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A Hugo boilerplate for building modern websites
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Hugo Boilerplate

A Hugo boilerplate for building modern websites 🌲

This boilerplate wraps Hugo with Gulp as your local development build pipeline.

PostCSS and Webpack + Babel are used for CSS and JS compiling & transpiling.

BrowserSync is used for providing a modern local development experience, allowing you to preview your site on multiple devices in sync.

BrowsersList is used for configuring Browser support.

SVG Sprite is used to generate an SVG Sprite.



To use Gulp, you must have Node and NPM installed.


Once the prerequisites are installed, clone the repository to your local machine, and then run:

npm install

This will install Hugo as well as all of the Node dependencies needed to run your Hugo environment. This may take a little while!


All development tasks are performed using npm run. See "scripts" in package.json for a full list of commands.

Local Development

Local development is powered by BrowserSync, you will be able to develop sites rapidly through:

  • A local development server at http://localhost:3000/.
  • Automatic CSS updates without reloading the page
  • Automatic page reloads when content is changed

Running the local development server is as simple as running:

npm start

This will display all draft, future-dated, or expired content, which is not included in your production build.

If you'd like to develop with the site as it will appear in production, run:

npm run preview

Production Build

To generate a final production build on your local machine you can run:

npm run build

The fresh production build of your site will end up in the dist/ directory.

Hugo Commands

All of Hugo's CLI commands can be run through NPM by running:

npm run hugo -- <command> --<param>

For example:

npm run hugo -- new posts/
// => creates a new post at hugo/content/posts/

Project Structure

├── .tmp/                  // Temporary directory for development server
├── dist/                  // The production build
├── hugo/                  // The Hugo project; content, data and static files
|   ├── .forestry/         // Contains configuration files
|   ├── content/           // Where all site content is stored 
|   ├── data/              // TOML, YAML or JSON files containing site data 
|   ├── layouts/           // Your site's layouts
|   |   ├── partials/      // Your site's partials
|   |   └── shortcodes/    // Your site's shortcodes
|   ├── static/            // Where all static files live
|   |   ├── css/           // Where compiled CSS files live
|   |   ├── js/            // Where compiled JS files live
|   |   └── uploads/       // Where user uploads are stored
|   └── config.toml        // The Hugo configuration file
└─── src/
     ├── css               // CSS/SCSS source files to be compiled to /css/
     └── js                // JS source files to be compiled to /js/

Inline SVG

Any SVGs found in src/img/ will be combined into a single SVG Sprite at hugo/static/svg/sprite.symbol.svg.

This boilerplate comes with a simple partial for using SVGs in your layouts. You can select an svg by passing in it's ID.

{{/* Using a logo stored at src/img/github.svg */}}
{{ partial "svg" (dict "id" "github" "class" "optional-class" "width" 32 "height" 32) -}}

Note: the class, width, and height params are optional


This boilerplate comes with standard ESLint and StyleLint configurations that will lint your CSS and JS for errors or common style issues, which work with most popular IDEs.

The tests can also be run from the command line:

  • JS: npm run eslint
  • CSS: npm run stylelint

If you want to automatically fix lint errors, you can do this from the command line as well:

  • JS: npm run eslint:fix
  • CSS: npm run stylelint:fix


This boilerplate is self-cleaning, and will remove the production dist/ and development .tmp/ folders every time a command is run to ensure that their contents are always up to date.

If you wish to manually cleanup, run:

npm run clean


All build tasks are handled by Gulp and are located in gulpfile.babel.js. All parts of the build are configurable in discrete files to make management easy.


All build source and destination paths can be configured from gulp.config.js.


The build commands for Hugp can be configured from gulp.config.js. Build commands are set based on the NODE_ENV environment variable. You can optionally load different args using the GENERATOR_ARGS environment variable.

Four options are available:

  • default: the default build commands that are always run
  • development: additional build commands for the development server
  • preview: additional build commands for a production development server
  • production: additional build commands for production builds

BrowserSync Development Server

The configuration for BrowserSync is found in .browsersyncrc.js


The configuration for PostCSS is found in .postcssrc.js


The configuration for Webpack is found in .webpackrc.js

Browser support

Both PostCSS and Webpack use .browserslistrc to decide on browser support when compiling.

Tips & Resources

  • To learn about how to develop with Hugo, see Hugo's documentation
  • To learn how to use Hugo's templating system, see the documentation
  • Static files should be stored in the hugo/static/ folder as they should appear in the built site E.g, a CNAME file should be stored at hugo/static/CNAME to become /CNAME
  • Javascript files are compiled from the root of src/js/ to js/{filename}.js
    • Javascript can be written using ES6, supporting require() and import statements from npm packages and local JS files
  • CSS files are compiled from the root of src/css/ to css/{filename}.css
    • Import statements are resolved and included in the compiled CSS files
  • For compatibility with Forestry or other CMSs, ensure that compiled CSS and JS files in the hugo/ folder are always committed
  • Environment variables are provided to your templates, which can be accessed in templates as follows: {{ getenv "HUGO_ENV" }}
    • For development pipelines, this is equal to development
    • For production pipelines, this is equal to production
    • For Forestry's in-app preview feature, this is equal to staging

Using with Forestry

This repository comes with basic example content pre-configured to work with Forestry, which you can use to start building your site.

  • Fork this repository to your account
  • Sign up for a Forestry account, and import this repository as an "Existing Site"
  • When prompted for the "Project root", enter hugo


All contributions are welcome! Please see our Code of Conduct & Support guidelines.


This boilerplate project is released under the MIT license.

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