Ronalds Vilciņš


How to create a theme for Hugo

Install Hugo

First, install Hugo on your machine. For more information, read the official setup guide of Hugo.

Generate a new theme

Hugo doesn’t ship with a default theme, but it comes with a command to generate it. Run the following command after installing Hugo hugo new site [name], after that, navigate into the root of the new Hugo folder and run command hugo new theme [theme_name] to generate the skeleton of a theme.

File structure

└── theme-name
    ├── LICENSE
    ├── archetypes
    │   └──
    ├── layouts
    │   ├── 404.html
    │   ├── _default
    │   │   ├── baseof.html
    │   │   ├── list.html
    │   │   └── single.html
    │   ├── index.html
    │   └── partials
    │       ├── footer.html
    │       ├── head.html
    │       └── header.html
    ├── static
    │   ├── css
    │   └── js
    └── theme.toml


By default, Hugo applies the MIT license to your theme.


You can create new content files in Hugo using the hugo new command. If your theme makes use of specific keys in the front matter, it is a good idea to provide an archetype for each content type you have. By default, Hugo will create new content files with at least date, title and draft = true.


All content for your website will live inside this directory.


The layouts directory contains all the HTML files that are used for generating HTML from the Markdown files. Templates include list pages, your homepage, taxonomy templates, partials, single-page templates, and more.


Stores all the static content: images, CSS, JavaScript, etc.


The theme.toml file contains information about the theme such as the name of the theme, license, description, author, etc.

If you’re developing a real theme, please remember to fill out files theme.toml and

Add content

You can use the new command to add title and date:

hugo new posts/

When we created our site, Hugo created a default archetype in the /archetype/folder.

Make changes to your theme files

Now we have a basic template upon which we can start building our theme. What’s next? I recommend a deep dive into the docs and check how to costumize your newly created theme. As for where to deploy your site, since Hugo is a static site generator, you can host it almost anywhere.