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Learning static site building with Hugo

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

Foreword

I was inspired to write this user guide, dedicated to Hugo static site generator (SSG), after completing the course Learning Static Site Building with Hugo.

So I decided to summarize the gained knowledge and share it with you.

Maybe this will motivate you to learn more about SSGs.

Let's get started.

Tip: Use the inline links within the text to quickly access the supplementary materials related to the topic.

Prerequisites

  • You have at least a basic understanding of what a static site generator and the docs-as-code approach are.

  • You have installed and are familiar with any source code editor like Visual Studio Code.

  • You’re familiar with Command Line Interface (CLI) like Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell.

  • You’re familiar with Git commands and have Git installed on your local machine. If not, install Git and check it in the CLI by running the command git --version.

  • You know the syntax of Markdown.

  • You have an account on GitHub.

Steps

1. Install Hugo, then check it in the CLI:

hugo version

2. Create your website locally in a dedicated Hugo folder on your local machine, e.g., Sites, which should be separated from the installation Hugo folder, e.g., bin. Go to this folder in your CLI:

cd C:\hugo\sites   
hugo new site <your_site_name>   
cd .\<your_site_name>

3. Initiate your local Git repository for the site, check the list of untracked files, copy all the folders into the local Git repository, and commit these to Git:

git init
git status
git add --all 
git commit -m "<Commit_message>"

4. Place the link of a selected Hugo theme into the themes root folder:

cd themes
git submodule add https://<github_theme> themes/<theme_name>

5. Copy the themes > theme_name > config.toml file content into the config.toml root file and then adjust the required file properties:

For a Hugo theme with the localization file in place, e.g., l10n.toml for the minimalist theme, copy this file from themes > theme_name > exampleSite > data folder into the data root project folder. Also, don’t forget to delete the themesDir property in your config.toml root file to be able to launch your site locally:

Commit the changes:

git add --all
git commit -m "<Commit_message>"

6. Run your site on the local server localhost:1313:

hugo server

7. Create a new page under the content root folder, or a new post under the content > post folder (e.g., posts are applicable for the blog-based Hugo themes like minimalist):

hugo new <site_page_name>.md
hugo new post/<site_post_name>.md

8. Create the static > img folder, place all required images there, and update uploaded image-related properties in the config.toml root file.

Tip: check the Disable cache box in the Network tab of your browser’s dev panel to avoid possible image caching.

9. Build your site:

hugo

10. Create the .gitignore root file and enter the public/ property there (to make Git ignore the content of the public root project folder):

git add .gitignore
git commit -m "<Commit_message>"

11. Create a GitHub repository for your Hugo project and push the master branch from your local Git repository:

git remote add origin https://<your_hithub_repository>
git push -u origin master 

12. Sign in to Travis CI with your GitHub account and sync your repository there.

13. Create the .travis.yml root file in your project with the script below to allow Travis CI to build your site each time you commit and push updates to your site:

install:   
- wget https://<latest_github_hugo_linux_release>   
- sudo dpkg -i hugo*.deb   
- hugo version   
before_script:   
- rm -rf public   
script:   
- hugo   
branches:    
 only:   
 - master

14. Commit and push the Travis script to Git – Travis will run the script automatically to build your site. If that didn’t happen, start the build manually on your project page in Travis:

git add --all   
git commit -m "<Commit_message>"   
git push origin

15. (optional) Get a domain name for your site to publish it on the Internet, e.g., using Namecheap.

16. Sign in to Netlify with your GitHub account, then deploy and name your site following the inline instructions. For more details, refer to the Publish via Netlify article of my teammate Ivan Cheban.

17. Check out your website on the Internet by the Netlify link generated in the format <your_site_name>.netlify.app, e.g., https://dmytryko.netlify.app.

Afterword

And last but not least!

Each time you make any updates to your site, don’t forget to apply them by sequentially running these commands in the CLI:

git add --all   
git commit -m "<Commit_message>"   
git push origin

That's all.

Thank you for your attention!

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