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Local Development

Hugo allows you to work on your site in a local environment on your computer. It requires you to install the Hugo binary on your local machine.

For detailed instructions on installing Hugo for your operating system, see the Hugo Docs.

Working with Git

If you set up and imported your site with Git, local development becomes much easier. We recommend you do this.

To get started, clone your repository to your desktop. For example:

$ git clone

Now you can begin working on your site. Any changes made to your site can be committed in Git, and will automatically be synced with your Forestry CMS.

Working with a Zip-based site

If you set up and imported your site with a zip file, local development becomes more challenging.

Any changes made to your site must be rezipped and reimported into your Forestry CMS.

You can do this from your Forestry Dashboard, by choosing “Re-upload Project” from the site’s dropdown menu (…).


If you didn’t change any of your content files, then you can choose “Update project files” which will only update the source code we use to deploy your site.


If you did change your content files, then you can choose Update project files & content files which will update the source code and all of the content in Forestry.

Serving your site locally

Hugo comes with a livereload local development server built into it’s binary. This will allow you to develop locally on your machine, and will automatically rebuild your site and refresh the browser as you make changes.

To run Hugo with the server, run the command:

$ hugo server

This will spin up a local development server with live reload at the port 1313, which is accessible from http://localhost:1313.


For information on how to handle deployment of your site to your production or staging environment, see our Deployment doc

Further Reading

Last updated on July 24, 2013