Integrating MDX with Static Site Generators

By: O Wolfson

MDX, an extension of Markdown that allows for the embedding of JSX, offers a powerful way to create rich, interactive content. Its compatibility with React components makes it an ideal choice for modern web development, particularly when combined with static site generators (SSGs) like Gatsby, Next.js, or Hugo. This article explores how to integrate MDX with these popular SSGs, providing examples and use cases to illustrate the process.

1. Integrating MDX with Gatsby

Gatsby, a React-based static site generator, offers robust support for MDX.

Setup and Configuration

  • Install Necessary Plugins: Start by installing gatsby-plugin-mdx along with dependencies for MDX processing:

    npm install gatsby-plugin-mdx @mdx-js/mdx @mdx-js/react
  • Configure gatsby-config.js: Add the MDX plugin to your Gatsby configuration:

    module.exports = {
      plugins: [
          resolve: `gatsby-plugin-mdx`,
          options: {
            extensions: [`.mdx`, `.md`],
        // other plugins...

Example Use Case

  • Blog Posts: You can use MDX to create rich, interactive blog posts. For example, you can import and use a custom React component for interactive quizzes within your content.

2. Integrating MDX with Next.js

Next.js, known for its server-side rendering capabilities, also supports MDX.

Setup and Configuration

  • Install MDX Packages: First, install @next/mdx and @mdx-js/loader:

    npm install @next/mdx @mdx-js/loader
  • Update next.config.js: Enhance your Next.js configuration to process MDX files:

    const withMDX = require("@next/mdx")({
      extension: /\.mdx?$/,
    module.exports = withMDX({
      pageExtensions: ["js", "jsx", "md", "mdx"],

Example Use Case

  • Product Documentation: Create comprehensive product documentation with interactive examples. MDX allows for embedding live code editors or interactive widgets alongside your documentation.

3. Integrating MDX with Hugo

Hugo is a fast and flexible SSG built in Go. Integrating MDX with Hugo is slightly more complex due to Hugo’s native use of Go-based templating.

Setup and Configuration

  • Use External Processing: You need to set up an external processing pipeline, possibly using Node.js scripts, to convert MDX to a format Hugo can understand.

  • Configure Hugo Pipeline: Set up a pipeline in your config.toml to process the transformed MDX files:

      command = "your-node-script-that-processes-mdx"

Example Use Case

  • Technical Blogs: For technical blogging, MDX allows the incorporation of complex, interactive diagrams or code snippets, enhancing the reader's experience.


Integrating MDX with static site generators like Gatsby, Next.js, and Hugo opens up endless possibilities for creating dynamic, interactive web content. Each SSG offers unique advantages and methods of integration, allowing developers to choose the one that best fits their project's needs. By leveraging MDX, you can enhance the interactivity and engagement of your web content, making it more appealing and effective for your audience.