Wowchemy: Uniting the Hugo Academic Ecosystem, Empowering Creators

We are thrilled to unveil the new Wowchemy branding and restructuring of the various Hugo Academic related projects to unite the ecosystem in one place on our mission to empower creators.


Leverage the free, open source Wowchemy website builder for Hugo to create and personalize your own beautifully minimal website. Whether you’re showcasing your work and resumé, starting an online course or podcast, or building a business working from home, you can do it all with Wowchemy and its templates.

Write using Markdown, Jupyter, or RStudio. Choose a beautiful template, color theme, and font. Build anything with the Page Builder - over 50 widgets, themes, and language packs included!


Thank you to all the sponsors and contributors for helping to make this possible 🙏🎉

We invite you to browse the Wowchemy ecosystem on GitHub, star your favourite repositories to show your support ⭐️, and connect with the community:

🙌 A big shout out to Rodri for kindly helping to support the community and moderate discussions.

Here’s an overview of the Wowchemy ecosystem:


Since the last version of Academic was released, much has changed. Not just with Academic, but also with Hugo, and of course, the world.

Introducing Hugo Modules, the core building blocks in Hugo. Image by Hello I’m Nik.

During this time, the Hugo team took the strategic decision to significantly transform Hugo with a plugin-like Module system. Hugo Modules are now the core building blocks in Hugo. As such, we have taken the initiative to create a dedicated repository for Hugo Modules and convert the Wowchemy templates to use the new modular system.

But that’s not all. You can convert your existing site too, to leverage the benefits of Hugo Modules by upgrading to the beta version of Wowchemy 5.0.0. A number of users have already commented on the practical benefits, such as easier updating without Git commands and enabling deeper personalization via the plugin-like module system.

Spread positivity. Image by Alissa Azureen.

The Covid pandemic has completely changed the world, our jobs, and the way we work. According to an article by LinkedIn, a third of UK workers are job seeking as of 7th October 2020. As we look around the world, we see similar news in other countries to various different extents.

There is now more need than ever to have a professional online presence, showcase your work, and standout with a personalized online resumé site. As sources of income dry up and working from home becomes the norm, many individuals are also looking to build a business working from home. Meanwhile, organisations and teams are searching for new ways to connect and share knowledge.

To this end, we have attempted to address the changing needs of users and are grateful for your patience through this restructuring period. We encourage you to get involved in the Wowchemy Hacktoberfest 2020. The more contributions we have toward road-mapped tasks and supporting the community on Discord and GitHub Discussions, the faster we can deliver.

Over 150 changes have gone into building Wowchemy v5, following on from Academic v4.8. This has yielded significant improvements to the foundational Wowchemy framework for Hugo and the Academic template, whilst we have also open sourced the three shiny new templates above for knowledge sharing, professional writing, and simple one-page sites. Furthermore, we are planning to release an upcoming Resumé template dedicated to job seekers.

Welcome to this exciting next chapter! Image by Tim Swaan.

Wowchemy v5 is now in its final stages of beta testing - feel free to join the beta test and join the Discord community to provide your feedback and be the first to know when it’s released! (We are hopeful for a release shortly, dependent on contributions and feedback.)

Consider giving back by becoming a sponsor to support development of this free, open source software whilst getting access to sneak previews and exciting rewards.


Why the new name?

Rebranding to Wowchemy. Image by David Pisnoy.

By referring to not just the Academic template, but also the ecosystem as Academic, users told us they were confused - one of the common questions we were asked is “can the website builder be used by non-academics for other kinds of site?".

The Academic framework for Hugo was originally created by Geo, bourne out of frustration and inefficiencies with alternative solutions, such as WordPress and Jekyll.

It was intended for creators, whether that be researchers, software engineers, YouTubers, writers, photographers, podcasters, or any other creative profession. However, the project began whilst Geo was finishing his PhD, and initially attracted attention within the academic community, so the name Academic naturally became widely used not just to refer the template itself but also the framework in general.

As he was creating the framework, Geo stumbled across an ever growing number of individuals who found themselves in a similar situation to him, and thus decided to open source the Hugo framework on GitHub, sharing it with the world under the generous MIT license on 27th April 2016. Since then, it has come a long way, gaining mass adoption with its flexibility leveraged by the community to create 500,000+ personal, team, and organisational sites. Even GitHub has recognized the benefits of the website builder by selecting it for the GitHub Release Radar from a pool of almost 200 million other GitHub projects

From now on there is a single source of truth, Wowchemy, for all things relating to the website building framework, including the Academic Starter template 🙌

We invite you to join us on our mission to empower creators 🚀

Stay safe!


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What’s your feedback on the rebranding and restructuring? How do you feel about this next chapter? What templates would you like to see? Join the discussion on Discord.