Deploy a Hugo Site to Aerobatic with Shippable

Thursday, Apr 13, 2017

This post originally appeared as a guest post on the Shippable blog

Aerobatic is a web publishing service built specifically for static generators and modern web apps. Using the Aerobatic Command Line Interface (CLI), front-end developers can deploy their sites to the Aerobatic Global Content Delivery Network (CDN) in a matter of seconds.

The workflow becomes even more powerful and convenient when Aerobatic is combined with a Continuous Integration (CI) tool such as Shippable. In this scenario, developers can host their static generator site on any version control service, such as GitHub, Bitbucket, or Gitlab, and using Shippable, build the site, and then deploy to Aerobatic.

The advantage of this approach is that you no longer need to build your site on your local machine. In fact, once set up, you can then simply edit your site directly in GitHub using markdown, and the combination of Shippable and Aerobatic will take care of the rest such that a new version of your site will be live in less than a minute.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to use Shippable to build a Hugo static site and deploy it to Aerobatic. Further, we’ll use the Aerobatic password-protect plugin to add a password to the site. This comes in handy if, for example, you’re an agency, and you want to show a preview of the site to your client before opening it up to the world.

Create New Hugo Site

Once you’ve installed Hugo, you can create your new Hugo site and even serve it locally. Also, Hugo has an extensive themes gallery. In the example below, we’re using a theme called hemingway2, but you can, of course, use any theme.

[$] hugo new site shippable
[$] cd shippable
[$] hugo new post/
[$] git clone themes/hemingway2
[$] hugo server --buildDrafts -t hemingway2

Create Aerobatic Site

At this point, we could now simply create and deploy the site to Aerobatic for hosting like so;

[$] hugo
[$] aero create -n shippable
[$] aero deploy -d public

However, we’re going to use GitHub and Shippable to set up our CI workflow. So, go ahead and create the Aerobatic site with aero create -n shippable, but don’t deploy it just yet.

Also, note that in this example, we’ve called our website shippable but you can name it anything you want. When it’s deployed, it will have the URL format of

Create package.json

In the root directory of your site, go ahead and create a package.json file like so:

  "scripts": {
     "build": "hugo --theme=hemingway2 --baseURL 'https://!!baseurl!!' --buildDrafts",
     "deploy": "npm run build && aero deploy -d public"
  "devDependencies": {
      "aerobatic-cli": "*"

Set Up GitHub Repository

Next, create a new repository in GitHub at Once the repository is created, push your code to GitHub:

# initialize new git repository
[$] git init

# set up our .gitignore and README files
[$] echo -e "/public \n/themes \naero-deploy.tar.gz" >> .gitignore
[$] echo "# aeroship" >>

# commit and push code to master branch
[$] git add --all
[$] git commit -m "first commit"
[$] git remote add origin
[$] git push -u origin master

Set Up Shippable

We’ll assume you have a Shippable account and you’ve linked it to your GitHub account. Click the Enable project link and select your newly created Hugo site.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll then also need to add the AEROBATIC_API_KEY to Shippable as an encrypted environment variable. This is a one-time step. You can get your Aerobatic API key by running aero apikey from the command line in the root of your Hugo site and then encrypt it in your Shippable project settings. You’ll include the encrypted variable in your shippable.yml config in the next section.

Shippable Environment Variable

Create shippable.yml

In the root directory of your site, create a shippable.yml file.

language: node_js

  - 6.9.4

  - secure: <your encrypted variable from above goes here>

  cache: true

    - $SHIPPABLE_BUILD_DIR/node_modules
    - wget
    - sudo dpkg -i hugo*.deb
    - git clone themes/hemingway2
    - shippable_retry sudo npm install

    - npm run deploy

As you can see in our YAML file, we’re using the shippable cache_dir_list tag to cache our node_modules directory so the aerobatic-cli does not have to be installed from scratch with each build.

Once you push this new file to GitHub, your site will be automatically built and deployed by Shippable:

Shippable CI Build Log

Grab the address for your Aerobatic site from your Shippable console or via the aero CLI (aero info) and view your newly deployed site in your browser.

To see how easy it is to make changes to your site, edit your draft post in the content/post directory and commit your changes to GitHub. The build and deploy process will repeat and your site will be updated on Aerobatic!

Option - Password Protection

If you decide you’d like to password protect your new Hugo site, you can do so by editing the aerobatic.yml file:

id: <your website id>
  ignore: []
  directory: .
  - name: password-protect
      password: $SITE_PASSWORD
  - name: webpage

Then, create an environment variable called SITE_PASSWORD. As you can see, for this demo, our password value is aeroship.

[$] aero env -n SITE_PASSWORD -v aeroship


At this point, with your build process set up, you can now author new blog posts directly in GitHub, make your commit, everything will be built, and a new version of your site will be deployed immediately.

Edit live in GitHub

And that’s it. Happy Coding!

p.s. The code for this tutorial can be found at