Hugo on Netlify With WSL(2)

Setting Up Your WSL/WSL2 Environment


Install WSL(2) for Windows 10

  1. Create a ~/.profile that adds a number of user-specific directories to your PATH. This makes it easier to upgrade some software. .profile

    # ~/.profile: executed by the command interpreter for login shells.
    # This file is not read by bash(1), if ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bash_login
    # exists.
    # see /usr/share/doc/bash/examples/startup-files for examples.
    # the files are located in the bash-doc package.
    # the default umask is set in /etc/profile; for setting the umask
    # for ssh logins, install and configure the libpam-umask package.
    #umask 022
    # if running bash
    if [ -n "$BASH_VERSION" ]; then
        # include .bashrc if it exists
        if [ -f "$HOME/.bashrc" ]; then
            . "$HOME/.bashrc"
    # set PATH so it includes user's npm-global/bin if it exists
    if [ -r "$HOME/.npmrc" ]; then
        if [ -d "$(npm bin -g 2>/dev/null)" ]; then
            PATH="$(npm bin -g 2>/dev/null):$PATH"
    # set PATH so it includes system newer Go, if it exists
    if [ -d "/usr/local/go/bin" ]; then
    # set PATH so it includes user Go bin, if it exists
    if [ -d "$HOME/go/bin" ]; then
    # set PATH so it includes user's private bin if it exists
    if [ -d "$HOME/bin" ] ; then
    # set PATH so it includes user's private bin if it exists
    if [ -d "$HOME/.local/bin" ] ; then
  2. Create an ~/.npmrc file that makes your NPM globally installed packages local to your user (to avoid require sudo to root to install global NPM packages). .npmrc

    prefix = /home/daniel/npm-global
  3. Install NodeSource’s NodeJS package

  4. sudo apt install git-core git-lfs

  5. Make sure Git for Windows is installed and usable by your WIndows user.

  6. Create a ~/.gitconfig such as the following (replacing name and email with your public name and email on GitHub or similar service). The commented sections may be uncommented if you are using Visual Studio Code: .gitconfig

        helper = /mnt/c/Program\\ Files/Git/mingw64/libexec/git-core/git-credential-manager-core.exe
        fileMode = true
        eol = lf
        autocrlf = false
    #    editor = code --wait
        name = Your Name
        email =
        ff = only
    [filter "lfs"]
        required = true
        clean = git-lfs clean -- %f
        smudge = git-lfs smudge -- %f
        process = git-lfs filter-process
    #    tool = vscode
    #[difftool "vscode"]
    #    cmd = code --wait --diff $LOCAL $REMOTE
    #    tool = vscode
    #    cmd = code --wait $MERGED
  7. If applicable to you, configure Visual Studio Code to for use with WSL(2),

  8. If using Windows Terminal and the Ubuntu-20.04 distribution, then in Windows Terminal’s Settings, set the startup directory to \\wsl$\Ubuntu-20.04\home\USERNAME (where USERNAME is your WSL(2) username, created during installation, above). For doing development using the WSL2 filesystem rather than the native Windows filesystem is preferred because when using Linux-native applications, accessing the WSL2 filesystem is much faster than accessing a Windows native filesystem.

For Hugo Users

  1. Download and install the latest version of Go for your distribution
    1. E.g. Download, then sudo rm -rf /usr/local/go && sudo tar -C /usr/local -xzf go1.17.2.linux-amd64.tar.gz
    2. Download the latest version of Hugo extended for your distribution and install for your distribution.
    3. For Debian/Ubuntu distributions I recommend Downloading the latest .deb for Hugo extended for your CPU architecture and using sudo dpkg -i <package-name>.deb

For Netlify Users

  1. Install NodeJS (for NPM) as described above.
  2. npm install netlify-cli -g


  • Create ~/bin and ~/local/bin for adding ad-hoc binaries (programs) for your WSL(2) user
  • ln -s /mnt/c/Users/WINDOWS_USERNAME ~/.wsl for easy access to the %USERPROFILE% directory of your Windows user (this is your Windows ‘home’ folder)

Using Hugo with Netlify CLI with WSL/WSL2

  • The easiest way for building Hugo modules is to use a ‘starter’ repo such as [DFD Hugo Module Starter]( [AUTHOR’s NOTE: The module starter repository has been removed] and follow the instructions in Hugo Module Development With Netlify.
  • If you are building a site the steps are similar but you need to remove the references to exampleSite because the site is the project.

A Summary of the Steps Involved for Starting from Scratch

Assuming you have setup such as the above:

  1. hugo new site name-of-site

  2. Create an empty GitHub repo for your new site.

  3. Using git within WSL (not Git for Windows but a version of git you have installed in WSL, e.g. using sudo apt install git-core git-lfs), initialize the repo:

    1. cd name-of-site
    2. git init
    3. git branch -M main
  4. Add a theme.

  5. Edit the config.toml for the site as needed, including any steps required by the theme you have chosen to use.

  6. Add scripts for use with netlify.toml _scripts/hugo_build

    set -o pipefail
    # Should only occur using Netlify CLI
    if [ -z "HUGO_BUILD_URL" ]
    ( set -o pipefail && cd themes/hugo-geekdoc && npm install --no-save && npx gulp default )
    HUGO_MINIFY_TDEWOLFF_HTML_KEEPCOMMENTS=true HUGO_ENABLEMISSINGTRANSLATIONPLACEHOLDERS=true hugo ${HUGO_BUILD_URL:+-b $HUGO_BUILD_URL} && grep -inorE "<\!-- raw HTML omitted -->|ZgotmplZ|hahahugo|\[i18n\]" public/; RET="$?"
    if [ "$RET" != "0" ]
        hugo --gc ${HUGO_BUILD_URL:+-b $HUGO_BUILD_URL} --cleanDestinationDir "$@"; RET=$?
        cd ..
    exit "$RET"


    ( set -o pipefail && cd themes/hugo-geekdoc && npm install --no-save && npx gulp default )
    HUGO_MINIFY_TDEWOLFF_HTML_KEEPCOMMENTS=true HUGO_ENABLEMISSINGTRANSLATIONPLACEHOLDERS=true hugo ${HUGO_BUILD_URL:+-b $HUGO_BUILD_URL} && grep -inorE "<\!-- raw HTML omitted -->|ZgotmplZ|hahahugo|\[i18n\]" public/; RET="$?"
    if [ "$RET" != "0" ]
        hugo server --poll 700ms -b http://localhost:8888/ -w "$@"
        cd ..
    exit 0
  7. Add an appropriate netlify.toml (note that some suggested plugins are shown as commented sections; using them does require some additional steps, not discussed here):

      publish = "public"
      command = "hugo"
      HUGO_VERSION = "0.89.0"
      TZ = "America/Toronto"
      # GIT_LFS_ENABLED = "1"
      # GIT_LFS_FETCH_INCLUDE = "*.jpg,*.png,*.jpeg,*.svg,*.gif,*.pdf,*.mp4,*.bmp,*.webp,*.ico"
      command = "_scripts/hugo-build \"$URL\""
      command = "_scripts/hugo-build \"$DEPLOY_PRIME_URL\""
      command = "_scripts/hugo-build \"$DEPLOY_PRIME_URL\""
      command = "_scripts/hugo-serve"
      targetPort = 1313
      framework = "#custom"
    #  package = "netlify-plugin-hugo-cache-resources"
    #  package = "netlify-plugin-html-validate"
    #  package = "netlify-plugin-checklinks"
    #    [plugins.inputs]
    #      checkExternal = false
    #      skipPatterns = [ "<link rel=\"alternate\" type=\"application/rss+xml\"", "<meta http-equiv=\"refresh\" content=\"0; url=", "<meta property=\"og:url\" content=\"", "<meta property=\"og:image\" content=\"" ]
    #  package = "netlify-plugin-minify-html"
    #    [plugins.inputs.minifierOptions]
    #    collapseBooleanAttributes = true
    #    decodeEntities = true
    #    preserveLineBreaks = true
    #    removeAttributeQuotes = false
    #    removeComments = true
    #    removeEmptyAttributes = true
    #    removeOptionalTags = false
    #    removeRedundantAttributes = true
    #    removeScriptTypeAttributes = true
    #    removeTypeLinkTypeAttributes = true
    #    useShortDocType = false
  8. Add some content

  9. Use netlify dev to preview the site (and do a test build using the Hugo you installed in your WSL environment). Make sure the site skeleton works.

  10. git add .

  11. git commit

  12. git remote add origin

  13. git push origin --set-upstream main

  14. Your code should now be in GitHub.

  15. Connect repo with Netlify.

  16. Add content now and over time.

  17. As you do, you can now use netlify build --context=deploy-preview and netlify build --context=production to verify builds will succeed without using build minutes until you have fixed any errors and get success builds using those commands.