Last post, I announced the hugo-lambda project, a way to use a static site generator without actually running it. Since Lambda is just a developer preview, it isn’t the easiest to work with or debug at the moment.

To help with that, Mitch Garnaat has released kappa, a tool that streamlines the process pretty significantly. Each function gets a config file that defines its name, IAM roles, and event sources (triggers). With that information, kappa lets you deploy, test, and audit your function with a few simple commands.

To deploy hugo-lambda, I chose kappa in concert with a CloudFormation template to create the IAM roles, Route53 records, and S3 buckets necessary to serve your site statically.

The template itself creates:

  1. Route53 records for and
  2. S3 buckets for your raw content ( and the published site (
  3. IAM users to be used by the Lambda functions

At the time of this writing, CloudFormation doesn’t support Lambda but I expect that do be added sometime after it leaves developer preview.

Thanks to all this automation, actually deploying hugo-lambda is just two steps. First, you need to replace with your domain in the CloudFormation template and the kappa config files. The filenames in the repo are:

  • hugo-lambda.cfn
  • generate/config.yml
  • static-sync/config.yml

Once you’ve done that, you can run make deploy and the functions will be uploaded and the resources created.

The Makefile papers over a few steps. First, libraries (s3 and async) the function depends on are downloaded, as is the latest hugo release binary. With the dependencies downloaded, it generates a CloudFormation JSON template from the YAML in template.yml and deploys the CFN template to AWS to build the needed buckets, DNS records, and aliases.

To run, you need to have AWS credentials accessible in your environment that have permissions to create S3 buckets, Route53 records, IAM users, and Lambda functions and event sources. I haven’t built a minimum viable permissions (the other other MVP) IAM policy yet, but it’ll be added soon.

Once the underlying resources are deployed, you’re almost ready to go. You still need one thing though…a web site! For demo purposes you can download the Hugo documentation, which is itself a Hugo static site. Make sure you check out version 0.14, because the documentation fails to build with the latest stable version.

To actually deploy your site, all you need to do is put the site in the bucket. I use the awscli s3 sync command. Another option is boto-rsync

$ git clone
$ cd hugo/docs
$ aws s3 sync --exclude '.git/*' . s3://

The new files in the input bucket will trigger the hugo-lambda functions that were uploaded with make deploy and within a minute of the final uploaded file you will be able to navigate to the site and see the output site.

Thanks for using hugo-lambda! For more info, check out this overview, the project page, and report any issues on GitHub.