Hotaru CMS vs. Pelican: A Comprehensive Comparison of Two Powerful Content Management Systems

Hotaru CMS vs. Pelican: A Comprehensive Comparison of Two Powerful Content Management Systems


In the ever-evolving digital landscape, having a reliable and efficient Content Management System (CMS) is essential for organizations to effectively manage their online presence. Two popular CMS options that are worth considering are Hotaru CMS and Pelican. While both offer powerful features, they cater to different needs and preferences. In this comparison guide, we will delve into the key aspects of these CMS platforms to help digital leaders and decision-makers choose the one that best aligns with their organization's goals and requirements.

Foundations of CMS

The foundation of any CMS is its underlying technology and architecture. Hotaru CMS is built using PHP and MySQL, making it compatible with most hosting environments. Its modular design allows for easy customization, with a focus on simplicity and ease of use. On the other hand, Pelican is a static site generator written in Python. It converts lightweight markup files into static HTML, CSS, and JavaScript pages. This approach offers security advantages and enables fast page loading times, making it ideal for small to medium-sized websites.

When considering the foundations of a CMS, it's crucial to evaluate factors such as ease of installation, system requirements, and potential for future scalability. Hotaru CMS's PHP and MySQL stack facilitates easy setup, and its modular structure allows for flexibility in adapting to changing needs. As for Pelican, its static site generation approach requires some technical knowledge for setup, but it can offer significant performance benefits for sites with low complexity and frequent updates.

While Hotaru CMS focuses on simplicity and user-friendly customization, Pelican's static site generation shines in terms of speed and security. Organizations should consider their specific requirements and technical expertise when choosing between these two CMS platforms.

Design & User Experience

A visually appealing and user-friendly design is crucial for engaging website visitors and providing an intuitive content management experience. Both Hotaru CMS and Pelican offer various design options, but there are some notable differences.

Hotaru CMS provides a range of pre-designed themes and templates that can be easily customized to match branding guidelines. It also offers a user-friendly interface for managing themes and layouts, allowing users to update the site's design without extensive technical knowledge. Additionally, Hotaru CMS supports responsive design, ensuring optimal user experience across devices.

Pelican, on the other hand, primarily focuses on simplicity and minimalism in design. It offers flexible theming capabilities through Jinja2 templates, allowing users to create unique designs according to their preferences. However, customizing the design requires a deeper understanding of HTML, CSS, and template rendering. Pelican also supports responsive design, but it may require more manual tweaking to achieve the desired layout across different devices.

Ultimately, the choice between Hotaru CMS and Pelican depends on the organization's design preferences and the level of technical expertise available for custom design implementation.

Content Management

Efficient content management is a fundamental requirement for any CMS, making it crucial to analyze the capabilities of Hotaru CMS and Pelican in this regard.

Hotaru CMS offers a user-friendly interface for creating, editing, and organizing content. It includes standard content management features such as a WYSIWYG editor, media management, and support for hierarchical page structures. Users can easily categorize and tag content, enabling seamless navigation for visitors. Furthermore, Hotaru CMS allows flexible content workflows and user permissions, making it suitable for collaborative content creation and publication.

Pelican, being a static site generator, takes a different approach to content management. It relies on lightweight markup languages like Markdown for content creation. While this may require some adjustment for users accustomed to traditional WYSIWYG editors, it offers the advantage of version control and easier collaboration among developers using tools like Git. Pelican also supports plugins to enhance content management capabilities, such as generating tables of content or integrating with content optimization tools.

Consider the specific content management needs of your organization before choosing between Hotaru CMS and Pelican. If your workflow involves frequent content updates with collaborative authoring, Hotaru CMS's intuitive interface may be more suitable. However, if version control and developer collaboration are key requirements, Pelican's static site generation approach can offer unique advantages.

Collaboration & User Management

In today's dynamic workplace, efficient collaboration and user management capabilities are crucial for seamless workflow integration. Let's explore how Hotaru CMS and Pelican cater to these aspects.

Hotaru CMS provides built-in user management features, allowing administrators to assign different roles and permissions to users. It offers a simple registration process and supports spam protection measures. Collaboration features include the ability to create and manage teams, facilitating teamwork in content creation and moderation. Hotaru CMS also integrates with various plugins to enhance collaboration and user management capabilities.

Pelican, as a static site generator, operates differently in terms of collaboration and user management. It does not have built-in user management features and relies on external solutions or custom development for user access control. This makes it more suitable for personal blogs or simple websites where user collaboration is not a critical aspect.

Consider your organization's collaboration requirements and the level of user management needed when deciding between Hotaru CMS and Pelican. Hotaru CMS's built-in user management features make it a better fit for organizations that prioritize collaboration and teamwork. However, if user management is not a significant concern, and the focus is more on simplicity and speed, Pelican could be a viable option.

Performance, Scalability, & Hosting

Performance, scalability, and hosting capabilities are vital considerations for any CMS, as they directly affect the user experience and accessibility of the website. Let's examine how Hotaru CMS and Pelican fare in these areas.

Hotaru CMS performs well in terms of performance, thanks to its PHP and MySQL foundation. It benefits from PHP's broad usage and continuous optimization. However, as the site grows and experiences an increase in traffic, performance may be impacted, requiring additional server resources or optimization measures. Hosting options for Hotaru CMS are diverse, with compatibility ranging from shared hosting to dedicated servers.

Pelican, being a static site generator, offers significant performance advantages. By generating static HTML pages, it eliminates the need for database queries and dynamic rendering, resulting in faster loading times. Static pages are also less susceptible to security vulnerabilities. Pelican websites can be hosted on diverse platforms, including shared hosting providers, content delivery networks (CDNs), or cloud-based solutions.

If performance and scalability are top priorities, Pelican's static site generation approach may offer the most efficient solution. However, if you prefer a more user-friendly content creation experience with compatibility across a variety of hosting environments, Hotaru CMS could be a better fit.

Customization, Extensions, & Ecosystem

The ability to customize a CMS according to specific requirements and access a wide range of extensions and plugins is crucial for organizations seeking flexibility and scalability. Let's explore the customization, extensions, and ecosystem possibilities of Hotaru CMS and Pelican.

Hotaru CMS offers a modular and customizable architecture that allows users to tailor the CMS to their needs. It provides a range of pre-built modules and themes, making it easier for users to extend its functionalities and change the appearance of their websites. Additionally, Hotaru CMS has an active community that actively develops plugins, themes, and provides support to users.

Pelican, although not as feature-rich out-of-the-box, allows for extensive customization through Python programming. Developers can create custom plugins and themes according to their requirements. Pelican also benefits from the vast ecosystem of Python libraries, which can be leveraged to extend its functionality and integrate with other systems.

Consider the level of customization and extensibility required for your organization before choosing between Hotaru CMS and Pelican. If you prioritize a wide range of pre-built extensions and themes, along with an active community, Hotaru CMS provides an advantage. However, if customization through Python programming and access to the broader Python ecosystem are crucial, Pelican becomes a strong contender.

SEO, Marketing, & Monetization

A CMS plays a significant role in optimizing content for search engines, marketing efforts, and potential monetization opportunities. Let's explore how Hotaru CMS and Pelican address these aspects.

Hotaru CMS offers various built-in SEO features, such as customizable metadata, clean URLs, and support for XML sitemaps, allowing search engines to crawl and index websites effectively. It also provides integration with marketing tools, enabling organizations to track website analytics, manage advertising campaigns, and implement social media integration. Monetization options, such as integrating with ad networks or e-commerce plugins, are readily available in Hotaru CMS.

Pelican, being a static site generator, has inherent advantages concerning SEO. With its static HTML pages and clean URL structure, Pelican websites tend to perform well in search engine rankings. However, advanced SEO features typically require manual implementation through custom plugins or extensions. Regarding marketing and monetization, Pelican can be integrated with external tools and platforms, but its plugin ecosystem in these areas may be less extensive compared to traditional CMS platforms like Hotaru CMS.

Consider your organization's specific SEO, marketing, and monetization requirements before choosing between Hotaru CMS and Pelican. If a comprehensive set of built-in SEO, marketing, and monetization features is essential, Hotaru CMS provides an edge. However, if SEO performance is a top priority and your organization has the technical expertise to implement custom solutions, Pelican can offer excellent results.

Security & Compliance

Website security and compliance with data protection regulations are crucial considerations in today's digital landscape. Here's how Hotaru CMS and Pelican address these important aspects.

Hotaru CMS focuses on security by regularly releasing updates and patches to address vulnerabilities. It provides user access controls, spam protection measures, and supports SSL encryption for secure data transmission. Its PHP and MySQL foundation is well-established, benefiting from proven security practices and active community support. Hotaru CMS also facilitates compliance with data protection regulations through features like data access controls and privacy settings for users.

Pelican, as a static site generator, offers inherent security advantages. The static nature of generated pages reduces the attack surface compared to dynamic CMS platforms. However, Pelican's security heavily relies on proper server configuration and careful management of the generated static files. Compliance with data protection regulations may require additional customization and plugin development.

Consider your organization's security requirements and compliance obligations when choosing between Hotaru CMS and Pelican. If an established security track record and built-in compliance features are critical, Hotaru CMS provides a reliable choice. However, if your organization has the technical expertise to manage server security and customize Pelican to meet compliance requirements, it can offer an excellent security foundation.

Migration, Support, & Maintenance

Efficient migration processes, reliable support, and ongoing maintenance support are crucial for a seamless transition to a new CMS and ensuring long-term success. Let's examine how Hotaru CMS and Pelican address these aspects.

Hotaru CMS offers an easy-to-use migration tool that simplifies the process of transferring content from other CMS platforms. It provides comprehensive documentation and an active community forum where users can seek support and guidance. Hotaru CMS also offers regular updates and bug fixes to address any issues that may arise. However, support options may vary depending on the specific needs of the organization and the availability of skilled Hotaru CMS developers.

Pelican's migration process may require manual content conversion due to its static site generation approach. However, it provides flexibility in terms of content organization and formatting during the migration. Support for Pelican relies primarily on community forums, developer resources, and Python documentation. As an open-source project, long-term maintenance largely depends on community contributions and the availability of skilled Python developers.

Consider the ease of migration, availability of support, and long-term maintenance requirements when choosing between Hotaru CMS and Pelican. Hotaru CMS's migration tool and active support community make it an attractive option for organizations seeking a smooth transition. However, if your organization has technical expertise in Python and can manage ongoing support and maintenance, Pelican can be a viable long-term solution.


Choosing the right CMS for your organization is a significant decision that requires careful evaluation of various factors. Hotaru CMS and Pelican offer unique features and cater to different needs.

If you prioritize user-friendly content management, extensive customization options, and a wide range of pre-built themes and plugins, Hotaru CMS provides a comprehensive solution. It is suitable for organizations that require collaboration features, adaptable design options, and compatibility with different hosting environments.

Pelican emphasizes speed, security, and scalability through its static site generation approach. If your organization requires fast-loading, search engine optimized pages, and can leverage Python programming and the broader Python ecosystem for customization, Pelican offers a compelling proposition.

Ultimately, the choice between Hotaru CMS and Pelican depends on your organization's specific requirements, technical expertise, and long-term goals. Consider the foundations, design and user experience, content management capabilities, collaboration and user management features, performance and scalability, customization options, SEO and marketing features, security and compliance aspects, as well as migration, support, and maintenance considerations. Careful evaluation of these factors will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your organization's goals and ensures a successful online presence.


Martin Dejnicki
Martin Dejnicki

Martin is a digital product innovator and pioneer who built and optimized his first website back in 1996 when he was 16 years old. Since then, he has helped many companies win in the digital space, including Walmart, IBM, Rogers, Canada Post, TMX Group and TD Securities. Recently, he worked with the Deploi team to build an elegant publishing platform for creative writers and a novel algorithmic trading platform.