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Implementing CD Pipeline for Static Website

aakatev profile image Artem Updated on ・3 min read

One day I decided to create a backup of all my dev.to posts. Programmers are lazy, so I wanted to do as little work as possible, and wanted the final result to look as nice as possible (or at least nicer than Markdown reader on GitHub).

Final requirements for the project were the following:

  • Fully static (cheap/free to host)
  • Markdown support (copy and paste existing material)
  • Continuous deployment (automation is good)
  • Easy to maintain (easy is good)

Based on the requirements, I decided on this simple workflow:

  • The website is build with Hugo
  • The source code is stored in BitBucket
  • The deployment is done via CircleCi
  • The website is deployed and hosted in AWS S3
  • The AWS resources are managed by Terraform

Step 1: Generate a New Hugo Website

This step is straightforward, but also was the most time-consuming. I had to manually copy all of my posts into new Hugo project. If you are following my steps, Hugo has a great Getting Started guide.

Step 2: Create the AWS Resources

I will be using Terraform to simplify this step. If you are not familiar with the tool, I have an introductory level article to get you going. For more detailed introduction, refer to Terraform learning center. Also, you can always create resources by hand.

provider "aws" {
  version = "~> 2.0"
  region  = "us-east-1"

variable "static_bucket_name" {
  type    = string
  default = "aakatev-blog"

resource "aws_s3_bucket" "static_bucket" {
  bucket = var.static_bucket_name
  acl    = "public-read"

  force_destroy = true

  website {
    index_document = "index.html"

  policy = <<-EOT
      "Version": "2012-10-17",
      "Statement": [
              "Sid": "PublicReadGetObject",
              "Effect": "Allow",
              "Principal": "*",
              "Action": [
              "Resource": [

resource "aws_iam_user" "circle_ci_user" {
  name = "circle-ci"

resource "aws_iam_access_key" "circle_ci_access_key" {
  user = aws_iam_user.circle_ci_user.name

resource "aws_iam_user_policy" "circle_ci_policy" {
  name = "circle-ci-policy"
  user = aws_iam_user.circle_ci_user.name

  policy = <<-EOT
      "Version": "2012-10-17",
      "Statement": [
              "Effect": "Allow",
              "Action": "s3:*",
              "Resource": [

output "circle_ci_access_key" {
  value = aws_iam_access_key.circle_ci_access_key.id

output "circle_ci_access_key_secret" {
  value = aws_iam_access_key.circle_ci_access_key.secret

If everything went well, your output for this step should look like this:

Apply complete! Resources: 4 added, 0 changed, 0 destroyed.


circle_ci_access_key = SOME_AWS_KEY_ID
circle_ci_access_key_secret = SOME_AWS_KEY_SECRET

These keys will need to be exported as environmental variables during CircleCI build.

Terraform will store the keys in its state as a plaintext. You are responsible for keeping their secrecy.

Step 3: Store the Source Code

I will be using BitBucket as my version control, but GitHub will do the trick too. AFAIK there are no differences in CircleCI integration with both.

Create a file .circleci/config.yml with the following content:

version: 2
      - image: cibuilds/hugo:0.73
    working_directory: /home/circleci/hugo
      HUGO_DIR: /home/circleci/hugo
      S3_BUCKET: aakatev-blog
      - checkout
      - run: git submodule sync && git submodule update --init
      - run:
          name: install AWS CLI (first install pip, the Python package manager)
          command: |
            sudo apt install python-pip
            pip install awscli
      - run: HUGO_ENV=production hugo -v -s $HUGO_DIR

      - run:
          name: test our generated HTML files
          command: |
            htmlproofer $HUGO_DIR/public --allow-hash-href --check-html \
            --empty-alt-ignore --disable-external
      - deploy:
          name: deploy to AWS
          command: |
            if [ "${CIRCLE_BRANCH}" = "master" ]; then
              aws s3 sync $HUGO_DIR/public \
              s3://$S3_BUCKET/ --delete
              echo "Not master branch, dry run only"

Step 4: Configure the CircleCI pipeline

Besides config.yml CircleCI needs access keys, in order to have administrator access to the S3 bucket. Visit your Project Settings section:

CircleCI configuration

For more information refer to CircleCI docs on environmental variables.

Step 5: Enjoy the Result

At this point, the website is available for public, and you can view mine here.

In case, you followed, and want to see yours, the pattern for S3 domains is http://<bucket_name>.s3-website-<region>-<zone>.amazonaws.com.

Since my website is a backup, I didn't really care about domain name, nor some other features a real blog should have. That said, it would be a logical future additions to the project.

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I like to code, and I like to write about code https://artem.lol


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