A Fast and Flexible Static Site Generator built with love by spf13 in GoLang
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A really fast static site generator written in GoLang.


Hugo is a static site generator written in GoLang. It is optimized for speed, easy use and configurability. Hugo takes a directory with content and templates and renders them into a full html website.

Hugo makes use of markdown files with front matter for meta data.

A typical website of moderate size can be rendered in a fraction of a second. It is written to work well with any kind of website including blogs, tumbles and docs.

Getting Started

Installing Hugo

Hugo is written in GoLang with support for Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and OSX.

The latest release can be found at hugo releases. We currently build for Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and OS X for x64 and 386 architectures.

Installation is very easy. Simply download the appropriate version for your platform. Once downloaded it can be run from anywhere. You don't need to install it into a global location. This works well for shared hosts and other systems where you don't have a privileged account.

Ideally you should install it somewhere in your path for easy use. /usr/local/bin is the most probable location.

Hugo has no external dependencies.

Installing from source


Make sure you have a recent version of go installed. Hugo requires go 1.1+.

Due to packaging dependencies the following are also required: Git, Bazaar, Mercurial

Cloning and Installing dependencies

git clone https://github.com/spf13/hugo
cd hugo
go get
go build -o hugo main.go

Running Hugo

cd hugo
go run main.go

Building Hugo

cd hugo
go build -o hugo main.go

Source Directory Organization

Hugo takes a single directory and uses it as the input for creating a complete website.

Hugo has a very small amount of configuration, while remaining highly customizable. It accomplishes by assuming that you will only provide templates with the intent of using them.

An example directory may look like:

├── config.json
├── content
|   ├── post
|   |   ├── firstpost.md
|   |   └── secondpost.md
|   └── quote
|   |   ├── first.md
|   |   └── second.md
├── layouts
|   ├── chrome
|   |   ├── header.html
|   |   └── footer.html
|   ├── indexes
|   |   ├── category.html
|   |   ├── post.html
|   |   ├── quote.html
|   |   └── tag.html
|   ├── post
|   |   ├── li.html
|   |   ├── single.html
|   |   └── summary.html
|   ├── quote
|   |   ├── li.html
|   |   ├── single.html
|   |   └── summary.html
|   ├── shortcodes
|   |   ├── img.html
|   |   ├── vimeo.html
|   |   └── youtube.html
|   ├── index.html
|   └── rss.xml
└── public

This directory structure tells us a lot about this site:

  1. the website intends to have two different types of content, posts and quotes.
  2. It will also apply two different indexes to that content, categories and tags.
  3. It will be displaying content in 3 different views, a list, a summary and a full page view.

Included with the repository is an example site ready to be rendered.


The directory structure and templates provide the majority of the configuration for a site. In fact a config file isn't even needed for many websites since the defaults used follow commonly used patterns.

Please note the field names must be all lowercase

Config Examples

The following is an example of a yaml config file with the default values:

sourcedir: "content"
layoutdir: "layouts"
publishdir: "public"
builddrafts: false
   category: "categories"
   tag: "tags"
baseurl: "http://yoursite.com/"

The following is an example of a json config file with the default values:

    "sourcedir": "content",
    "layoutdir": "layouts",
    "publishdir": "public",
    "builddrafts": false,
    "indexes": {
       category: "categories",
       tag: "tags"
    "baseurl": "http://yoursite.com/"

The following is an example of a toml config file with the default values:

sourcedir = "content"
layoutdir = "layouts"
publishdir = "public"
builddrafts = false
baseurl = "http://yoursite.com/"
   category = "categories"
   tag = "tags"


Make sure either hugo is in your path or provide a path to it.

$ hugo --help
usage: hugo [flags] []
  -b, --base-url="": hostname (and path) to the root eg. http://spf13.com/
  -d, --build-drafts=false: include content marked as draft
      --config="": config file (default is path/config.yaml|json|toml)
  -h, --help=false: show this help
      --port="1313": port to run web server on, default :1313
  -S, --server=false: run a (very) simple web server
  -s, --source="": filesystem path to read files relative from
      --uglyurls=false: use /filename.html instead of /filename/
  -v, --verbose=false: verbose output
      --version=false: which version of hugo
  -w, --watch=false: watch filesystem for changes and recreate as needed

The most common use is probably to run hugo with your current directory being the input directory.

$ hugo
> X pages created
> Y indexes created

If you are working on things and want to see the changes immediately, tell Hugo to watch for changes. It will recreate the site faster than you can tab over to your browser to view the changes.

$ hugo --source ~/mysite --watch
   Watching for changes. Press ctrl+c to stop
   15 pages created
   0 tags created

Hugo can even run a server and create your site at the same time!

$hugo --server -ws ~/mysite
   Watching for changes. Press ctrl+c to stop
   15 pages created
   0 tags created
   Web Server is available at http://localhost:1313
   Press ctrl+c to stop


Hugo is very flexible about how you organize and structure your content.


Hugo uses the excellent golang html/template library for it's template engine. It is an extremely lightweight engine that provides a very small amount of logic. In our experience that it is just the right amount of logic to be able to create a good static website

This document will not cover how to use golang templates, but the golang docs provide a good introduction.

Template roles

There are 5 different kinds of templates that Hugo works with.


This file must exist in the layouts directory. It is the template used to render the homepage of your site.


This file must exist in the layouts directory. It will be used to render all rss documents. The one provided in the example application will generate an ATOM format.

Important: Hugo will automatically add the following header line to this file.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="yes" ?>


An index is a page that list multiple pieces of content. If you think of a typical blog, the tag pages are good examples of indexes.

Content Type(s)

Hugo supports multiple types of content. Another way of looking at this is that Hugo has the ability to render content in a variety of ways as determined by the type.


Chrome is simply the decoration of your site. It's not a requirement to have this, but in practice it's very convenient. Hugo doesn't know anything about Chrome, it's simply a convention that you may likely find beneficial. As you create the rest of your templates you will include templates from the /layout/chrome directory. I've found it helpful to include a header and footer template in Chrome so I can include those in the other full page layouts (index.html, indexes/ type/single.html).

Adding a new content type

Adding a type is easy.

Step 1: Create a directory with the name of the type in layouts.Type is always singular. Eg /layouts/post.

Step 2: Create a file called single.html inside your directory. Eg /layouts/post/single.html.

Step 3: Create a file with the same name as your directory in /layouts/indexes/. Eg /layouts/index/post.html.

Step 4: Many sites support rendering content in a few different ways, for instance a single page view and a summary view to be used when displaying a list of contents on a single page. Hugo makes no assumptions here about how you want to display your content, and will support as many different views of a content type as your site requires. All that is required for these additional views is that a template exists in each layout/type directory with the same name.

For these, reviewing the example site will be very helpful in order to understand how these types work.


Hugo makes a set of values available to the templates. Go templates are context based. The following are available in the context for the templates.

.Title The title for the content.
.Description The description for the content.
.Keywords The meta keywords for this content.
.Date The date the content is published on.
.Indexes These will use the field name of the plural form of the index (see tags and categories above)
.Permalink The Permanent link for this page.
.FuzzyWordCount The approximate number of words in the content.
.RSSLink Link to the indexes' rss link

Any value defined in the front matter, including indexes will be made available under .Params. Take for example I'm using tags and categories as my indexes. The following would be how I would access them:


Also available is .Site which has the following:

.Site.BaseUrl The base URL for the site as defined in the config.json file.
.Site.Indexes The names of the indexes of the site.
.Site.LastChange The date of the last change of the most recent content.
.Site.Recent Array of all content ordered by Date, newest first


Hugo uses markdown files with headers commonly called the front matter. Hugo respects the organization that you provide for your content to minimize any extra configuration, though this can be overridden by additional configuration in the front matter.


In Hugo the content should be arranged in the same way they are intended for the rendered website. Without any additional configuration the following will just work.

└── content
    ├── post
    |   ├── firstpost.md   // <- http://site.com/post/firstpost.html
    |   └── secondpost.md  // <- http://site.com/post/secondpost.html
    └── quote
        ├── first.md       // <- http://site.com/quote/first.html
        └── second.md      // <- http://site.com/quote/second.html

Front Matter

The front matter is one of the features that gives Hugo it's strength. It enables you to include the meta data of the content right with it. Hugo supports a few different formats each with their own identifying tokens.

Supported formats:
YAML, identified by '---'.
TOML, indentified with '+++'.
JSON, a single JSON object which is surrounded by '{' and '}' each on their own line.

YAML Example

title: "spf13-vim 3.0 release and new website"
description: "spf13-vim is a cross platform distribution of vim plugins and resources for Vim."
tags: [ ".vimrc", "plugins", "spf13-vim", "vim" ]
pubdate: "2012-04-06"
  - "Development"
  - "VIM"
slug: "spf13-vim-3-0-release-and-new-website"
Content of the file goes Here 

TOML Example

title = "spf13-vim 3.0 release and new website"
description = "spf13-vim is a cross platform distribution of vim plugins and resources for Vim."
tags = [ ".vimrc", "plugins", "spf13-vim", "vim" ]
Pubdate = "2012-04-06"
categories = [
slug = "spf13-vim-3-0-release-and-new-website"
Content of the file goes Here 

JSON Example

"title": "spf13-vim 3.0 release and new website",
"description": "spf13-vim is a cross platform distribution of vim plugins and resources for Vim.",
"tags": [ ".vimrc", "plugins", "spf13-vim", "vim" ],
"date": "2012-04-06",
"categories": [
"slug": "spf13-vim-3-0-release-and-new-website",
Content of the file goes Here 


There are a few predefined variables that Hugo is aware of and utilizes. The user can also create any variable they want to. These will be placed into the .Params variable available to the templates. Field names are case insensitive.


title The title for the content.
description The description for the content.
date The date the content will be sorted by.
indexes These will use the field name of the plural form of the index (see tags and categories above)


draft If true the content will not be rendered unless hugo is called with -d
type The type of the content (will be derived from the directory automatically if unset).
markup (Experimental) Specify "rst" for reStructuredText (requires rst2html,) or "md" (default) for the Markdown.
slug The token to appear in the tail of the url.
url The full path to the content from the web root.
If neither is present the filename will be used.


Somethings are better shown than explained. The following is a very basic example of a content file:

mysite/project/nitro.md <- http://mysite.com/project/nitro.html

Title: "Nitro : A quick and simple profiler for golang"
Description": ""
Keywords": [ "Development", "golang", "profiling" ]
Tags": [ "Development", "golang", "profiling" ]
Pubdate": "2013-06-19"
Topics": [ "Development", "GoLang" ]
Slug": "nitro"
project_url": "http://github.com/spf13/nitro"

# Nitro

Quick and easy performance analyzer library for golang.

## Overview

Nitro is a quick and easy performance analyzer library for golang.
It is useful for comparing A/B against different drafts of functions
or different functions.

## Implementing Nitro

Using Nitro is simple. First use go get to install the latest version
of the library.

    $ go get github.com/spf13/nitro

Next include nitro in your application.



Because Hugo uses markdown for it's content format, it was clear that there's a lot of things that markdown doesn't support well. This is good, the simple nature of markdown is exactly why we chose it.

However we cannot accept being constrained by our simple format. Also unacceptable is writing raw html in our markdown every time we want to include unsupported content such as a video. To do so is in complete opposition to the intent of using a bare bones format for our content and utilizing templates to apply styling for display.

To avoid both of these limitations Hugo has full support for shortcodes.

What is a shortcode?

A shortcode is a simple snippet inside a markdown file that Hugo will render using a template.

Short codes are designated by the opening and closing characters of '{{%' and '%}}' respectively. Short codes are space delimited. The first word is always the name of the shortcode. Following the name are the parameters. The author of the shortcode can choose if the short code will use positional parameters or named parameters (but not both). A good rule of thumb is that if a short code has a single required value in the case of the youtube example below then positional works very well. For more complex layouts with optional parameters named parameters work best.

The format for named parameters models that of html with the format name="value"

Example: youtube

{{% youtube 09jf3ow9jfw %}}

This would be rendered as

<div class="embed video-player">
<iframe class="youtube-player" type="text/html"
    width="640" height="385" 
    allowfullscreen frameborder="0">

Example: image with caption

{{% img src="/media/spf13.jpg" title="Steve Francia" %}}

Would be rendered as:

<figure >
    <img src="/media/spf13.jpg"  />
        <h4>Steve Francia</h4>

Creating a shortcode

All that you need to do to create a shortcode is place a template in the layouts/shortcodes directory.

The template name will be the name of the shortcode.

Inside the template

To access a parameter by either position or name the index method can be used.

{{ index .Params 0 }}
{{ index .Params "class" }}

To check if a parameter has been provided use the isset method provided by Hugo.

{{ if isset .Params "class"}} class="{{ index .Params "class"}}" {{ end }}


Release Notes

  • 0.7.0 July 4, 2013
    • Hugo now includes a simple server
    • First public release
  • 0.6.0 July 2, 2013
  • 0.5.0 June 25, 2013
    • Hugo is quite usable and able to build spf13.com


In no particular order, here is what I'm working on:

  • Pagination
  • Support for top level pages (other than homepage)
  • Series support
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Previous & Next
  • Related Posts
  • Support for TOML front matter -- in head
  • Proper YAML support for front matter -- in head
  • Support for other formats


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request



Hugo is released under the Simple Public License. See LICENSE.md.