Academic Hugo Theme via Blogdown: Few more details and deployment (part 2)

This is in continuation to a post I wrote - Academic Hugo Theme via Blogdown: Where to start?

After setting up a basic website with About, Skills and Experience pages. You are now ready to deploy it and implement some cool customization!


I am deploying my site, the one you are reading this post on :), on Netlify and then using a free subdomain with

What’s the difference?

Generally you need to buy a domain to host web pages, but with Netlify you can use their web hosting service, with their domain and be live on the internet! It is free, however you can choose your own subdomain.

Setting up on Netlify is super easy -

  • log in to Netlify via GitHub and select the repository where you have all the website files
    • Netlify deployment works on both private and public repositories
  • Set up the HUGO_VERSION accordingly. Check the version you are using in Rstudio via blogdown::hugo_version() command.

  • Once you deploy, Netlify will assign a random subdomain ending in or, for instance I got

  • The IMPORTANT bit, after you have deployed your website on Netlify, change the baseurl parameter in config.toml

  • You can change the subdomain and keep the Or you can apply for a domain name.
    • Just open an issue on their GitHub repository, and fill their template form. They are quick and will get back to you soon!

Now, everytime you commit to GitHub, Netlify will trigger a deploy. However, you can change this automatic trigger. ALSO, remember to run blogdown::build_site() before each commit, as this updates the public folder, which is used by Netlify to publish.

For step by step instructions to Netlify, check this post here

Psst.. what do you mean by domain and subdomain

Psst.. what do you mean by domain and subdomain


To redirect all HTTP traffic to HTTPs, use a redirects file. I placed a file called _redirects here -

  |=== _redirects 

It contains this -* 301!

Also explained here

Now moving on to the cool stuff with customization!😎



A favicon is a website icon or a tab icon on the left hand side in a tab. For example mine is a sun :). To get one for yourself, just select favicon image of your choice and place it here -

  |=== images 
    |=== filename.png

Color and Fonts

Academic template is really good and it already comes with great inbuilt themes like - Apogee, Minimal, Forest, Rose etc. Themes can be specified here -

  |=== params.toml 

with the variable theme

If you want to create your own color and font template, use any of the the existing themes and open the file here -

  |=== hugo-academic 
    |=== data
      |=== themes 

Each theme has its own .toml file.

The colors are specified as HTML codes for Primary, Menu sections and so on. I used this to pick colors!

Towards the end of the .toml file, there will be a font parameter. Font .toml files are present here -

  |=== hugo-academic 
    |=== data
      |=== fonts 

I used Google fonts and you can specify them as they appear in their web address. Check out other .toml files to get a hang of it!

As always Rinse and Repeat Or restart the R session and blogdown::build_site().

Arshi Arora
Arshi Arora
Research Biostatistician

New Yorker from Jaipur, India. Cancer Genomics, pottery and biking.