Generic biz pic

Configuring VuePress to work with Netlify and GitHub

This is published on Netlify at

By Tom Campbell, creator of VuePress Book. Find this code on GitHub.

An Embarrassment of riches

The modern web dev world is amazing. VuePress lets you create beautiful, high-performance static sites with ease. It integrates modern tools like yarn into its workflow, which means that you can use those same tools at Netlify to generate your VuePress site and publish it for free!

VuePress converts Markdown files into HTML pages with free built-in search (of headings levels 1-3), which means that in case you don't like VuePress you can use your same markdown articles in any other CMS that supports Mardkdown, from Ghost to Jekyll to Hugo to WordPress. Restricting the input to text that conforms to Markdown standards has a powerful side effect: it forces you to concentrate on writing and the structure of your articles instead of constantly reworking site parameters or format options.

VuePress prefers a /docs directory

VuePress likes its text to be in a /docs/ directory off root. If you play your cards right it will rewrite the /docs/ part out of URL. This article shows you how to set up your workflow so VuePress, Netlify, and local preview all know what to do in terms of transforming your Markdown files into a cohesive website that renders accurately on your local machine and upon deployment to the real world by Netlify.

Create a repository on GitHub: FOLLOW CAREFULLY!

Now do exactly as I say here unless you're a Git expert.

  • Create a New repository on GitHub and do not initialize it with a README. The only thing you need to enter is the repo name (the description is optional).

Set the base directory to /docs

GitHub lets you publish your repository as a website, automatically converting your Markdown pages to HTML. It works better if you set its master branch to the /docs folder. You can use Jekyll, GitHub's built-in static site generator, to theme the pages.

  • From your repository's main page, choose the Settings tab.

  • Scroll down to the GitHub Pages section.

  • Choose Source, then make sure to check master branch /docs folder.

Setting up your work directories


  • This sample code lives in a directory located at ~/html, but obviously it could be anywhere.

  • In this example the repo name is vuepress-netlify-github. You would replace this with your own repo name.

  • In this example the username is mine (tomcam). You would replace this with your own username.

  • In this example nvim is the name of the editor I use to create text files. Replace this with the name of your own editor.

VuePress requires a fairly deep directory structure.

  • Create a directory
mkdir -p ~/html/vuepress-netlify-github/docs/.vuepress/public

Creating your root file

  • Change to the root directory.
cd ~/html/vuepress-netlify-github
  • Create a file called in the /docs/ directory.
nvim ~/html/vuepress-netlify-github/docs/
  • Give it some contents and save it:
# Welcome

Thank you for visiting.

Once: Run git init

Create the Git repository. You only need to do this once.

git init

Adding to source code control

Now it's time to put under source code control and push it up to GitHub, where Netlify can find it.

git add docs/
git commit -m "Create home page"
  • Let Git and GitHub connect this local repository to the one you created interactively on GitHub.


  • Replace tomcam with your username
  • Replace vuepress-netlify-github with the name of your project.

Once: Establish the repository's location

This step only needs to be done once. It tells Git where you send your code after you've committed it.

git remote add origin

Upload your changes to the remote repository

Now send this code to GitHub.

git push -u origin master

That command will be repeated many times during this session.

Create the file package.json

Create the following package.json but modify it for your own use (directions follow):

  "name": "vuepress-netlify-github",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "Configuring VuePress to work with Netlify and GitHub",
  "main": "index.js",
  "repository": {
    "type": "git",
    "url": "git+"
  "author": "Tom Campbell <>",
  "license": "MIT",
  "private": true,
  "scripts": {                                                                  
    "docs:dev": "vuepress dev docs",
    "docs:build": "vuepress build docs"
  "homepage": "",
  "dependencies": {
    "vuepress": "^1.1.0"
  • Replace vuepress-netlify-github with the name of your repo.

  • Replace Configuring VuePress to work with Netlify and GitHub with a description that matches what your repo does

  • Replace vuepress-netlify-github.git with the name of your repo followed by .git

  • Replace the author information with your own

  • Replace the tomcam and vuepress-netlify-github with your username and repo name, respectively:

  • Save package.json to the root directory of your repo, not the /docs directory.

  • Now commit it to source code:

git add package.json
git commit -m "Add deployment to docs directory"
git push -u origin master

Let's see it working!

Time to run VuePress:

yarn docs:dev

Browse to http://localhost:8080 and take a look at your masterpiece.

Directory paths work as expected

The whole point to this configuration is to store everything in /docs/ instead of the root directory. Let's see how this works in a concrete way.

  • Create a new directory called public in the .vuepress directory:
mkdir -p ~/html/vuepress-netlify-github/docs/.vuepress/public
  • Add an image file to the .vuepress/public directory you just created. You can use this example, which is from Pixabay and is freely usable.

  • Insert the following code at the top of

![Generic biz pic](/wordpress-site-1280.jpg)

Note that /docs/ does not appear anywhere. VuePress rewrites the URLs so that /docs/.vuepress/public looks like it's in root.

Adding your repo to Netlify

Netlify hosts static sites for free, and it has full support for VuePress! Here's how to get your site out to the world for the low low price of absolutely nothing.

I'm assuming here you've signed up for Netlify, which simply requires your GitHub account. Slick.

Depending on how you've configured Netlify you're given a list of all your repos, or you'll have to type in the appropriate one. Select it however you need,

The provided deploy settings work just fine:

Build command vuepress build docs

Publish directory docs/.vuepress/dist

  • Choose Deploy site and watch the magic happen!


Image by kreatikar from Pixabay