How to build and deploy with hugo and rsync

We assume here that you have an access to your web host with SSH. In that case, as you will see, deployment is very simple. We also assume that you have a functional static site with hugo installed.

The spoil is, you can deploy your entire site with a command that looks like this:

hugo && rsync -avz --delete public/

As you will see, we put it in a shell script file, which makes building and deployment as easy as executing ./deploy.

Installing SSH Key

If it is not done yet, we will make an automated way to SSH to your server. If you have already installed an SSH key, switch to the next section.

First, install the ssh client. On Debian/Ubuntu/derivates, enter sudo apt-get install openssh-client.

Then generate your ssh key by entering the following commands:

~$ cd && mkdir .ssh & cd .ssh
~/.ssh/$ ssh-keygen -t rsa -q -C "For SSH" -f rsa_id
~/.ssh/$ cat >> config <<EOF
     Hostname HOST
     Port 22
     User USER
     IdentityFile ~/.ssh/rsa_id

Don’t forget to replace the HOST and USER values with your own ones. Then copy your ssh public key to the remote server:

~/.ssh/$ ssh-copy-id -i

Now you can easily connect to the remote server:

~$ ssh user@host
Enter passphrase for key '/home/mylogin/.ssh/rsa_id':

And you’ve done it!

Shell script

We will put the first command in a script at the root of your hugo tree:

~/websites/$ editor deploy

Here you put the following content. Replace the USER, HOST and DIR values with your own.

DIR=my/directory/to/   # might sometimes be empty!

hugo && rsync -avz --delete public/ ${USER}@${HOST}:~/${DIR}

exit 0

Note that DIR is the relative path from the remote user’s home. If you have to specify a full path (for instance /var/www/mysite/) you must change ~/${DIR} to ${DIR} inside the command line. For most cases you should not have to.

Save and close, and make the deploy file executable:

~/websites/$ chmod +x deploy

Now you only have to enter the following command to deploy and update your website:

~/websites/$ ./deploy
Started building sites ...
Built site for language en:
0 draft content
0 future content
0 expired content
5 pages created
0 non-page files copied
0 paginator pages created
0 tags created
0 categories created
total in 56 ms
sending incremental file list

sent 9,550 bytes  received 1,708 bytes  7,505.33 bytes/sec
total size is 966,557  speedup is 85.86

And it’s done!