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The process leverages GitHub Actions to build, test, and deploy a compiled Jekyll site to a CPanel account on a shared Reclaim hosting server. With slight modification, it should work for any fully-static or statically-generated site and any ol’ server with FTP. Depending on how you build your site, the server shouldn’t need Apache or Nginx since we’ll syncing static files directly to /public_html.

Step 1. Create a GitGub a repository with your site files

Feel free to use and remix this template.

Step 2. Create an FTP deploy account on your CPanel account

Log in to your dashboard and navigate to the “FTP Accounts” tab under “Files.” ftp dashboard Create a special FTP account just for deployments. Under “directory” put public_html. If you want the site to be in a subdirectory from the root URL (e.g., “marii.hosting.nyu.edu/my-site”), enter the subdirectory after public_html with no trailing slash (e.g., public_html/my-site). create ftp account More info available here.

Step 3. Add your FTP deploy account credentials to your GitHub repo secrets settings

Since our GitHub repo will initiate FTP deployments for us, we need to give it our new credentials. To do so, navigate to your repo > Settings > Secrets. As the page says, “Secrets are environment variables that are encrypted” and made available to Actions workflows. The deployment workflow we’ll define in the next step needs three environment vars: FTP_SERVER, FTP_USERNAME, and FTP_PASSWORD. These need to be spelled verbatim unless you plan on customizing the action files.

Click “New repository secret” and create the variables one by one using the credentials you made in the last step. Note that FTP_USERNAME should have the “Log In” name you created @ the server name, e.g, “my-deployer-name@marii.hosting.nyu.edu”. The FTP_SERVER should be the “Host” you entered with no additional file paths or protocols.

secrets dashboard

More info available here.

Step 4. Configure GitHub Actions workflow for your repo

To set up a GitHub actions workflow, you’ll define a set of steps and settings in YAML format and put them in your repo in a special directory .github/workflows. If you’re using the template, this is already set up.

# build, test, and ftp deploy a jekyll site
name: ci:deploy
on:
  push:
    branches:
      - main
jobs:
  deploy:
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    env:
      BASEURL: ''
    steps:
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2
        with:
          fetch-depth: 1
      - uses: ruby/setup-ruby@v1
        with:
          bundler-cache: true
      - name: install
        run: gem install bundler && bundle
      - name: build
        run: bundle exec rake build
      - name: test
        run: bundle exec rake test
      - name: deploy
        uses: SamKirkland/FTP-Deploy-Action@4.0.0
        with:
          server: ${{secrets.FTP_SERVER}}
          username: ${{secrets.FTP_USERNAME}}
          password: ${{secrets.FTP_PASSWORD}}
          local-dir: ./_site/

deploy gif

More info available here.

Using Ghostscript to Covert Washed-Out PDFs to PNGs for OCR Processing