Continuos Deployment of a Static Site to GitHub Pages

I often create React or Gatsby apps and usually just opt to use github pages as a host.

Up until now my process for getting the build/ directory to where it needs to be, has been… messy to say the least. Today I’ve gone ahead and automated that once and for all and I’ve found what I think is a nice and easy solution. One thats also easy to setup for new repository.

Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Create the workflow

Go ahead and create a new file at .github/workflows/deploy.yml with the following contents:

name: Deployment
      - master
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
        node-version: [12.x]
      - uses: actions/checkout@v1
      - name: Use node ${{ matrix.node-version }}
        uses: actions/setup-node@v1
          node-version: ${{ matrix.node-version }}
      - name: Install dependencies
        run: npm ci
      - name: Build site
        run: npm run build
      - name: Deploy to gh-pages
        uses: peaceiris/actions-gh-pages@v3
          deploy_key: ${{ secrets.ACTIONS_DEPLOY_KEY }}
          publish_dir: ./build

The gist of this workflow is two fold:

  1. A first part which simply installs dependencies and runs the build script.
  2. A second part which uses a nice third party action Actions GH-Pages workflow which makes deploying to a gh-pages branch really convenient.

The first part works out of the box (assuming you’ve used either create-react-app or gatsby-cli to bootstrap a project and thus have a npm build script), to get the second part working we need to setup a token for deploying. We’ve got a couple of options however I think the best and most convenient one is using ssh deploy keys.

Step 2: Create a new ssh key pair

Very important that you create a new ssh key pair and don’t use one you might already be using if say you’re using ssh with github. The reason behind this is that we’re creating a key pair that our workflow will use.

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "$(git config" -f gh-pages -N ""

Step 3: Add the ssh keys to the repository

After generating the keys go over to your repository settings and add the following.

  • In Deploy Keys, add your public key with the Allow write access.
  • In Secrets, add your private key as ACTIONS_DEPLOY_KEY. (same name used in the workflow)

And We’re Done!

The next time you push to master, this workflow will be triggered and will install, build and then create a new branch for us.

The last optional step would be to play around with the settings for gh-pages e.g. Adding a custom domain / subdomain.

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Made with by Sam Zanca