Configuring Hugo

The directory structure and templates provide the majority of the configuration for a site. In fact, a config file isn’t even needed for many websites since the defaults follow commonly used patterns.

Hugo expects to find the config file in the root of the source directory and will look there first for a config.toml file. If none is present, it will then look for a config.yaml file, followed by a config.json file.

The config file is a site-wide config. The config file provides directions to hugo on how to build the site as well as site-wide parameters and menus.


The following is an example of a typical yaml config file:

baseurl: ""

The following is an example of a toml config file with some of the default values. Values under [params] will populate the .Site.Params variable for use in templates:

contentdir = "content"
layoutdir = "layouts"
publishdir = "public"
builddrafts = false
baseurl = ""
canonifyurls = true

  category = "categories"
  tag = "tags"

  description = "Tesla's Awesome Hugo Site"
  author = "Nikola Tesla"

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

baseurl: ""
title: "Yoyodyne Widget Blogging"
footnotereturnlinkcontents: "↩"
  post: /:year/:month/:title/
  Subtitle: "Spinning the cogs in the widgets"
  AuthorName: "John Doe"
  GitHubUser: "spf13"
    - "foo1"
    - "foo2"
  SidebarRecentLimit: 5

Configuration variables

Following is a list of Hugo-defined variables that you can configure and their current default values:

archetypedir:               "archetype"
# hostname (and path) to the root, e.g.
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
# edit new content with this editor, if provided
editor:                     ""
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"
# 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"
# 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
# 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 in /doc/themes/THEMENAME/)
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 files on build

The following inside config.toml will ignore files ending with .foo and .boo when building with hugo:

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

The above is a list of Regular Expressions, but note the escaping of the \ to make TOML happy.

Configure Blackfriday rendering

Blackfriday is the Markdown rendering engine used in Hugo. The Blackfriday configuration in Hugo is mostly a set of sane defaults that should fit most use cases.

But Hugo does expose some options—as listed in the table below, matched with the corresponding flag in the Blackfriday source (html.go and markdown.go):

FlagDefaultBlackfriday flag
smartypants true HTML_USE_SMARTYPANTS
Purpose: Enable/Disable smart punctuation substitutions such as smart quotes, smart dashes, etc. May be fine-tuned with the angledQuotes, fractions, smartDashes and latexDashes flags below.
Purpose: Enable/Disable smart angled double quotes.
Example: "Hugo" renders to «Hugo» instead of “Hugo”.
Purpose: Enable/Disable smart fractions.
Example: 5/12 renders to 512 (<sup>5</sup>&frasl;<sub>12</sub>)
Caveat: Even with fractions = false, Blackfriday would still convert 1/2, 1/4 and 3/4 to ½ (&frac12;), ¼ (&frac14;) and ¾ (&frac34;) respectively, but only these three.
Purpose: Enable/Disable smart dashes, i.e. turning hyphens into en dash or em dash.
Its behavior can be modified with the latexDashes flag listed below.
Purpose: Choose between LaTeX-style smart dashes and “conventional” smart dashes.
If true, -- is translated into “–” (&ndash;), and --- is translated into “—” (&mdash;).
If false, -- is translated into “—” (&mdash;), whereas a spaced single hyphen between two words is turned into an en dash, e.g. 12 June - 3 July becomes 12 June &ndash; 3 July.
hrefTargetBlank false HTML_HREF_TARGET_BLANK
Purpose: Open external links in a new window/tab.
plainIDAnchors false FootnoteAnchorPrefix and HeaderIDSuffix
Purpose: If true, then header and footnote IDs are generated without the document ID.
Example: #my-header instead of #my-header:bec3ed8ba720b9073ab75abcf3ba5d97.
extensions [] EXTENSION_*
Purpose: Use non-default additional extensions.
Example: Add "hardLineBreak" to use EXTENSION_HARD_LINE_BREAK.
extensionsmask [] EXTENSION_*
Purpose: Extensions in this option won't be loaded.
Example: Add "autoHeaderIds" to disable EXTENSION_AUTO_HEADER_IDS.


  1. These flags are very case-sensitive (as of Hugo v0.15)!
  2. These flags must be grouped under the blackfriday key and can be set on both site and page level. If set on page, it will override the site setting. Example:
  angledQuotes = true
  fractions = false
  plainIDAnchors = true
  extensions = ["hardLineBreak"]
  angledQuotes: true
  fractions: false
  plainIDAnchors: true
    - hardLineBreak