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Host a website on GitHub with Hugo

16:00 – 17:00, Thursday 11 October 2018, LSK 121.


Learn how to get up and running with Hugo, a popular open-source static site generator that’s fast and easy to use. Attendees can follow a live coding session to learn how to generate and customize a brand new Hugo website. We’ll learn how to host the website from a GitHub repository using GitHub Pages. Time and interest permitting, we’ll explore how to host the site on a custom domain (like This tutorial is the perfect starting point for breaking away from the frumpy academic webpages of yore, and attracting those shiny impressions that’ll make your Google Analytics page sing.


To be completed by attendees before the tutorial:

  • Install hugo (e.g., using brew install hugo). If installed correctly, running hugo version in Terminal shouldn’t return an error.
  • Have a GitHub account (it’s free to sign up)
  • Ensure git is installed. If installed correctly, running git --version in Terminal shouldn’t return an error.
  • (Optional) Have an account with a domain registrar (e.g. Google Domains, Namecheap, CIRA, etc.)


This tutorial claims absolutely no originality. It is merely a curation of the four articles below, designed so that virtually anyone in attendance can get a website up and running in one hour.

For more details than what’s covered in the tutorial, Hugo offers a Quickstart Guide and a post covering Basic Usage. In addition, there is an article about hosting on GitHub and about hosting on a custom domain.

Finally, here are three registrar options for securing your own domain.


  1. brew install hugo
  2. Make sure hugo works by running hugo version in Terminal.
  3. Run hugo new site quickstart to create a new Hugo site in a folder named quickstart. e.g., I’ve created mine in ~/www/quickstart/
  4. Make sure you have a new repository for the site on GitHub gh0
  5. Get the example site into a repository

    cd quickstart
    git init
    git submodule add themes/ananke
    git commit -m 'add theme submodule'
    rm config.toml
    cp -r themes/ananke/exampleSite/* ./
    # -> change theme name to theme folder name
    # -> remove themesDir variable
    # -> change baseURL to
    emacs config.toml
    git add *
    git commit -m '[IC] example site'
    git remote add origin
    git push -u origin master
  6. Now we need to get this thing hosted on github pages.

    # master must ignore gh-pages branch
    echo "public" >> .gitignore
    git add .gitignore
    git commit -m 'add .gitignore'
    git push
    # initialize gh-pages branch
    git checkout --orphan gh-pages
    git reset --hard
    git commit --allow-empty -m 'initializing gh-pages branch'
    git push origin gh-pages
    git checkout master
    # build and deploy using worktrees
    rm -rf public
    git worktree add -B gh-pages public origin/gh-pages
    # --> build site
    cd public && git add --all && git commit -m 'publish to gh-pages' && cd ..
    git push origin gh-pages

    That’s the coding bit.

  7. Finally, we need to go to GitHub and Namecheap to finagle with some things. First Namecheap… namecheap homepage Once you have a site, click on Manage manage Then click on Advanced DNS manage GitHub requires that you enter these two IPs as A Records. manage If you wish to use a custom URL like then you must enter a CNAME record for it. manage manage

  8. And next the settings on GitHub. First go into Settings. Scroll down to set the custom domain field to your site. Then click Save. gh3

  9. You should now be able to go to your shiny new website at!

  10. How do you make changes to your website? Here are some tips

    1. hugo server is your friend — let’s you preview what’s going on before you publish. Even refreshes every time you save changes.
    2. Useful shortcuts like hugo new post/
    3. Look at the theme documentation for its full set of features — sometimes there are many!
    4. Use the script from the tutorial (or a slightly modified one). The only caveat here is that this doesn’t actually do the final git push origin gh-pages that you need, so you can add it in at the end to make sure it auto-pushes for you. Or don’t, in case you don’t want it to have that much power. 🐧