Include content of a URL


I am quite new to hugo.

I would like to load content of a markdown file that is available on the internet.
I found out here I have to write my own shortcode. I tried it the way they mentioned. But when I use it with a URL it always says

execute of template failed: template: shortcodes/content.html:2:11: executing "shortcodes/content.html" at <readFile>: error calling readFile: file "<myUrl>" does not exist. 

But I am sure it is free to access on the internet.

What can I do?

Mmmmm … I suspect that somewhere you didn’t replace <myUrl> with your real url …

To receive assistance you’ll need to share your shortcode. I don’t know of a method used to get the contents of a remote markdown file and render it via shortcode at build time. There’s normally a step involving getting the remote file and moving it to the local filesystem, where functions like readFile work.

See for more details. The “remote” calls work for JSON and CSV, where Hugo will retrieve and cache the files for processing, described at

sorry, I guess I wasn’t clear enough, I did not add the URL there as I thought this was overfilling the error message, it does show my actual URL at that placeholder


My shortcode is this:

{{$file := .Get 0}}
{{ $file | readFile | markdownify }}

I then use it like this:

{{% content "" %}}

but I get the error:

failed to render shortcode "content": failed to process shortcode: "...../layouts/shortcodes/content.html:2:11": execute of template failed: template: shortcodes/content.html:2:11: executing "shortcodes/content.html" at <readFile>: error calling readFile: file "https:/" does not exist

I did assume that readFile does not take a URL with it, but I could not find another way to make this work and I assumed that somehow this must be possible… :frowning:

@maiki do you have a suggestion for the shortcode that would allow this? If I do getJSON I am not sure what will happen, as this file is not json but markdown… :thinking:

so when I do the following in my shortcode:

{{ getJSON "" | markdownify}}

I get the error:

Building sites … ERROR 2020/08/05 08:31:18 Failed to get JSON resource "": invalid character '#' looking for beginning of value

So this seems just to work for actual json :frowning:

I have a quickfix for my problem now. It feels very hacky, but I did not find another way.

I now have a shortcode looking like this:

{{ $repo := .Get 0 }}
{{ $json := getJSON "" $repo "/readme" }}
{{ $json.content | base64Decode | markdownify }}

Then I call that in my md-file like this:

{{% europace-content "kex-vorgang-import-api" %}}

I am not happy with how it looks, but I am happy that I found something. I will keep this open for a few days as maybe somene has a better solution. Then I will close it :slight_smile:

As you’re discovered, we don’t have a generic “get file via HTTP” template function. readFile is for the local OS. Our only “remote get” functions as of today are getJSON and getCSV.

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Your feelings are valid, of course. I wanted to point out:

  • markdown is for humans to write readable text that can be rendered in different ways and be easy to remember
  • JSON is a data format made for the web

Getting the contents of a remote markdown file via JSON call, I wouldn’t call that hacky, I’d call it, “used as intended”. :slight_smile:

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