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Configuring a publishing source for your GitHub Pages site

You can configure your GitHub Pages site to publish when changes are pushed to a specific branch, or you can write a GitHub Actions workflow to publish your site.

Who can use this feature?

People with admin or maintainer permissions for a repository can configure a publishing source for a GitHub Pages site.

GitHub Pages is available in public repositories with GitHub Free and GitHub Free for organizations, and in public and private repositories with GitHub Pro, GitHub Team, GitHub Enterprise Cloud, and GitHub Enterprise Server. For more information, see "GitHub’s plans."

GitHub Pages now uses GitHub Actions to execute the Jekyll build. When using a branch as the source of your build, GitHub Actions must be enabled in your repository if you want to use the built-in Jekyll workflow. Alternatively, if GitHub Actions is unavailable or disabled, adding a .nojekyll file to the root of your source branch will bypass the Jekyll build process and deploy the content directly. For more information on enabling GitHub Actions, see "Managing GitHub Actions settings for a repository."

About publishing sources

You can publish your site when changes are pushed to a specific branch, or you can write a GitHub Actions workflow to publish your site.

If you do not need any control over the build process for your site, we recommend that you publish your site when changes are pushed to a specific branch. You can specify which branch and folder to use as your publishing source. The source branch can be any branch in your repository, and the source folder can either be the root of the repository (/) on the source branch or a /docs folder on the source branch. Whenever changes are pushed to the source branch, the changes in the source folder will be published to your GitHub Pages site.

If you want to use a build process other than Jekyll or you do not want a dedicated branch to hold your compiled static files, we recommend that you write a GitHub Actions workflow to publish your site. GitHub provides starter workflows for common publishing scenarios to help you write your workflow.

Warning: GitHub Pages sites are publicly available on the internet, even if the repository for the site is private. If you have sensitive data in your site's repository, you may want to remove the data before publishing. For more information, see "About repositories."

Publishing from a branch

  1. Make sure the branch you want to use as your publishing source already exists in your repository.

  2. On GitHub, navigate to your site's repository.

  3. Under your repository name, click Settings. If you cannot see the "Settings" tab, select the dropdown menu, then click Settings.

    Screenshot of a repository header showing the tabs. The "Settings" tab is highlighted by a dark orange outline.

  4. In the "Code and automation" section of the sidebar, click Pages.

  5. Under "Build and deployment", under "Source", select Deploy from a branch.

  6. Under "Build and deployment", use the branch dropdown menu and select a publishing source.

    Screenshot of Pages settings in a GitHub repository. A menu to select a branch for a publishing source, labeled "None," is outlined in dark orange.

  7. Optionally, use the folder dropdown menu to select a folder for your publishing source.

    Screenshot of Pages settings in a GitHub repository. A menu to select a folder for a publishing source, labeled "/(root)," is outlined in dark orange.

  8. Click Save.

Troubleshooting publishing from a branch

Note: If your repository contains symbolic links, you will need to publish your site using a GitHub Actions workflow. For more information about GitHub Actions, see "GitHub Actions documentation."

Notes:

  • If you are publishing from a branch and your site has not published automatically, make sure someone with admin permissions and a verified email address has pushed to the publishing source.

  • Commits pushed by a GitHub Actions workflow that uses the GITHUB_TOKEN do not trigger a GitHub Pages build.

If you choose the docs folder on any branch as your publishing source, then later remove the /docs folder from that branch in your repository, your site won't build and you'll get a page build error message for a missing /docs folder. For more information, see "Troubleshooting Jekyll build errors for GitHub Pages sites."

Your GitHub Pages site will always be deployed with a GitHub Actions workflow run, even if you've configured your GitHub Pages site to be built using a different CI tool. Most external CI workflows "deploy" to GitHub Pages by committing the build output to the gh-pages branch of the repository, and typically include a .nojekyll file. When this happens, the GitHub Actions workflow will detect the state that the branch does not need a build step, and will execute only the steps necessary to deploy the site to GitHub Pages servers.

To find potential errors with either the build or deployment, you can check the workflow run for your GitHub Pages site by reviewing your repository's workflow runs. For more information, see "Viewing workflow run history." For more information about how to re-run the workflow in case of an error, see "Re-running workflows and jobs."

Publishing with a custom GitHub Actions workflow

To configure your site to publish with GitHub Actions:

  1. On GitHub, navigate to your site's repository.

  2. Under your repository name, click Settings. If you cannot see the "Settings" tab, select the dropdown menu, then click Settings.

    Screenshot of a repository header showing the tabs. The "Settings" tab is highlighted by a dark orange outline.

  3. In the "Code and automation" section of the sidebar, click Pages.

  4. Under "Build and deployment", under "Source", select GitHub Actions.

  5. GitHub will suggest several starter workflows. If you already have a workflow to publish your site, you can skip this step. Otherwise, choose one of the options to create a GitHub Actions workflow. For more information about creating your custom workflow, see "Creating a custom GitHub Actions workflow to publish your site."

    GitHub Pages does not associate a specific workflow to the GitHub Pages settings. However, the GitHub Pages settings will link to the workflow run that most recently deployed your site.

Creating a custom GitHub Actions workflow to publish your site

For more information about GitHub Actions, see "GitHub Actions documentation."

When you configure your site to publish with GitHub Actions, GitHub will suggest starter workflows for common publishing scenarios. The general flow of a workflow is to:

  1. Trigger whenever there is a push to the default branch of the repository or whenever the workflow is run manually from the Actions tab.
  2. Use the actions/checkout action to check out the repository contents.
  3. If required by your site, build any static site files.
  4. Use the actions/upload-pages-artifact action to upload the static files as an artifact.
  5. If the workflow was triggered by a push to the default branch, use the actions/deploy-pages action to deploy the artifact. This step is skipped if the workflow was triggered by a pull request.

The starter workflows use a deployment environment called github-pages. If your repository does not already include an environment called github-pages, the environment will be created automatically. We recommend that you add a deployment protection rule so that only the default branch can deploy to this environment. For more information, see "Using environments for deployment."

Note: A CNAME file in your repository file does not automatically add or remove a custom domain. Instead, you must configure the custom domain through your repository settings or through the API. For more information, see "Managing a custom domain for your GitHub Pages site" and "REST API endpoints for GitHub Pages."

Troubleshooting publishing with a custom GitHub Actions workflow

For information about how to troubleshoot your GitHub Actions workflow, see "About monitoring and troubleshooting."