Deploying a VuePress site to Netlify

Netlify is a high-quality web hosting provider and CDN that lets you deploy static sites for free. Netlify also understands modern build processes such as NPM, yarn and so on. This makes it a perfect complement to VuePress.

This section shows you how to create a site using VuePress and deploy it using GitHub and Netlify.

Download and install Git

Create a GitHub repository

  • If you haven't already done so, create a free account in GitHub.

Create a repository named vpdemo1 like this:

  • Choose New.

The Create New Repository page appears.

  • Under Repository Name, enter the name vpdemo1. You can use any name for the repo. This is just the name we're using for the demo.

  • On your local machine, create a directory named vpdemo1 from the command line and change to that directory.

One time only: configure Git if necessary

Git needs to know your login ID for the repository. You only need to do this once if you've never run Git before. Skip it if you've created repos with Git previously.

  • Run these commands. Replace yourname@example.com with your GitHub email address and youruserid with your GitHub login ID.
git config --global user.email yourname@example.com
git config --global user.name youruserid

Create a minimal VuePress site

This example shows you end-to-end deployment and doesn't require a complex project. Let's create the smallest valid VuePress site.

  • Create a text file named README.md with the following contents:

# First VuePress site

hello, world.

Create a repository for your site

The magic starts here. You're going to create a proper Git repository and put it up on GitHub.

Initialize the repository

  • First, initialize an empty source code control repository in Git format:
git init

This creates a hidden directory named .git that will contain all versions of the files you create (technically, just changes to the files).

Add the README.md file

GitHub likes your repositories to have a file named README.md in the root directory. It is no accident that VuePress does too. Add that file to the repository:

git add README.md

Commit the README.md file

Changes to a file aren't part of the current version until you do a commit:

  • Use git commit to update the repository with an explanatory message:
git commit -m "Smallest valid  Vuepress site"

You get feedback that looks roughly like this:

[master (root-commit) 99c62f2] Simple but complete Vuepress site
1 file changed, 3 insertions(+)
 create mode 100644 README.md

Push to GitHub

  • Replace youruserid with your GitHub user ID.
git remote add origin git@github.com:youruserid/vpdemo1

Just once:

  • Again, replace youruserid with your GitHub user ID.
git remote set-url origin https://github.com/tomcam/vpdemo1.git

Make your project a Node module

VuePress requires npm and turning your repository into a Node module means Netlify can use automated build tools to run VuePress automatically. Creating package.json is the key.

Here's the quickest way to create package.json:

  • Run npm init at the command line:
npm init --force

The --force option applies sensible defaults for this demo. Without it, npm will ask you a bunch questions that aren't relevant here.

NPM displays the package.json it created:

pm WARN using --force I sure hope you know what you are doing.
Wrote to C:\Users\tom\code\vue\vuepress\vpdemo1\package.json:


{
  "name": "vpdemo1",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "Fascinating sentence",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
  },
  "repository": {
    "type": "git",
    "url": "git+https://github.com/tomcam/vpdemo1.git"
  },
  "keywords": [],
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC",
  "bugs": {
    "url": "https://github.com/tomcam/vpdemo1/issues"
  },
  "homepage": "https://github.com/tomcam/vpdemo1#readme"
}

Update package.json to reflect VuePress usage

This package.json doesn't know about VuePress. So:

  • Load package.json into a text editor.

  • Find the scripts declaration:

"scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
  }
  • Update by adding a comma after exit 1" and the docs:build line as shown:


 


"scripts": {
  "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1",
  "docs:build": "vuepress build"
  }
  • Add the dependencies object after homepage, again including the comma:

 
 
 

 "homepage": "https://github.com/tomcam/vpdemo1#readme",
 "dependencies": {
    "vuepress": "^0.12.0"
 }

Here the version of VuePress is 0.12.0 but your version of VuePress will probably be different.

  • Find out what version of Vuepress you're using with this command line:
vuepress -V
  • If it's different from the example replace the version number in your package.json file.

The completed package.json is as shown:

{
  "name": "vpdemo1",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "Fascinating sentence",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1",
	"docs:build": "vuepress build"
  },
  "repository": {
    "type": "git",
    "url": "git+https://github.com/tomcam/vpdemo1.git"
  },
  "keywords": [],
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC",
  "bugs": {
    "url": "https://github.com/tomcam/vpdemo1/issues"
  },
  "homepage": "https://github.com/tomcam/vpdemo1#readme",
  "dependencies": {
    "vuepress": "^0.12.0"
  }
}

You don't need to do this again.

Add package.json to the repository

Don't forget to add package.json to the repository, since that's where Netlify looks to learn how your project is built.

git add package.json
git commit -m "package.json for netlify/npm build settings"
git push -u origin master

Create and deploy your site from Netlify

The final step is to provision a site from Netlify and deploy it. The result will be your VuePress site on a free Netlify installation. It has HTTPS support and you can even point a domain name to it, all free.

It's truly free and not a timed demo. It doesn't require a credit card, just an email address and a GitHub account. (You're not limited to GitHub but that's what we're using in this example.)

The Create a site page appears.

  • Under Continuous Deployment, choose GitHub.

You are probably logged into GitHub already but if you're not, a GitHub login page appears.

  • Log into GitHub if you're asked.

A list of your GitHub repositories appears.

  • Choose the vpdemo1 repo

Netlify's Deploy settings page appears.

Leave Branch to deploy set to master.

  • Under Basic build settings, enter the following for Build command:
npm run docs:build
  • For Publish directory, enter
.vuepress/dist

The .vuepress/dist directory is where VuePress sends the generated static site files.

And now the grand finale!

  • Choose Deploy site

The Deploy log with a long list of actions:

9:54:00 PM: Build ready to start
9:54:01 PM: Fetching cached dependencies
9:54:02 PM: Failed to fetch cache, continuing with build
9:54:02 PM: ...

9:54:07 AM: Build script success
9:54:07 AM: Starting to deploy site from '.vuepress/dist'
9:54:07 AM: Starting post processing
9:54:07 AM: Post processing done
9:54:07 AM: Site is live
9:54:07 AM: Finished processing build request in 43.795358607s

Upon success a few moments later you'll be shown page with inforation about your new site. It's given some kind of crazy URL like https://silly-alien-c1776.netlify.com/.

Click the URL and gaze upon the greatness of your work!