Getting Started With Hugo: How to Create a Simple Website

Hugo is a fast, popular, and open-source static site generator that allows you to create a website with little to no coding experience. You can use pre-built themes as a base for your website design, making it easy to focus on populating the site with your content. Hugo is especially suitable for creating blogs, portfolios, or documentation sites.

Why Choose Hugo?

Hugo stands out from other static site generators for a few reasons. First and foremost, it is incredibly fast. In fact, Hugo bills itself as “the world’s fastest framework for building websites.” It can generate most websites within seconds, making it an efficient tool for developers. Additionally, Hugo is easy to install, as it ships as a self-contained executable. This means you can download and use Hugo immediately without having to worry about software dependencies.

Another advantage of Hugo is its templating system. Hugo uses Go‘s built-in templating libraries, which provide powerful and flexible options for creating templates. Templating in Hugo involves adding placeholders for dynamic content insertion within an HTML page. This allows you to easily access and display different elements of your website, such as titles, headers, and content.

Installing Hugo

Before you can start using Hugo, you need to install it on your machine. The installation process varies depending on your operating system.


If you are using a Mac, the recommended installation method is through Homebrew, a popular package manager for macOS. If you don’t have Homebrew installed, you can install it by running the following command in your terminal:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

Once you have Homebrew installed, you can install Hugo by running the following command:

brew install hugo

To verify that Hugo was installed correctly, you can run the following command:

hugo version


For Windows users, you can install Hugo using either the Chocolatey or Scoop package managers. Installing Chocolatey or Scoop requires a few additional steps, so it’s best to refer to their official documentation for detailed instructions.

Once you have either Chocolatey or Scoop installed, you can install Hugo by running one of the following commands (depending on your package manager):

choco install hugo


scoop install hugo

To verify that Hugo was installed correctly, you can run the following command:

hugo version

Creating a New Hugo Project

Once you have Hugo installed, you can create a new Hugo project. Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Open your terminal or command prompt.
  2. Navigate to the directory where you want to create your Hugo project.
  3. Run the following command to create a new Hugo site:
hugo new site my-hugo-site

Replace “my-hugo-site” with the desired name for your project. This command will create a new directory with the same name as your project, which will serve as the root directory for your Hugo site.

Adding a Theme to Your Hugo Project

After creating your Hugo project, you can customize its appearance by adding a theme. Hugo provides a variety of pre-built themes that you can choose from. Here’s how you can add a theme to your Hugo project:

  1. Visit the Hugo Themes website to explore the available themes.
  2. Choose a theme that you like and find the theme’s GitHub repository.
  3. Navigate to the root directory of your Hugo project.
  4. Inside the root directory, run the following command to clone the theme’s repository:
git clone theme-repository-url themes/theme-name

Replace “theme-repository-url” with the URL of the theme’s GitHub repository and “theme-name” with your desired name for the theme.

  1. Once the theme is cloned, open the “config.toml” configuration file in the root directory of your Hugo project.
  2. Uncomment the “theme” line and set the value to the name of the theme you added. It should look like this:
theme = "theme-name"

Replace “theme-name” with the actual name of the theme you added.

Writing Content in Hugo

With your Hugo project set up and a theme added, you can start writing content for your website. Hugo supports various content formats, but we’ll focus on using Markdown, which is a lightweight markup language that’s easy to write and read.

To create a new page or post, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the “content” directory in your Hugo project.
  2. Create a new directory for your content, such as “posts” or “pages”.
  3. Inside the content directory, create a new Markdown file with the desired name and the “.md” extension. For example, “content/posts/”.
  4. Open the Markdown file in a text editor.
  5. Add the necessary metadata, also known as front matter, at the top of the file. Here’s an example:
title: My First Post
date: 2022-01-01

This is the content of my first post.

Replace the title and date with your own information. The front matter allows you to specify additional attributes for your content, such as tags, categories, and custom parameters.

  1. Write the content of your post using Markdown syntax. You can format text, add links and images, create headings, and more using simple Markdown syntax.

Running and Testing Your Hugo Website Locally

Before deploying your Hugo website, it’s a good idea to test it locally to ensure everything is working as expected. Hugo provides a built-in development server that allows you to preview your site in a web browser.

To start the development server, navigate to the root directory of your Hugo project in your terminal or command prompt. Then, run the following command:

hugo server

This command will build your Hugo site and start the development server. You can access your site by visiting “http://localhost:1313” in your web browser. Any changes you make to your content or theme will automatically trigger a rebuild of your site, allowing you to see the updates in real-time.

Hosting Options for Your Hugo Website

Once you are satisfied with your Hugo website, you can deploy it to a hosting provider to make it accessible to the public. There are several hosting options available for Hugo websites, ranging from free options to paid services.

Here are a few popular hosting options for Hugo websites:

  • Netlify: Netlify is a popular hosting platform that offers free hosting for static websites. It provides features like continuous deployment, custom domains, SSL certificates, and form handling.
  • GitHub Pages: If your Hugo project is hosted on GitHub, you can use GitHub Pages to host your website for free. GitHub Pages automatically builds and deploys your site whenever you push changes to your repository.
  • Vercel: Vercel (formerly Zeit Now) is another hosting platform that specializes in static websites. It offers an easy-to-use command-line interface for deploying Hugo sites and provides features like custom domains and automatic SSL certificates.
  • DigitalOcean: DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure provider that offers scalable hosting solutions. You can deploy your Hugo site on a DigitalOcean droplet or use their static site hosting service called App Platform.

These are just a few examples of hosting options for Hugo websites. Depending on your needs and budget, you can choose the option that best suits you.

In conclusion, Hugo is a powerful and efficient static site generator that allows you to create beautiful websites with ease. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can get started with Hugo, add a theme, write content, and test your website locally. With various hosting options available, you can deploy your Hugo site and share it with the world.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hugo is a fast and popular static site generator.
  • It allows you to create websites with little to no coding experience.
  • Hugo is easy to install and use, and it offers powerful templating capabilities.
  • Markdown is the recommended content format for Hugo.
  • You can test your Hugo website locally using the built-in development server.
  • There are various hosting options available for deploying Hugo websites.