Deploying my Homepage with Github Actions

While playing with the log analyser I mentioned in my post about building fail2ban rules, I accidentally overwrote the index.html file for my homepage.

After a bit of digging around and not being able to find a copy of it anywhere (it was probably on my old work laptop, so might be on the backup USB drive in the bottom draw…) I started to write a new one. To make sure I could always find a copy I decided I’d check it into GitHub.

As part of setting up the new repo I thought I’d have a look at the relatively new GitHib Actions that allow you to run jobs on your own hardware.

Actions are GitHubs implementation of a CI pipeline, you can attach an action to any number of events that happen on a repo e.g.

  • Post a welcome message when somebody new opens an issue
  • Run tests on any new pull requests
  • Deploy the project when code is merged into a specific branch

You can find a full list of triggers here.

It’s this last one that I’m going to use a trigger to deploy the new homepage when ever I commit to the master branch.

There is a list of pre-build Actions that can be used or extended to do all kinds of things or you can build your own. The documentation is here.

Actions are defined in a YAML file that you place in the .github/workflow directory of your repository.

name: PublishHomepage

on: [push]

    name: Deploy Homepage
    runs-on: [self-hosted, linux]
    - name: Checkout
      uses: actions/checkout@v2
        repository: 'hardillb/homepage'
        path: 'homepage'
    - run: bash ./homepage/scripts/

This attaches to the push trigger and asks that it is run on a self-hosted, linux machine. Where it will checkout the /hardillb/homepage repository and then execute the script found in the scripts directory of the repo.

Github supply runners for Windows/Linux/macOS on a range of architectures including ARM which means I can deploy one on the Raspberry Pi that hosts my website. Details of how to add a Action Runner to your specific project and download the package can be found here.

I went with running my own Action Runner on the same machine as the site is hosted because it means I don’t need to worry about setting up a custom ssh key and storing it as a secret so a cloud runner could access the device and upload the changed files. This way the script runs on the same machine and I can make sure the user has access rights to the right directory to copy the files to.

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