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How to set up automatic Hugo website generation and deployment with Git
Just because we can
Let’s say that you have tried Hugo, you liked it, and made
a website with it.
Now you are ready to deploy that website for the whole world to see.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just do:
git add . git commit -m "Updated blog content" git push
And be done with it?
Well, if that sounds like your kind of thing; something you’d like to have…
Then read on my friend!
What do you need for this tutorial?
- A public server somewhere. If you don’t have one, you can get a VPS (Virtual Private Server) from Linode, DigitalOcean or similar providers.
An account with access to
gitavailable, from this guide.
- You use Gitolite to manage your repositories, from this guide.
- A configured webserver —I recommend looking into NGINX, since it’s super easy to setup in Ubuntu.
~/.ssh/configfile with this content:
Host git-server # This is the IP for your VPS HostName 184.108.40.206 Port 22 # This is the remote user User yolo Host web-server # This is the IP for your other VPS HostName 220.127.116.11 Port 22 # This is the remote user User webcustomer
You have your Hugo project versioned with git and you can push code to the remote repository.
The repository’s name is
yolo-web, so you can clone it like this:
git clone git@git-server:yolo-web
First, let’s login on the remote machine; the one you want to setup automatic deployment on.
Open a terminal and SSH into it:
We need the
hugo command available, for that the easiest way is to use
sudo apt install snapd sudo snap install hugo
Login as the
git user and verify
hugo is working:
sudo su git -l hugo version
You should see something like:
Hugo Static Site Generator v0.34 linux/amd64 BuildDate:
Create and configure the
post-receive hook script
This is the important part.
This script will be in charge of doing something after the repository receives
In our case, we want the script to
git checkout a copy of the current
branch in a directory of our choosing and then call
hugo on it to generate the
HTML files for the web server.
Let’s create the
touch ~/repositories/yolo-web.git/hooks/post-receive chmod 700 ~/repositories/yolo-web.git/hooks/post-receive
And put this content inside:
#!/bin/bash export GIT_WORK_TREE=/home/git/yolo-web-compiled echo `pwd` echo "Generating site with Hugo for yolo-web" mkdir -p $GIT_WORK_TREE chmod 755 $GIT_WORK_TREE git checkout -f master rm -rf $GIT_WORK_TREE/public cd $GIT_WORK_TREE && /snap/bin/hugo find $GIT_WORK_TREE/public -type f -print | xargs -d '\n' chmod 644 find $GIT_WORK_TREE/public -type d -print | xargs -d '\n' chmod 755 echo "All done! 0 problems"
You now have a process in place that will leave the latest
HTML files generated by Hugo in
Go ahead, try it out, make some local changes,
git commit and
then SSH in and see what’s inside
The web server situation
Same server for compiling and web serving
If your web server is in the same machine as your repos, then you can simply point with a
symbolic link to the
and call it a day!
Compiling in one server, web serving in another
What if you have different machines for hosting your Git repositories and hosting your web pages?
How would that work? Glad you asked…
What follows is an opinionated soluion to this problem.
Generate an SSH key pair for the git@git-server user with an empty passphrase:
ssh git-server sudo su git -l sshkey-gen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "git@git-server"
Try to access the web server through SSH —it’ll fail, but we need this so its signature gets registered into the
You should answer
yes—don’t just type
y— when it asks:
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?
exitthe git user shell, you are now in your yolo shell.
Copy the public key from git to your home:
sudo cp /home/git/.ssh/id_rsa.pub ~/git.pub
sudo chown $USER:$USER git.pub
exitthe remote session, you are now in your local machine.
git.pubfile to your local machine:
mkdir ~/tmp scp git-server:git.pub ~/tmp/
Upload the key to the server where the page is going to be hosted:
scp ~/tmp/git.pub web-server:
Login to the web server machine:
Copy the contents of
~/git.pubat the end of
That’s it, SSH into
sudo su git -land test that
If the last SSH login work, you can now
rsynccontent from the repository machine to the web server machine!
~/repositories/yolo-web.git/hooks/post-receivefile and include a call to
scpto transfer files from
web-server—I prefer to use
#!/bin/bash export GIT_WORK_TREE=/home/git/yolo-web-compiled echo `pwd` echo "Generating site with Hugo for yolo-web" mkdir -p $GIT_WORK_TREE chmod 755 $GIT_WORK_TREE git checkout -f master rm -rf $GIT_WORK_TREE/public cd $GIT_WORK_TREE && /snap/bin/hugo find $GIT_WORK_TREE/public -type f -print | xargs -d '\n' chmod 644 find $GIT_WORK_TREE/public -type d -print | xargs -d '\n' chmod 755 rsync -avzP $GIT_WORK_TREE/public/ \ email@example.com:/var/www/yolo-web/html echo "All done! 0 problems"
NOTE: You’ll need to tweak the last param for the
rsync command above to match your
website’s files path.