Hugo modules

Table of Contents

Hugo modules has been available in Hugo since version 0.56. There is hard to find a step by step tutorial that make it easy to get up and running with Hugo modules. I made this tutorial for me and otherFor the first time I have been able to use the Hugo modules feature. Thanks to @chreliot and his post, I finally figured out how to use it. I’m not smart enough to figure it out out through the documentation that are available so far.

For other Hugo modules noobs, that are fighting with Hugo modules.

The tutorial grasps the core functionality of Hugo modules with examples that you can follow, to get an example Hugo site This is a step by step guide to help you to get up and running with Hugo modules.

prerequisite to this tutorial is knowledge abut Hugo, Git and GitHub.

Part 1. Prepare a Hugo site to test out Hugo modules

Install latest version of go on your computer

Make sure that you have installed a recent version of go on your computer. Here is the link to the go install. Follow the instructions carefully. The hugo mod commands do not work without doing this. If you use the hugo mod commands, without installing go, nothing happens. You don’t get an error message as feedback.

Prepare a test site to implement a theme as a Hugo module

The theme hugo-xmin are used as an example. (yes that`s exactly the same as @chreliot used in his post)

First you have to prepare a Hugo site to test out the hugo-xmin theme as a Hugo module

  1. Download the example site for the hugo-xmin theme: You can download the zip file here
  2. Extract the folder exampleSite to your harddrive
  3. Rename exampleSite to hugo-test-modules

Later on, you will add the hugo-xmin theme as a Hugo module.

Part 2. Add a theme as a Hugo module

There are different ways to use Hugo modules to add a theme to your Hugo site. This is one of them.

When you test your site in this stadium. You get an error message.

hugo serve

Error: module "hugo-xmin" not found; ...

That’s because no theme is added to the Hugo site.

For now it has only been bureaucracy. The fun part is starting now:

  1. Comment out or delete the variable theme in config.toml file

    # theme = "hugo-xmin

    We no longer need this variable since we make use of Hugo modules (It is possible to use the theme variable to mount modules. For simplicity you use the new preferred method).

  2. Add this to your config.toml file to specify a theme as Hugo module:

       path = ""

    You don’t have to specify the folder to mount to, neither that it is a theme you are mounting. By default Hugo modules behave as it is a theme. Hugo mounts in the Hugo theme folder.

  3. Initialize project as Hugo module. Go to CLI and type in this command in your Hugo site:

    hugo mod init ugly-dummy

    YES IT WAS ugly-dummy (It really doesn’t mater what the parameter is to the hugo mod init command, but there are some restrictions on “.”, “/”, etc.). I think it’s more appropriate to name the module as your Hugo site name. In this case hugo-test-modules. but ugly-dummy is also fine.

    The command could output something like this:
    go: creating new go.mod: module ugly-dummy
    information: a new file go.mod was created

  4. Test your site:

    hugo serve

    Your site should look exactly the same as this site
    information: a new file go.sum was created

  5. Now its time to upload your finished site to GitHub. Create a GitHub Repo and name it hugo-test-modules
    Git commands to upload repo:

    git init
    git add -A && git commit -m "Initial Commit"
    git remote add origin< your username >/hugo-test-modules.git
    git push -u origin master
  6. When you now clone your newly updated repo to your machine, there is no need for git clone --recursive. It’s just plug and play. Just do a regular git clone

    git clone< your username >/hugo-test-modules.git

That was all “happy moduling”

Part 3. Add content as a Hugo module

Adding content as a module, that is what you really, really, really whant

Your site is up and running with a Hugo module, the theme hugo-xmin . Now lets add some markdown files to your content. You can mount folders with markdown files from any git repo(It’s also possible to mount folders from your hard drive). The repo you mount, don’t has to be a Hugo repo. You are going to mount a folder from this repo. Check it out and be familiar with it. The repo contains a folder testing-hugo-modules, that could be mounted. The folder contains two files:

  • testing-hugo-modules/
  • testing-hugo-modules/

Here is the configuration that you could drop in your config.toml file. Add it just under the theme stuff, under [module] section:

    path = ""
    disabled = false

    source = "testing-hugo-modules"
    target = "content/new-stuff"
  • path describe the repo you mount content from
  • source describe witch folder(from root) in mounted repo you could append to your Hugo site (this link brings you inside the actual folder)
  • target describe witch folder(from root) in your Hugo site the mount could appear (content/new-stuff)

After updating config.toml file there is nothing more to do. It’s time to test your site.

hugo serve

Now you can see your two new posts at the bottom of the start page (http://localhost:1313/)

  • 2019/09/12 file 1 for testing Hugo modules for content
  • 2019/09/12 file 2 for testing Hugo modules for content

Click on one of the posts. Check out the URL address

Do you recognize new-stuff from your config.toml file. That was your target for your mounting point(content/new-stuff)

Upload your site to GitHub with two modules added.

git add -A && git commit -m "Added Hugo module for content"
git push -u origin master

Try to clone your Hugo site:

git clone< your username >/hugo-test-modules.git

Your site could work right out of the box:

hugo serve

Updating modules.

When your Hugo site is up and running and there has been changes inn the repo’s witch your modules are connected to. You have to take action to get these changes in your site. When you do the hugo mod init command, it represent a snapshot in time. Its like git submodules, you have to take action to update. In our example there can bee changes in:


The quick and dirty way to get the newest version of all your connected modules is to do this:

# Do this in your site root folder
rm go.* # Removes the go.mod and go.sum file
hugo mod init uglydumy # Init modules to newest version.

In many cases there is not appropriate to download latest version of all modules. For example you don’t always want to update to the newest version of your Hugo theme. There is also possible to connect to a specific version of the connected GitHub repo. If you want to do other thing than “quick and dirty” then head over to the Hugo documentation.

You can use Hugo modules to mount any kind of resources to your Hugo site.

You can mount layouts like partials shortcodes resources like JS libraries. Etc. Use your Imagination.

That was all, really really really “happy moduling”

If you have some comments or criticism please let me know in the comments below.

An older version of this post is published on the Hugo community