My Hugo Setup Part 2

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This post is part of the hugo-setup series.

In my previous post, I explained all the visual tweaks I did to my Hugo blog theme so that I could get the pages I wanted in the format I liked the most. This post explains the publish part of it because I faced some issues doing that.

I was used to Jekyll’s way of doing things where it’s just one repository on GitHub and all I had to do was git push and the blog would show up after about a minute. This means the repository contained both source and generated files. However, Hugo does things a little differently and I actually like it. There are several ways to deploy your Hugo website - using GitHub pages, GitLab, Netlify, etc. I chose GitHub pages since that’s what I’m most familiar with.

If you are going with GitHub’s User or Organization Pages, Hugo’s recommendation is to split the source and generated files into two different repositories. The repository that the generated files go to will be the front for the website. Let me explain what I did in a little more detail.

Step 1: Create a GitHub repository. I called mine “blog”

Step 2: Create another GitHub repository called Mine is

Step 3: Do a git clone of the “blog” repository you created on GitHub.

Step 4: Copy over your Hugo website on your local to the “blog” directory that you just cloned.

Step 5: Add a submodule using the command: git submodule add -b master public. This creates a git submodule that points to the public directory in your Hugo website.

Step 5 is where I encountered the issue. The idea is to point the public in your “blog” directory to a remote on GitHub by making it a submodule. The folder public contains all the generated files. Once you create a post and run hugo server to generate all the files, you have to do a git push on both the “blog” directory and the “public” directory (which is a submodule pointing to repo on GitHub). And having the public directory as part of the .gitignore will exclude it from pushing its contents to the “blog” directory which is supposed to only contain the source files.

However, this was not happening. I tried reconfiguring the submodules, changing my .gitignore file and doing several other things, but what was generated by Hugo in the public directory never got pushed to the remote repo; which means, my site never got updated even though I was updated the source files and things were working fine when I ran it on localhost.

The way I solved this is by cloning the repo to outside the “blog” directory. Then changing the script mentioned in the documentation to copy all the files from public directory into the cloned directory, then committing and pushing the changes. The public directory now doesn’t point to anything in the remote. Though this is slightly round about, it does the job and fixed my issue. It’s also a one time setup and I don’t have to touch it again.

All I do when I create a new post is, do a git add and a git commit. Then run to copy the generated files to the right repository ( and then do a git push on the “blog” directory to push the source files.

Other posts in this series: