How to Use Hugo: A Beginner's Guide


What is Hugo?

Hugo is a static site generator, which means that it takes your content (in the form of Markdown files) and generates a complete website based on pre-defined templates. Unlike a dynamic content management system like WordPress, Hugo doesn’t rely on a database to store and manage your content. Instead, it compiles your content into static HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files, which can be easily deployed to a web server or a hosting service.

One of the main benefits of using Hugo is its speed. Because it doesn’t rely on a database, it can generate your website quickly, even if you have a large amount of content. It’s also very flexible, thanks to its template system, which allows you to customize every aspect of your website’s design and functionality.


Before we get started, there are a few prerequisites you should have in place:

  • Basic knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • A code editor of your choice
  • A command-line interface (CLI)
  • Hugo installed on your system

If you’re looking for a fast and flexible way to build a website, Hugo is a great choice. This open-source static site generator is built on the Go programming language, and it offers a powerful and easy-to-use platform for creating and managing websites. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of setting up and using Hugo, so you can get started building your own website in no time.

Installation and Setup

To get started with Hugo, you’ll first need to install it on your computer. You can download the latest version of Hugo from the official website (, and installation instructions are provided for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Once you have Hugo installed, you can create a new website using the hugo new site command. This will create a new directory with the basic structure of a Hugo website, including a config.toml file, a content directory, and a themes directory.

Next, you’ll want to choose a theme for your website. Hugo offers a number of built-in themes, which you can browse and download from the official website. You can install a theme using the git clone command, or you can use the hugo mod command to download and manage themes as modules.

Once you’ve installed a theme, you can customize it by editing the config.toml file. This file contains a number of settings that control the behavior and appearance of your website, such as the site title, the base URL, and the theme.

Creating Content

To create content for your Hugo website, you’ll need to create Markdown files in the content directory. Hugo uses Markdown (a lightweight markup language) to format your content, and it provides a number of shortcodes and templates that you can use to add dynamic elements like images, videos, and tables.

To create a new page, you can use the hugo new command, followed by the path and filename of the new Markdown file. For example, hugo new would create a new file called in the content directory.

Once you’ve created your Markdown file, you can add content to it using Markdown syntax. For example, you can add headings, paragraphs, lists, and links using simple text formatting. You can also use Hugo shortcodes to add more complex elements, such as images, videos, and Twitter feeds.

Building and Deploying

Once you’ve created your content, customized your theme, and configured your website settings, you’re ready to build your website. To do this, you’ll use the hugo command, which will generate the static HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files for your website.

Once the build process is complete, you can preview your website using the built-in web server by running the hugo server command. This will launch a local web server that you can use to view your website in a web browser. By default, the web server will run on port 1313, so you can view your website by navigating to http://localhost:1313 in your browser.

To deploy your website to a web server or hosting service, you’ll need to copy the generated files to the appropriate location. This can be done using an FTP client, a file manager, or a command-line tool like rsync. Alternatively, you can use a continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) tool like Netlify or GitHub Pages, which can automatically build and deploy your website whenever you push changes to your code repository.


Hugo is a powerful and flexible platform for building fast and lightweight websites. With its easy-to-use template system, support for Markdown content, and extensive configuration options, it’s a great choice for developers and non-developers alike. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you should be well on your way to creating your own Hugo-powered website in no time.