How to Deploy A Hugo Website Using GitHub Pages Action

Hongtao Hao / 2021-04-05


I didn’t find a tutorial in details I deemed necessary, so I decided to craft one by myself. These two sources helped me a lot:

Create .github/workflows/gh-pages.yml #

First change directory to your Hugo project using cd.

Then

mkdir .github
mkdir .github/workflows
touch .github/workflows/gh-pages.yml

Generating SSH Deploy Key #

Open a new Terminal window (Cmd+N on Mac; alt+F2 for git-bash on Windows).

MAC:

Try the following snippet first:

cd ~/.ssh

If you see ~/.ssh does not exist, then run the following snippet:

mkdir -p ~/.ssh
cd ~/.ssh
ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "$(git config user.email)" -f gh-pages -N ""
open -a Finder ~/.ssh

The line of mkdir -p ~/.ssh is from https://superuser.com/a/635270 . If you want to know what mkdir -p means, refer to mkdir - Unix, Linux Command .

Windows:

Replace Admin with your own username for your PC.

Try the following snippet first:

cd C:\Users\admin\.ssh

If it says the file could not be found, run the following:

cd /C/Users/Admin
start ~/.ssh
mkdir ~/.ssh/ && cd ~/.ssh
ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "$(git config user.email)" -f gh-pages -N ""
start ~/.ssh

Then you can see two files are generated in the .ssh folder:

  • gh-pages

  • gh-pages.pub

Now go back to the original Terminal page (the one for your Hugo project) for the following commands.

Set deploy_key #

MAC:

pbcopy < ~/.ssh/gh-pages.pub

Windows:

clip < ~/.ssh/gh-pages.pub

Go to your username.github.io repository on GitHub -> Settings -> Deploy keys -> Add deploy key.

Press Cmd+V (Windows: Control+V) in the “Key” section. Check “Allow write access”. Leave a note to yourself in the “Title” section. Press “Add key”.

Go back to your Terminal.

MAC:

pbcopy < ~/.ssh/gh-pages

Windows:

clip < ~/.ssh/gh-pages

Go to your username.github.io repository on GitHub -> Settings -> Secrets -> New repository secret.

Press Cmd+V (Windows: Control+V) in the “Value” section. In the “Name” section, input ACTIONS_DEPLOY_KEY. Press “Add secret”.

Generate Personal Access Token #

Click here to generate a personal access token.

Press “Generate new token”. Change the default expiration (30 days) if you would like. In “Select scopes”, check “workflow”. Then leave a note to yourself in the “Note” section. Scroll down and press “Generate token”. Then copy the token you see.

Go back to your username.github.io repository on GitHub -> Settings -> Secrets -> New repository secret.

Press Cmd+V (Windows: Control+V) in the “Value” section. In the “Name” section, input PERSONAL_TOKEN. Press “Add secret”.

If you update your Personal Token later, when you git push, you’ll probably see an error:

refusing to allow a Personal Access Token to create or update workflow `.github/workflows/gh-pages.yml` without `workflow` scope

In this case, you need to update passwords in Keychain Access (if you are using a Mac).

Add your workflow file #

MAC:

open .github/workflows/gh-pages.yml -a TextEdit 

You can replace TextEdit with "Sublime Text" if you have Sublime Text installed.

Windows:

notepad .github\workflows\gh-pages.yml
name: github pages

on:
  push:
    branches:
      - master  # Set a branch name to trigger deployment

jobs:
  deploy:
    runs-on: ubuntu-18.04
    steps:
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2
        with:
          submodules: true  # Fetch Hugo themes (true OR recursive)
          fetch-depth: 0    # Fetch all history for .GitInfo and .Lastmod

      - name: Setup Hugo
        uses: peaceiris/actions-hugo@v2
        with:
          hugo-version: '0.79.1'

      - name: Build
        run: hugo --minify

      - name: Deploy
        uses: peaceiris/actions-gh-pages@v3
        with:
          github_token: ${{ secrets.PERSONAL_TOKEN }}
          publish_branch: gh-pages
          publish_dir: ./public

Push to Remote #

If you haven’t pushed anything to your username.github.io repository yet:

echo "# my hugo website" >> README.md
git init
rm -rf public
hugo
git add README.md
git add .
git commit -m "first commit"
# For below, please replace USERNAME with your GitHub username
git remote add origin https://github.com/USERNAME/USERNAME.github.io.git
git push -u origin master

If your username.github.io repository is already established, check whether the current branch’s name is “master”. If not, replace master with your branch’s name in .github/workflows/gh-pages.yml. Then

git add .
git commit -m "deploying with github pages action"
git push

Go to your username.github.io repository to see whether the deployment is successful. If yes, go to “Settings'', scroll down to “Pages”. Choose “gh-pages'' as the Source branch, then select “root” as the folder. Click “Save”. Wait a minute or so and your website will be live at https://USERNAME.github.io/.

If the deployment fails, click the X mark to solve the issues by yourself. I cannot help there.

Last modified on 2021-10-24