Hugo + Digital Ocean + Gitlab + AWS

Hi guys! I’m trying to start my own blog but I want to do it using a static site generator instead of Word Press (I know it’s easier but I want to try this out and learn along the way!).

I know a little bit of linux cmd from some of my intro college courses but otherwise I’m very lost. Where do I even start?

I installed Ubuntu 16.04.1 on the digital ocean droplet, and then installed hugo, go, and git on the digital ocean droplet.

I have no clue how gitlab works or how I can actually deploy the site so I can visit it at the IP/DNS. I also need to setup AWS CDN.

Any sort of help would be super appreciated. I’m having a lot of fun so far!

It will be hard to start from the beginning with that selection of tools from a support forum. I’d recommend either starting with desktop Hugo and getting used to that first, and / or finding tutorials for each one (plus you’d want to know why you’re using each one)

@Abby I agree that a lot of the ask is outside the scope of this forum. I don’t want to knock your current approach, but it might be best to learn Hugo and figure how you’re going to keep it in source control. Then source all the deployment and syncing to a third party. I’ve deployed sites to S3 using Hugo, Github, and Wercker, but I think setting up your site with Netlify is going to reduce your headaches considerably. It’s really feature-rich platform and if you open source the site, they give you an almost-unheard-of amount of free stuff.

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DigitalOcean is pretty cool, but if you don’t want to mess around with Linux administration because you want to focus on blog content creation. I’d give CloudWays a try. Just one drawback they recently raised their prices for the small DigitalOcean droplets from $5 per month to $7

Just my few cents… All you need is:

  1. hugo and markdown/HTML knowledge for blog writing and generation
  2. Knowing how to use git
  3. Gitlab Pages setup for hosting your blog on for free

Here are the optional steps:

[4]. CSS knowledge (and may be Javascript) to tweak your blog theme to your liking
[5]. Buy a custom domain if you want your domain to be FOO.BAR. You only need to buy the domain and have it point to your in step 3.

I had written a not too comprehensive post on this topic.


I appreciate all of the help. I’ve spent some time learning and understand how hugo works.

Currently I’m trying to pick a theme, but the ones I like don’t have thumbnails. Is it easy to add this myself? I have looked around but can’t find anything.

Thanks again! :slightly_smiling:

@Abby you’d have to expand on what you mean by “thumbnails.” Hugo does not handle image resizing or managing an asset pipeline, but this can be taken care of pretty easily using JS build tools. As far as styling, it would depend on the theme, but my first thought would be that it would be up to you to create the corresponding CSS, etc.

@ITSecMedia, I still see DO being $5/month

Interesting point, they send me that Email.

DigitalOcean DO 512 MB
Old Price $5 - new price $7


Over the last couple of years, we’ve evolved Cloudways from a very basic cloud console that worked only on Amazon Web Services to a full-fledged cloud platform service having deployment capabilities over five leading infrastructure providers, packed with 150+ cutting-edge features.

To more accurately reflect the value users get from Cloudways and to make room for some great new features coming your way, Cloudways is adjusting its pricing effective from 1st of November, 2016.

As our valued customers, we wanted to keep you updated about the pricing adjustments. Here are the new plans:

@Abby, you could try either github/gitlab / self hosting.

Assuming, the writing of the blog post will be on your local machine.

Links from documentation on hugo site:

If you have a local server with development etc., where you version your blog. You need a simple nginx setup, you can transfer the public directory from the local server which hugo generates to target machine (Digital Ocean) via scp/rsync. There is a little bit of devops you might want to do in case you have your own VPS.


  1. ftp without the need for managing a server like GoDaddy or some other provider.
  2. S3 (in case you already have an AWS account to manage other things)
  3. Add a CDN only if you are expecting lots of traffic. You could try using CloudFlare to avoid charges from AWS CDN.

Image resizing, you should try out (there is a free version with limited number of resizes) and for the contact form try

DigitalOcean pricing has never changed since the start for $5 droplets. May be Cloudways is charging on top of DigitalOcean for “maintenance”

I think they have so many $5 customers that they see a high profit potential.
It’s an easy calculation.
Cheaper prices for the few customers who own big servers.
But a huge amount of customers who pay additional 2$ in future.

Hoo now I see you, we mixed up things.

CloudWays raised prices - and they utilize DigitalOcean droplets.

DO servers prices still the same, but CW is getting more expensive.

CloudWays should offer Hugo ready servers so that you can just commit and git deploy and Hugo renders on the server itself. Currently I do SFTP deployment of the public folder.

I think the scope for DigitalOcean/CloudWays discussion is beyond the limits of this forum :slightly_smiling:

S3 would be cheaper. Will try to explore Cloudways. Hope @Abby has got his answer from the discussion.

@ITSecMedia @sairam @Abby Of course, I have no idea about your individual requirements, but if you are open-sourcing your project and are worried about things like performance, CD, CDN, costs, etc, you should really check out netflify: if your project is open source, you get get the usual $50/month plan for free, including SSL, etc. Worth a gander if you haven’t already checked it out: