GitHub Pages

By default, GitHub Pages uses Jekyll (a ruby based static site generator), but you can also publish any generated files provided you have an index.html file in the root of a branch called gh-pages or master. In addition you can publish from a docs directory in your repository. That branch name can also be manually changed in the settings of a repository. To serve a site at <username>.github.io or <organization>.github.io, you must name the repository <username>.github.io or <organization>.github.io (otherwise GitHub will append the repository name to the URL, e.g.: <username>.github.io/<repositoryname>.

We can use any continuous integration (CI) server to build and deploy our site. For example:

In either case, it seems to work best if you use git submodule to include your theme, e.g.:

git submodule add https://github.com/getzola/after-dark.git themes/after-dark

🔗Github Actions

Using Github Actions for the deployment of your Zola-Page on Github-Pages is pretty easy. You basically need three things:

  1. A Personal access token to give the Github Action the permission to push into your repository.
  2. Create the Github Action.
  3. Check the Github Pages section in repository settings.

Let's start with the token.

For creating the token either click on here or go to Settings > Developer Settings > Personal access tokens. Under the Select Scopes section, give it repo permissions and click Generate token. Then copy the token, navigate to your repository and add in the Settings tab the Secret TOKEN and paste your token in it.

Next we need to create the Github Action. Here we can make use of the zola-deploy-action. Go to the Actions tab of your repository, click on set up a workflow yourself to get a blank workflow file. Copy the following script into it and commit it afterwards.

# On every push this script is executed
on: push
name: Build and deploy GH Pages
jobs:
  build:
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    steps:
      - name: checkout
        uses: actions/checkout@v2
      - name: build_and_deploy
        uses: shalzz/zola-deploy-action@v0.13.0
        env:
          # Target branch
          PAGES_BRANCH: gh-pages
          # Provide personal access token
          TOKEN: ${{ secrets.TOKEN }}

This script is pretty simple, because the zola-deploy-action is doing everything for you. You just need to provide some details. For more configuration options check out the README.

By committing the action your first build is triggered. Wait until it's finished, then you should see in your repository a new branch gh-pages with the compiled Zola page in it.

Finally we need to check the Github Pages section of the repository settings. Click on the Settings tab and scroll down to the Github Pages section. Check if the source is set to gh-pages branch and the directory is / (root). You should also see your Github Pages link.

There you can also configure a custom domain and Enforce HTTPS mode. Before configuring a custom domains, please check out this.

If you want to keep the source of your site in a private repository (including, for example, draft posts), adapt the following .github/workflows/main.yml:

on: push
jobs:
  build:
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    if: github.ref != 'refs/heads/main'
    steps:
      - name: 'checkout'
        uses: actions/checkout@v2
      - name: 'build'
        uses: shalzz/zola-deploy-action@v0.13.0
        env:
          PAGES_BRANCH: gh-pages
          BUILD_DIR: .
          TOKEN: ${{ secrets.TOKEN }}
          # BUILD_ONLY: true
  build_and_deploy:
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    if: github.ref == 'refs/heads/main'
    steps:
      - name: 'checkout'
        uses: actions/checkout@v2
      - name: 'build and deploy'
        uses: shalzz/zola-deploy-action@v0.13.0
        env:
          PAGES_BRANCH: master
          BUILD_DIR: .
          TOKEN: ${{ secrets.PUBLIC_TOKEN }}
          REPOSITORY: username/username.github.io

by substituting your username or organization.

🔗Travis CI

Alternatively, you can use Travis CI to automatically publish the site. If you are not using Travis already, you will need to login with the GitHub OAuth and activate Travis for the repository. Don't forget to also check if your repository allows GitHub Pages in its settings.

🔗Ensure that Travis can access your theme

Depending on how you added your theme, Travis may not know how to access it. The best way to ensure that it will have full access to the theme is to use git submodules. When doing this, ensure that you are using the https version of the URL.

$ git submodule add {THEME_URL} themes/{THEME_NAME}

🔗Allowing Travis to push to GitHub

Before pushing anything, Travis needs a Github private access key to make changes to your repository. If you're already logged in to your account, just click here to go to your tokens page. Otherwise, navigate to Settings > Developer Settings > Personal Access Tokens. Generate a new token and give it any description you'd like. Under the "Select Scopes" section, give it repo permissions. Click "Generate token" to finish up.

Your token will now be visible. Copy it into your clipboard and head back to Travis. Once on Travis, click on your project, and navigate to "Settings". Scroll down to "Environment Variables" and input a name of GH_TOKEN with a value of your access token. Make sure that "Display value in build log" is off, and then click add. Now Travis has access to your repository.

🔗Setting up Travis

We're almost done. We just need some scripts in a .travis.yml file to tell Travis what to do.

NOTE: The script below assumes that we're taking the code from the code branch and will generate the HTML to be published in the master branch of the same repository. You're free to use any other branch for the Markdown files but if you want to use <username>.github.io or <org>.github.io, the destination branch MUST be master.

language: minimal

before_script:
  # Download and unzip the zola executable
  # Replace the version numbers in the URL by the version you want to use
  - curl -s -L https://github.com/getzola/zola/releases/download/v0.13.0/zola-v0.13.0-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu.tar.gz | sudo tar xvzf - -C /usr/local/bin

script:
  - zola build

# If you are using a different folder than `public` for the output directory, you will
# need to change the `zola` command and the `ghp-import` path
after_success: |
  [ $TRAVIS_BRANCH = code ] &&
  [ $TRAVIS_PULL_REQUEST = false ] &&
  zola build &&
  sudo pip install ghp-import &&
  ghp-import -n public -b master &&
  git push -fq https://${GH_TOKEN}@github.com/${TRAVIS_REPO_SLUG}.git master

If your site is using a custom domain, you will need to mention it in the ghp-import command: ghp-import -c vaporsoft.net -n public for example.

Credits: The Travis-CI section of this page is based on the article https://vaporsoft.net/publishing-gutenberg-to-github/