Create and Deploy Hugo to Kubernetes


This isn’t the first iteration of this blog. Prior to using Hugo I was using Ghost. I loved Ghost as an all-in-one CMS solution. It is simple, fairly lightweight, and easy to get the hang of. This was very early on in my sysadmin career, so backups were non-existent. As you can imagine, all it took for that to go wrong was a couple of dead drives combined with a dead RAID card.

If you fast forward a few years to 2020, you get the most recent iteration of my homelab which is backed fully by gitops and infrastructure as code. I only need to take backups of the most criticial pieces of information (databases, photos, music, etc.). Limiting the use of stateful VMs and pivoting to a container-centric environment has allowed me to teach myself in the most effective way possible: break and fix. When I break something with my Kubernetes cluster I’m minutes away from having a fresh install. I can spin up applications on demand and decide if I like them or not. I can restore from backups in seconds. It is legitimately a tinkerer’s paradise.

Enter: Hugo

Picking Hugo

For those uninitiated, Hugo is an open-source static site generator written in Go. Essentially it consumes human-readable markdown and spits out a full HTML website. This makes it easy to rapidly create fully-featured websites.

Hugo was appealing for multiple reasons including simplicity, conducive to a gitops approach, and a new challenge. I knew from the onset that I wanted to try and build and deploy this without having to do much external searching or Googling. Thankfully the Hugo docs are pretty good, and I already had experience working with Docker.

My Setup

This is going to be my journey to building this blog. You may not have the same end goals as I do, or you may use a different approach to creating your Hugo site. Either way please feel free to modify these instructions to build your own website, or fork/copy the repo where this blog lives!

Downloading Hugo

Since Hugo is written in Go the only requirement to install it is to have the binary in your $PATH.

  • Mac:
brew install hugo
  • Linux
export HUGO_VERSION=0.79.0

curl -O -L${HUGO_VERSION}/hugo_${HUGO_VERSION}_Linux-64bit.tar.gz /tmp/ && \
    tar -xf /tmp/hugo_${HUGO_VERSION}_Linux-64bit.tar.gz -C /usr/local/bin/ && \
    chmod +x /usr/local/bin/hugo

Create a Git Repo

I’m going to assume you’ll know how to do this. You can either create one on Github/Gitlab/etc. and clone it, or just create a repo locally and then push it to a remote later on.

git clone

Finding and Installing a Theme

I wanted to find a theme that was simple, had a dark mode built-in, and is readable. I found Blonde which looked perfect to me.

First we need to install Node.js:

brew install node

Then we need to install some npm packages:

npm install -g postcss
npm install -g postcss-cli
npm install -g autoprefixer

Continuing with the directions for Blonde, I need to add a git submodule to my repo:

cd baremetalblog
git submodule add themes/Blonde
mv themes/Blonde/exampleSite/* ./

Now your site is initialized with some example data from the theme itself. The example pages give some detail on how to create pages with different types of content and thumbnails, so it may be benificial to read through those.

The final theme installation step is to cd into the theme’s directory and install it with node:

cd themes/Blonde
npm install

Generating the Example Site

If you’ve made it this far, the root of your git repo should look something like this:

├── .git
├── .gitmodules
├── archetypes
├── config.toml
├── configTaxo.toml
├── content
├── layouts
├── package.json
├── static
└── themes

At the root of your blog’s repo, run:


This should generate your site giving you some buffer output like so:

Start building sites … 

                   | EN  
  Pages            | 54  
  Paginator pages  |  2  
  Non-page files   |  0  
  Static files     | 18  
  Processed images |  0  
  Aliases          | 26  
  Sitemaps         |  1  
  Cleaned          |  0  

Total in 4905 ms

However, with the Blonde theme I chose, there was an error regarding the Instagram Shortcode integration, so I deleted the shortcode in Specifically line 19.

Your site will be generated and put into public/ in the root of your repo. These are the files that will be put into nginx in order to serve your site.

Editing Your Site

hugo server

Hugo is not only a site generator, it also provides you a way to serve your site in addition to a way to live edit your site. In the root of your repo run the following:

hugo server

This will compile your site in memory, and serve it on http://localhost:1313. When you make changes to files and save them the site is rebuilt in real-time reflecting your edits.

Changing Your config.toml

Upon building your site, hugo immediately reads a file at the root of the project called config.toml. Since we copied the example site earlier this file will already exist, but will require some edits to make it usable in production. Check out Configure Hugo from the official docs for a breakdown of the settings.

At the very least you’ll want to edit the top section of the file to be more in line with your preferences:

baseURL = ""
title = "Blonde"
author = "wamo"
languageCode = "en"
DefaultContentLanguage = "en"
enableInlineShortcodes = true

Containerizing and Deploying Your Site

For my personal usage, I have decided to build a container by hand to keep everything in the same repo. This may or may not work for you.

Creating Dockerfile

For my Docker build process I decided to run Alpine in order to build the site:

FROM alpine:latest as MEATGRINDER
# generate hugo site
COPY ./ /site/
# install hugo
ADD${HUGO_VERSION}/hugo_${HUGO_VERSION}_Linux-64bit.tar.gz /tmp/
# change workdir for npm
WORKDIR /site/themes/Blonde
RUN tar -xf /tmp/hugo_${HUGO_VERSION}_Linux-64bit.tar.gz -C /usr/local/bin/ && \
    chmod +x /usr/local/bin/hugo && \
    # install npm
    apk add --update npm && \
    # install npm packages
    npm install -g postcss-cli@8.3.1 && \
    npm install -g postcss@8.1.0 && \
    npm install -g autoprefixer@10.2.1 && \
    npm install -g postcss-import@14.0.0 && \
    npm i -D @fullhuman/postcss-purgecss postcss && \
    # install hugo theme with npm
    npm install /site/themes/Blonde && \
    # generate site
    hugo -s /site

And then immediately follow that up with copying the site content to an Alpine Nginx container:

# serve site with nginx
FROM nginx:stable-alpine
RUN apk --update add curl bash
# copy custom config for site
COPY meta/nginx/bmb.conf /etc/nginx/conf.d/bmb.conf
# copy site content from first container
COPY --from=MEATGRINDER /site/public/ /usr/share/nginx/html/

You’ll notice that in the second part of the Dockerfile that I am copying an Nginx config file from my repo. This file points Nginx to the files for my site:

server {
       listen 80;
       listen [::]:80;

       root /usr/share/nginx/html/; 
       index index.html;

       location / {
               try_files $uri $uri/ =404;

Building the Docker Container

Once again make sure that you are in the root of your project and simply run:

docker build -t myname/mycoolsite:dev .

This should start building your container. If there are any errors, you’ll likely need to tweak your Dockerfile to do some troubleshooting.

Now that the image is built, we should run it locally to see that everything is loading correctly:

docker run -p 80:80 --rm myname/mycoolsite:dev

Now in your web browser navigate to http://localhost and make sure that your site functions as expected.

Sweet, now we have a Hugo site containerized!

Creating a Helm Chart to Deploy to Kubernetes

Helm has been dubbed the “package manager for Kubernetes”. It is a way to install software and associated resources to a Kubernetes cluster by using the powerful Go templating engine and lots of YAML. In order to simplify my blog deployment to my Kubernetes cluster I want to create a Helm chart for use with Flux in my gitops workflow.

Initialize the Helm chart

This will cover creating a chart, but not hosting the chart. For hosting the chart check out my other post about hosting charts on Github pages for free.

Making the Chart

Create a new working directory to house your helm chart. This should be separate from the git repo created for the site. Once you’re in the directory, just simply run:

helm create myawesomeblog
ls myawesomeblog
Chart.yaml   templates/   values.yaml

From there, you’ll want to edit the file values.yml to line up with your Docker image:

  repository: crutonjohn/myawesomeblog
  pullPolicy: IfNotPresent

To test your newly created Helm chart you can run the following, providing a positional name argument test. This will output

helm template test ./
# Source: baremetalblog/templates/serviceaccount.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: ServiceAccount
  name: test-baremetalblog
  labels: baremetalblog-0.1.0 baremetalblog test "0.1.0" Helm
# Source: baremetalblog/templates/service.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: Service
  name: test-baremetalblog
  labels: baremetalblog-0.1.0 baremetalblog test "0.1.0" Helm
  type: ClusterIP
    - port: 80
      targetPort: http
      protocol: TCP
      name: http
  selector: baremetalblog test
# Source: baremetalblog/templates/deployment.yaml
apiVersion: apps/v1
kind: Deployment
  name: test-baremetalblog
  labels: baremetalblog-0.1.0 baremetalblog test "0.1.0" Helm
  replicas: 1
    matchLabels: baremetalblog test
      labels: baremetalblog test
      serviceAccountName: test-baremetalblog
        - name: baremetalblog
          image: "crutonjohn/baremetalblog:0.1.0"
          imagePullPolicy: IfNotPresent
            - name: http
              containerPort: 80
              protocol: TCP
              path: /
              port: http
              path: /
              port: http
# Source: baremetalblog/templates/ingress.yaml
kind: Ingress
  name: test-baremetalblog
  labels: baremetalblog-0.1.0 baremetalblog test "0.1.0" Helm
    - host: "chart-example.local"
# Source: baremetalblog/templates/tests/test-connection.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
  name: "test-baremetalblog-test-connection"
  labels: baremetalblog-0.1.0 baremetalblog test "0.1.0" Helm
    "": test-success
    - name: wget
      image: busybox
      command: ['wget']
      args:  ['test-baremetalblog:80']
  restartPolicy: Never

Deploy Blog Using Helm

Assuming you have pushed the blog/site image to an image registry, we can now deploy our application to our cluster in the current working namespace by doing the following. (Be sure to update your values.yml to align with what you want deployed)

helm install myblog ./ -f values.yml

Your blog should now be accessible in your cluster!


This may not be the best practice or even the easiest way to deploy a Hugo static site, but it is the way that worked for me. If you run into any troubles feel free to join the k8s@home Discord and give me a shout!