How to set up a HUGO project for GitLab pages


Also see this article: How to set up a minimal Jekyll project for GitLab Pages.

This is an optional part of the overall workflow.

It requires some initial investment. What you get is a GitLab -website with blog-posts. The alternative is to use gitlab artifacts , please refer to Continuous Integration on Gitlab.

Step-by-step guide

To create your own HUGO page you can start by building on existing work and fork this project or cleaner: this template project

  1. To create a fork:

    Click the Fork button on the top right corner.


    IMPORTANT: After successfully forking the project you have to remove the fork relationship. Go to Settings → Generals → Advanced and click the Remove fork relationship button.rm_fork_relation

    And finally, for better management rename the repository and change the path to it to match the name you want for your site. This is because Gitlab automatically generates the URL for the project and it takes into consideration the actual name of the project, the username (for projects under your own namespace), the group the project is under (for projects under a specific group) and even the subgroup if it exists.
    You can see your pages' URL under Settings → Pages.

    For example, if a user creates a project under a group called “leia” (e.g. and the right files are there, the GitLab page will be available under, where we can see that the name of the group is mentioned in the beginning of the URL and the project name at the end of the URL.

  2. Build from scratch/GitLab templates:

    GitLab has template files available for HUGO, Jekyll and others.

Adapt your repository

Check your git repository for the following characteristics.

In this example the actual files of ‘hugo-theme-learn’ were imported as files without git-properties into the folder structure.
If your fork your project as described above, this might have some implications on your pipeline.


Your .gitlab-ci.yml starts the CI/CD- pipeline and therefore is responsible to deploy your website.

It should look similar to this:

# All available Hugo versions are listed here:


  - hugo
  - master

  - ls themes/hugo-theme-learn/
  - hugo
    - public
  - master

Adapt - ls themes/hugo-theme-learn/ to fit your path and/or theme.

GitLab pages requires that the name of the job is ‘pages’ and the name of the folder for artifacts is ‘public’. All the work after that is taken care by GitLab automatically.
If you have more than one branch in your pages-repository, you probably only want the ‘master’-branch to be deployed and need to add the only: -master option, as seen above.


In .gitmodules submodules are declared. In this case it could look like this:

[submodule "themes/hugo-theme-learn"]
	path = themes/hugo-theme-learn
	url = /themes/hugo-theme-learn

The line url = can possibly contain an actual url, e.g. url =, if the module is present as a git instance.


About TOML

baseurl = ""
languageCode = "en-us"
title = "SFB1194 Knowledge Base"
theme = "hugo-theme-learn"

contentdir    = "content"
layoutdir     = "layouts"
publishdir    = "public"
canonifyurls  = true

# check the documentation of your hugo theme, e.g. for the HUGO learn theme
# For search functionality
home = [ "HTML", "RSS", "JSON"]


Add a file called .gitignore with the single line


to your repository.


Put a .gitkeep with no content in empty folders, e.g. themes/, static/ and layouts/. The relevant folders will otherwise be displayed in the GitLab like this, e.g.: static/images, where the sub-folder is displayed in the hierarchically-higher level.

Your should always provide a readme. It can automatically be generated while starting a new GitLab-project.

# Knowledge Base

Knowledge Base of SFB1194 Confluence at TU Darmstadt

GitLab runner

You will need a runner to run the CI/CD-pipeline. Go to How to set up a GitLab Runner and follow these steps, choosing the docker executor (also install Docker on your machine).

See also