The directory structure of a Hugo web site—or more precisely, of the source files containing its content and templates—provide most of the configuration information that Hugo needs. Therefore, in essence, many web sites wouldn’t actually need a configuration file. This is because Hugo is designed to recognize certain typical usage patterns (and it expects them, by default).

Nevertheless, Hugo does search for a configuration file bearing a particular name in the root of your web site’s source directory. First, it looks for a ./config.toml file. If that’s not present, it will seek a ./config.yaml file, followed by a ./config.json file.

In this config file for your web site, you can include precise directions to Hugo regarding how it should render your site, as well as define its menus, and set various other site-wide parameters.

Another way that web site configuration can be accomplished is through operating system environment variables. For instance, the following command will work on Unix-like systems—it sets a web site’s title:

$ env HUGO_TITLE="Some Title" hugo

(Note: all such environment variable names must be prefixed with HUGO_.)

Examples

Following is a typical example of a YAML configuration file. Three periods end the document:

---
baseurl: "http://yoursite.example.com/"
...

Following is an example TOML configuration file with some default values. The values under [params] will populate the .Site.Params variable for use in templates:

contentdir = "content"
layoutdir = "layouts"
publishdir = "public"
builddrafts = false
baseurl = "http://yoursite.example.com/"
canonifyurls = true

[taxonomies]
  category = "categories"
  tag = "tags"

[params]
  description = "Tesla's Awesome Hugo Site"
  author = "Nikola Tesla"

Here is a YAML configuration file which sets a few more options:

---
baseurl: "http://yoursite.example.com/"
title: "Yoyodyne Widget Blogging"
footnotereturnlinkcontents: "↩"
permalinks:
  post: /:year/:month/:title/
params:
  Subtitle: "Spinning the cogs in the widgets"
  AuthorName: "John Doe"
  GitHubUser: "spf13"
  ListOfFoo:
    - "foo1"
    - "foo2"
  SidebarRecentLimit: 5
...

Configuration variables

Following is a list of Hugo-defined variables you can configure, along with their current, default values:

---
archetypedir:               "archetype"
# hostname (and path) to the root, e.g. http://spf13.com/
baseURL:                    ""
# include content marked as draft
buildDrafts:                false
# include content with publishdate in the future
buildFuture:                false
# enable this to make all relative URLs relative to content root. Note that this does not affect absolute URLs.
relativeURLs:               false
canonifyURLs:               false
# config file (default is path/config.yaml|json|toml)
config:                     "config.toml"
contentdir:                 "content"
dataDir:                    "data"
defaultExtension:           "html"
defaultLayout:              "post"
disableLiveReload:          false
# Do not build RSS files
disableRSS:                 false
# Do not build Sitemap file
disableSitemap:             false
# Build robots.txt file
enableRobotsTXT:            false
# Do not render 404 page
disable404:                 false
# Do not inject generator meta tag on homepage
disableHugoGeneratorInject: false
# edit new content with this editor, if provided
editor:                     ""
# Enable Emoji emoticons support for page content.
# See www.emoji-cheat-sheet.com
enableEmoji:                false
footnoteAnchorPrefix:       ""
footnoteReturnLinkContents: ""
# google analytics tracking id
googleAnalytics:            ""
languageCode:               ""
layoutdir:                  "layouts"
# Enable Logging
log:                        false
# Log File path (if set, logging enabled automatically)
logFile:                    ""
# "yaml", "toml", "json"
metaDataFormat:             "toml"
newContentEditor:           ""
# Don't sync modification time of files
noTimes:                    false
paginate:                   10
paginatePath:               "page"
permalinks:
# Pluralize titles in lists using inflect
pluralizeListTitles:        true
# Preserve special characters in taxonomy names ("Gérard Depardieu" vs "Gerard Depardieu")
preserveTaxonomyNames:      false
# filesystem path to write files to
publishdir:                 "public"
# enables syntax guessing for code fences without specified language
pygmentsCodeFencesGuessSyntax: false
# color-codes for highlighting derived from this style
pygmentsStyle:              "monokai"
# true: use pygments-css or false: color-codes directly
pygmentsUseClasses:         false
# default sitemap configuration map
sitemap:
# filesystem path to read files relative from
source:                     ""
staticdir:                  "static"
# display memory and timing of different steps of the program
stepAnalysis:               false
# theme to use (located by default in /themes/THEMENAME/)
themesdir:                  "themes"
theme:                      ""
title:                      ""
# if true, use /filename.html instead of /filename/
uglyURLs:                   false
# Do not make the url/path to lowercase
disablePathToLower:         false
# if true, auto-detect Chinese/Japanese/Korean Languages in the content. (.Summary and .WordCount can work properly in CJKLanguage)
hasCJKLanguage:             false
# verbose output
verbose:                    false
# verbose logging
verboseLog:                 false
# watch filesystem for changes and recreate as needed
watch:                      true
---

Ignore various files when rendering

The following statement inside ./config.toml will cause Hugo to ignore files ending with .foo and .boo when rendering:

ignoreFiles = [ "\\.foo$", "\\.boo$" ]

The above is a list of regular expressions. Note that the backslash (\) character is escaped, to keep TOML happy.

Configure Blackfriday rendering

Blackfriday is Hugo’s Markdown rendering engine.

In the main, Hugo typically configures Blackfriday with a sane set of defaults. These defaults should fit most use cases, reasonably well.

However, if you have unusual needs with respect to Markdown, Hugo exposes some of its Blackfriday behavior options for you to alter. The following table lists these Hugo options, paired with the corresponding flags from Blackfriday’s source code (for the latter, see html.go and markdown.go):

Flag Default Blackfriday flag
taskLists true
Purpose: false turns off GitHub-style automatic task/TODO list generation.
smartypants true HTML_USE_SMARTYPANTS
Purpose: false disables smart punctuation substitutions including smart quotes, smart dashes, smart fractions, etc. If true, it may be fine-tuned with the angledQuotes, fractions, smartDashes and latexDashes flags (see below).
angledQuotes false HTML_SMARTYPANTS_ANGLED_QUOTES
Purpose: true enables smart, angled double quotes.
Example: "Hugo" renders to «Hugo» instead of “Hugo”.
fractions true HTML_SMARTYPANTS_FRACTIONS
Purpose: false disables smart fractions.
Example: 5/12 renders to 512 (<sup>5</sup>&frasl;<sub>12</sub>).
Caveat: Even with fractions = false, Blackfriday still converts 1/2, 1/4 and 3/4 respectively to ½ (&frac12;), ¼ (&frac14;) and ¾ (&frac34;), but only these three.
smartDashes true HTML_SMARTYPANTS_DASHES
Purpose: false disables smart dashes; i.e., the conversion of multiple hyphens into en dash or em dash. If true, its behavior can be modified with the latexDashes flag below.
latexDashes true HTML_SMARTYPANTS_LATEX_DASHES
Purpose: false disables LaTeX-style smart dashes and selects conventional smart dashes. Assuming smartDashes (above), if this is:
  • true, then -- is translated into “–” (&ndash;), whereas --- is translated into “—” (&mdash;).
  • false, then -- is translated into “—” (&mdash;), whereas a spaced single hyphen between two words is translated into an en dash—e.g., 12 June - 3 July becomes 12 June &ndash; 3 July.
hrefTargetBlank false HTML_HREF_TARGET_BLANK
Purpose: true opens external links in a new window or tab.
plainIDAnchors true FootnoteAnchorPrefix and HeaderIDSuffix
Purpose: true renders any header and footnote IDs without the document ID.
Example: renders #my-header instead of #my-header:bec3ed8ba720b9073ab75abcf3ba5d97.
extensions [] EXTENSION_*
Purpose: Enable one or more of Blackfriday's Markdown extensions (if they aren't Hugo defaults).
Example:   Include "hardLineBreak" in the list to enable Blackfriday's EXTENSION_HARD_LINE_BREAK.
extensionsmask [] EXTENSION_*
Purpose: Disable one or more of Blackfriday's Markdown extensions (if they are Hugo defaults).
Example:   Include "autoHeaderIds" in the list to disable Blackfriday's EXTENSION_AUTO_HEADER_IDS.
sourceRelativeLinksEval false none
Purpose: true enables source file-based relative linking (à la Github). Relative links to Markdown and static files within a page will be evaluated relative to the location of that page, and then converted to HTML links during rendering.
Example: [some-reference-text](../other/page.md) in ./content/total/overview.md will link to ./content/other/overview.md and render to /other/overview/ in the HTML output.
sourceRelativeLinksProjectFolder /docs/content none
Purpose: Set a sub-folder for source file-based relative linking on a Hugo Project (i.e., a web site). When sourceRelativeLinksEval (see above) is enabled, some source level paths may contain absolute respository paths to Markdown or static files. The absolute portion of these paths should be removed before trying to match the intended links.
Example: Assuming your documentation resides in ./docs/content, then a reference within ./docs/content/total/overview.md to [some-reference-text](/docs/content/other/page.md) will link to ./docs/content/other/overview.md and render to /other/overview/ in the HTML output.

Notes

  • These flags are case sensitive (as of Hugo v0.15)!
  • These flags must be grouped under the blackfriday key and can be set on both the site level and the page level. Any setting on a page will override the site setting there. For example:
TOML YAML
[blackfriday]
  angledQuotes = true
  fractions = false
  plainIDAnchors = true
  extensions = ["hardLineBreak"]
blackfriday:
  angledQuotes: true
  fractions: false
  plainIDAnchors: true
  extensions:
    - hardLineBreak