Automatically Deploy a Hugo Website to a Remote Host Using Github Actions

Time 5 minute read
"I love it when a plan comes together" - Every DevOps engineer, ever.
\"I love it when a plan comes together" - Every DevOps engineer, ever.
"I love it when a plan comes together" - Every DevOps engineer, ever.

This post is part of the Blogging with Hugo series.

So by now you should know that I like to keep things under my control. That’s why this blog is hosted on ateroids 🚀 (I’m using this phrase so often, I should either trademark it, at least create a shortcode for it). It’s content, on the other hand, is under version control at GitHub.

In the past, my workflow for writing and publishing new content would look like this:

  1. Write a new blog post or create a new page in Visual Studio Code
  2. Make a commit for that new content and push it to GitHub
  3. Run a local script to create a build of my website and sync those files to my webspace, using rsync

In far more ancient times 🦕, I wasn’t even using rsync, but instead would copy the new build with an FTP client. Those days were rough!

GitHub Actions makes it easy to automate all your software workflows, now with world-class CI/CD. Build, test, and deploy your code right from GitHub. Make code reviews, branch management, and issue triaging work the way you want.

https://github.com/features/actions

Basically, Github Actions will automate step 3 from above. On a push action (i.e. if a commit is pushed to the repository), a script will run and perform all the steps necessary.

In order for GitHub to access our remote server, we will need an SSH key. You can create one with the following command:

ssh-keygen -t ed25519 -a 100 -f ~/.ssh/github-deploy

ls -l ~/.ssh/github*

# -rw-------  1 user  staff  432  3 May 16:22 /Users/user/.ssh/github-deploy
# -rw-r--r--  1 user  staff  113  3 May 16:22 /Users/user/.ssh/github-deploy.pub

This will create a pair of keys, a public one and a private one. The public one (*.pub) will go to the remote server, the private one (no ending) will be added to GitHub.

Add the public part to your remote server:

ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/github-deploy.pub user@remote.host

Go to your repository’s settings page and find the security section on the right. Select Actions and then New Repository Secret.

Create a New Repository Secret

Create a **New Repository Secret**
Create a New Repository Secret

Give your secret a descriptive name and paste the SSH key’s private part as Value. We can later reference the secret from a repository wide object called secrets.

Name the secret and paste the private part of the SSH key

Name the secret and paste the **private part** of the SSH key
Name the secret and paste the private part of the SSH key

Let’s move on to the GitHub Action configuration.

GitHub Marketplace allows us to choose from a variety of pre-configured actions. For this workflow, we’ll be using official and custom ones.

In your repository, create a file .github/workflows/deploy.yml. We need

  • a name
  • on which trigger will this workflow run?
  • a job with all the necessary steps to checkout, build and deploy

The name can be anything:

name: Continuos Deployment

We would like to run the workflow on any push to our main branch:

on:
  push:
    branches: [main]

Our workflow contains a single job, that does the following steps:

  1. Checkout the current repository to a temporary workspace (available as an environment variable called $GITHUB_WORKSPACE)
  2. Add the Hugo binary to our workspace
  3. Clone the theme as a submodule
  4. Build the Hugo site
  5. Copy the build folder to the remote server using rsync and the private key we created earlier
jobs:
  build:
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    steps:
      # 1.
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2

      # 2.
      - name: Setup Hugo
        uses: peaceiris/actions-hugo@v2
        with:
          hugo-version: "0.90.1"
          extended: true

      # 3.
      - name: Clone theme
        run: git submodule update --init --recursive

      # 4.
      - name: Hugo build
        run: |
          cd $GITHUB_WORKSPACE
          hugo -v          

      # 5.
      - name: Rsync Deployments Action
        uses: Burnett01/rsync-deployments@5.2
        with:
          switches: -avzr --delete
          path: public/
          remote_path: /home/user/html/
          remote_host: remote.host
          remote_user: user
          remote_key: ${{ secrets.UBERSPACE_PRIVATE_SSH_KEY }}

Be sure to edit the values of the keys remote_path, remote_host and remote_user in the last step, according to your setup. secrets.UBERSPACE_PRIVATE_SSH_KEY is the descriptive name we chose when creating the new secret.

Save this file and push it to your repository. It should run immediatly. If everything goes well, you should see a little green tick mark ✅ next to the last commit made to your repository. Click on it to see the output of the workflow. If not ❌, check the output to find the error.

Success!

Success!
Success!

Using GitHub Actions I was able to automate the deployment process of my blogging workflow. I needed to add a couple of additional steps, because my Hugo theme uses Tailwind CSS, which itself requires some node packages to be installed, but I was able to add these with ease. See the complete config file:

# Github Action to generate a Hugo blog and deploy to webserver

name: Continuous Deployment

# Controls when the workflow will run
on:
  # Triggers the workflow on push events but only for the main branch
  push:
    branches: [main]

  # Allows you to run this workflow manually from the Actions tab
  workflow_dispatch:

# A workflow run is made up of one or more jobs that can run sequentially or in parallel
jobs:
  # This workflow contains a single job called "build"
  build:
    # The type of runner that the job will run on
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest

    # Steps represent a sequence of tasks that will be executed as part of the job
    steps:
      # Checks-out your repository under $GITHUB_WORKSPACE, so your job can access it
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2

      # Runs the Hugo command to build public directory
      - name: Setup Hugo
        uses: peaceiris/actions-hugo@v2
        with:
          hugo-version: "0.90.1"
          extended: true

      # Clone the theme as a submodule
      - name: Clone theme
        run: git submodule update --init --recursive

      # Setup node and npm
      - uses: actions/setup-node@v2
        with:
          node-version: "15"

      # Install dependencies for the theme
      - name: Install theme
        run: |
          npm install -g postcss-cli
          npm install -g autoprefixer
          cd themes/chringel
          npm install          

      # Build the Hugo web site
      - name: Hugo build
        run: |
          cd $GITHUB_WORKSPACE
          hugo -v          

      # Copy build folder to remote using rsync
      - name: Rsync Deployments Action
        uses: Burnett01/rsync-deployments@5.2
        with:
          switches: -avzr --delete
          path: public/
          remote_path: /home/user/html/
          remote_host: remote.host
          remote_user: user
          remote_key: ${{ secrets.UBERSPACE_PRIVATE_SSH_KEY }}

Source:


This series

  1. Chringel Hugo Theme
  2. Inline SVG Icons For Hugo
  3. Isso - An Alternative Commenting System For Hugo
  4. umami - A Google Analytics Alternative For Hugo
  5. Automatically Deploy a Hugo Website to a Remote Host Using Github Actions
  6. Hugo Simple Post Archive
  7. Random Cover Image

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