source images before adding them to the system. That makes image management a lot easier.
    2. It keeps the data in many small files, so I should be able to back it up using a SCM tool like GIT. I like to be able to revert to older versions. I’m talking about keeping the source under GIT, not publishing to GIT, which is a whole other thing.
    3. The Smart Replacer plugin looks like it offers some functionality that I find extremely helpful. In fact, I implemented something similar as a post-processing step with Mobirise!