Hosting Documentation

After going through the Package Guide and Doctests page you will need to host the generated documentation somewhere for potential users to read. This guide will describe how to set up automatic updates for your package docs using either the Travis CI build service or GitHub Actions together with GitHub Pages for hosting the generated HTML files. This is the same approach used by this package to host its own docs – the docs you're currently reading.


Following this guide should be the final step you take after you are comfortable with the syntax and build process used by Documenter.jl. It is recommended that you only proceed with the steps outlined here once you have successfully managed to build your documentation locally with Documenter.

This guide assumes that you already have GitHub and Travis accounts setup. If not then go set those up first and then return here.

It is possible to deploy from other systems than Travis CI or GitHub Actions, see the section on Deployment systems.


Once set up correctly, the following will happen each time you push new updates to your package repository:

  • Buildbots will start up and run your package tests in a "Test" stage.
  • After the Test stage completes, a single bot will run a new "Documentation" stage, which will build the documentation.
  • If the documentation is built successfully, the bot will attempt to push the generated HTML pages back to GitHub.

Note that the hosted documentation does not update when you make pull requests; you see updates only when you merge to master or push new tags.

In the upcoming sections we describe how to configure the build service to run the documentation build stage. In general it is easiest to choose the same service as the one testing your package. If you don't explicitly select the service with the deploy_config keyword argument to deploydocs Documenter will try to automatically detect which system is running and use that.

Travis CI

To tell Travis that we want a new build stage, we can add the following to an existing .travis.yml file. Note that the snippet below will not work by itself and must be accompanied by a complete Travis file.

    - stage: "Documentation"
      julia: 1.6
      os: linux
        - julia --project=docs/ -e 'using Pkg; Pkg.develop(PackageSpec(path=pwd()));
        - julia --project=docs/ docs/make.jl
      after_success: skip

where the julia: and os: entries decide the worker from which the docs are built and deployed. In the example above we will thus build and deploy the documentation from a linux worker running Julia 1.6. For more information on how to setup a build stage, see the Travis manual for Build Stages.

The three lines in the script: section do the following:

  1. Instantiate the doc-building environment (i.e. docs/Project.toml, see below).
  2. Install your package in the doc-build environment.
  3. Run the docs/make.jl script, which builds and deploys the documentation.

If your package has a build script you should call"PackageName") after the call to Pkg.develop to make sure the package is built properly.

matrix: section in .travis.yml

Travis CI used to use matrix: as the section to configure to build matrix in the config file. This now appears to be a deprecated alias for jobs:. If you use both matrix: and jobs: in your configuration, matrix: overrides the settings under jobs:.

If your .travis.yml file still uses matrix:, it should be replaced with a a single jobs: section.

Authentication: SSH Deploy Keys

In order to push the generated documentation from Travis you need to add deploy keys. Deploy keys provide push access to a single repository, to allow secure deployment of generated documentation from the builder to GitHub. The SSH keys can be generated with DocumenterTools.genkeys from the DocumenterTools package.


You will need several command line programs (which, git and ssh-keygen) to be installed for the following steps to work. If DocumenterTools fails, please see the the SSH Deploy Keys Walkthrough section for instruction on how to generate the keys manually (including in Windows).

Install and load DocumenterTools with

pkg> add DocumenterTools
julia> using DocumenterTools

Then call the DocumenterTools.genkeys function as follows:

julia> using DocumenterTools
julia> DocumenterTools.genkeys(user="MyUser", repo="MyPackage.jl")

where MyPackage is the name of the package you would like to create deploy keys for and MyUser is your GitHub username. Note that the keyword arguments are optional and can be omitted.

If the package is checked out in development mode with ] dev MyPackage, you can also use DocumenterTools.genkeys as follows:

julia> using MyPackage
julia> DocumenterTools.genkeys(MyPackage)

where MyPackage is the package you would like to create deploy keys for. The output will look similar to the text below:

[ Info: add the public key below to
      with read/write access:


[ Info: add a secure environment variable named 'DOCUMENTER_KEY' to with value:


Follow the instructions that are printed out, namely:

  1. Add the public ssh key to your settings page for the GitHub repository that you are setting up by following the .../settings/keys link provided. Click on Add deploy key, enter the name documenter as the title, and copy the public key into the Key field. Check Allow write access to allow Documenter to commit the generated documentation to the repo.

  2. Next add the long private key to the Travis settings page using the provided link. Again note that you should include no whitespace when copying the key. In the Environment Variables section add a key with the name DOCUMENTER_KEY and the value that was printed out. Do not set the variable to be displayed in the build log. Then click Add.

    Security warning

    To reiterate: make sure that this key is hidden. In particular, in the Travis CI settings the "Display value in build log" option should be OFF for the variable, so that it does not get printed when the tests run. This base64-encoded string contains the unencrypted private key that gives full write access to your repository, so it must be kept safe. Also, make sure that you never expose this variable in your tests, nor merge any code that does. You can read more about Travis environment variables in Travis User Documentation.


There are more explicit instructions for adding the keys to Travis in the SSH Deploy Keys Walkthrough section of the manual.

GitHub Actions

To run the documentation build from GitHub Actions, create a new workflow configuration file called .github/workflows/documentation.yml with the following contents:

name: Documentation

      - master # update to match your development branch (master, main, dev, trunk, ...)
    tags: '*'

      contents: write
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      - uses: actions/checkout@v2
      - uses: julia-actions/setup-julia@v1
          version: '1.6'
      - name: Install dependencies
        run: julia --project=docs/ -e 'using Pkg; Pkg.develop(PackageSpec(path=pwd())); Pkg.instantiate()'
      - name: Build and deploy
          GITHUB_TOKEN: ${{ secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN }} # If authenticating with GitHub Actions token
          DOCUMENTER_KEY: ${{ secrets.DOCUMENTER_KEY }} # If authenticating with SSH deploy key
        run: julia --project=docs/ docs/make.jl

This will install Julia, checkout the correct commit of your repository, and run the build of the documentation. The julia-version:, julia-arch: and os: entries decide the environment from which the docs are built and deployed. The example above builds and deploys the documentation from an Ubuntu worker running Julia 1.6.


The example above is a basic workflow that should suit most projects. For more information on how to further customize your action, read the manual: Learn GitHub Actions.

The commands in the lines in the run: section do the same as for Travis, see the previous section.

TagBot & tagged versions

In order to deploy documentation for tagged versions, the GitHub Actions workflow needs to be triggered by the tag. However, by default, when the Julia TagBot uses just the GITHUB_TOKEN for authentication, it does not have the permission to trigger any further workflows jobs, and so the documentation CI job never runs for the tag.

To work around that, TagBot should be configured to use DOCUMENTER_KEY for authentication, by adding ssh: ${{ secrets.DOCUMENTER_KEY }} to the with section. A complete TagBot workflow file could look as follows:

name: TagBot
      - created
    if: github.event_name == 'workflow_dispatch' || == 'JuliaTagBot'
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      - uses: JuliaRegistries/TagBot@v1
          token: ${{ secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN }}
          ssh: ${{ secrets.DOCUMENTER_KEY }}

Authentication: GITHUB_TOKEN

When running from GitHub Actions it is possible to authenticate using the GitHub Actions authentication token (GITHUB_TOKEN). This is done by adding


to the configuration file, as showed in the previous section.


You can only use GITHUB_TOKEN for authentication if the target repository of the deployment is the same as the current repository. In order to push elsewhere you should instead use a SSH deploy key.

Authentication: SSH Deploy Keys

It is also possible to authenticate using a SSH deploy key, just as described in the SSH Deploy Keys section for Travis CI. You can generate the key in the same way, and then set the encoded key as a secret environment variable in your repository settings. You also need to make the key available for the doc building workflow by adding


to the configuration file, as showed in the previous section. See GitHub's manual for Encrypted secrets for more information.

Add code coverage from documentation builds

If you want code run during the documentation deployment to be covered by Codecov, you can edit the end of the docs part of your workflow configuration file so that docs/make.jl is run with the --code-coverage=user flag and the coverage reports are uploaded to Codecov:

      - run: julia --project=docs/ --code-coverage=user docs/make.jl
          GITHUB_TOKEN: ${{ secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN }}
          DOCUMENTER_KEY: ${{ secrets.DOCUMENTER_KEY }}
      - uses: julia-actions/julia-processcoverage@v1
      - uses: codecov/codecov-action@v1


The doc-build environment docs/Project.toml includes Documenter and other doc-build dependencies your package might have. If Documenter is the only dependency, then the Project.toml should include the following:

Documenter = "e30172f5-a6a5-5a46-863b-614d45cd2de4"

Documenter = "0.27"

Note that it is recommended that you have a [compat] section, like the one above, in your Project.toml file, which would restrict Documenter's version that gets installed when the build runs. This is to make sure that your builds do not start failing suddenly due to a new major release of Documenter, which may include breaking changes. However, it also means that you will not get updates to Documenter automatically, and hence need to upgrade Documenter's major version yourself.

The deploydocs Function

At the moment your docs/make.jl file probably only contains

using Documenter, PACKAGE_NAME


We'll need to add an additional function call to this file after makedocs which would perform the deployment of the docs to the gh-pages branch. Add the following at the end of the file:

    repo = "",

where USER_NAME and PACKAGE_NAME must be set to the appropriate names. Note that repo should not specify any protocol, i.e. it should not begin with https:// or git@.

See the deploydocs function documentation for more details.


Add the following to your package's .gitignore file


These are needed to avoid committing generated content to your repository.

gh-pages Branch

By default, Documenter pushes documentation to the gh-pages branch. If the branch does not exist it will be created automatically by deploydocs. If it does exist then Documenter simply adds an additional commit with the built documentation. You should be aware that Documenter may overwrite existing content without warning.

If you wish to create the gh-pages branch manually that can be done following these instructions.

You also need to make sure that you have "gh-pages branch" selected as the source of the GitHub Pages site in your GitHub repository settings, so that GitHub would actually serve the contents as a website.

Cleaning up gh-pages. Note that the gh-pages branch can become very large, especially when push_preview is enabled to build documentation for each pull request. To clean up the branch and remove stale documentation previews, a GitHub Actions workflow like the following can be used.

name: Doc Preview Cleanup

    types: [closed]

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      - name: Checkout gh-pages branch
        uses: actions/checkout@v2
          ref: gh-pages
      - name: Delete preview and history + push changes
        run: |
            if [ -d "previews/PR$PRNUM" ]; then
              git config "Documenter.jl"
              git config ""
              git rm -rf "previews/PR$PRNUM"
              git commit -m "delete preview"
              git branch gh-pages-new $(echo "delete history" | git commit-tree HEAD^{tree})
              git push --force origin gh-pages-new:gh-pages
            PRNUM: ${{ github.event.number }}

This workflow was taken from CliMA/ClimaTimeSteppers.jl (Apache License 2.0).

Documentation Versions


This section describes the default mode of deployment, which is by version. See the following section on Deploying without the versioning scheme if you want to deploy directly to the "root".

By default the documentation is deployed as follows:

  • Documentation built for a tag vX.Y.Z will be stored in a folder vX.Y.Z.

  • Documentation built from the devbranch branch (master by default) is stored in a folder determined by the devurl keyword to deploydocs (dev by default).

Which versions that will show up in the version selector is determined by the versions argument to deploydocs.

Unless a custom domain is being used, the pages are found at:

By default Documenter will create a link called stable that points to the latest release

It is recommended to use this link, rather than the versioned links, since it will be updated with new releases.

Fixing broken release deployments

It can happen that, for one reason or another, the documentation for a tagged version of your package fails to deploy and a fix would require changes to the source code (e.g. a misconfigured make.jl). However, as registered tags should not be changed, you can not simply update the original tag (e.g. v1.2.3) with the fix.

In this situation, you can manually create and push a tag for the commit with the fix that has the same version number, but also some build metadata (e.g. v1.2.3+doc1). For Git, this is a completely different tag, so it won't interfere with anything. But when Documenter runs on this tag, it will ignore the build metadata and deploy the docs as if they were for version v1.2.3.

Note that, as with normal tag builds, you need to make sure that your CI that runs Documenter is configured to run on such tags (e.g. that the regex constraining the branches the CI runs on is broad enough etc).

Once your documentation has been pushed to the gh-pages branch you should add links to your pointing to the stable (and perhaps dev) documentation URLs. It is common practice to make use of "badges" similar to those used for Travis and AppVeyor build statuses or code coverage. Adding the following to your package should be all that is necessary:


PACKAGE_NAME and USER_NAME should be replaced with their appropriate values. The colour and text of the image can be changed by altering docs-stable-blue as described on, though it is recommended that package authors follow this standard to make it easier for potential users to find documentation links across multiple package README files.

Deploying without the versioning scheme

Documenter supports deployment directly to the website root ignoring any version subfolders as described in the previous section. This can be useful if you use Documenter for something that is not a versioned project, for example. To do this, pass versions = nothing to the deploydocs function. Now the pages should be found directly at

Preview builds are still deployed to the previews subfolder.


The landing page for the JuliaDocs GitHub organization (source repository) is one example where this functionality is used.

Final Remarks

That should be all that is needed to enable automatic documentation building. Pushing new commits to your master branch should trigger doc builds. Note that other branches do not trigger these builds and neither do pull requests by potential contributors.

If you would like to see a more complete example of how this process is setup then take a look at this package's repository for some inspiration.

Deployment systems

It is possible to customize Documenter to use other systems then the ones described in the sections above. This is done by passing a configuration (a DeployConfig) to deploydocs by the deploy_config keyword argument. Documenter supports Travis, GitHubActions, GitLab, and Buildkite natively, but it is easy to define your own by following the simple interface described below.

Documenter.deploy_folder(cfg::DeployConfig; repo, devbranch, push_preview, devurl, kwargs...)

Return a DeployDecision. This function is called with the repo, devbranch, push_preview and devurl arguments from deploydocs.


Implementations of this functions should accept trailing kwargs... for compatibility with future Documenter releases which may pass additional keyword arguments.

DeployDecision(; kwargs...)

Struct containing information about the decision to deploy or not deploy.


  • all_ok::Bool - Should documentation be deployed?
  • branch::String - The branch to which documentation should be pushed
  • is_preview::Bool - Is this documentation build a pull request?
  • repo::String - The repo to which documentation should be pushed
  • subfolder::String - The subfolder to which documentation should be pushed

Return the Base64-encoded SSH private key for the repository. Uses the DOCUMENTER_KEY_PREVIEWS environment variable if it is defined, otherwise uses the DOCUMENTER_KEY environment variable.

This method must be supported by configs that push with SSH, see Documenter.authentication_method.

Travis <: DeployConfig

Default implementation of DeployConfig.

The following environment variables influences the build when using the Travis configuration:

  • DOCUMENTER_KEY: must contain the Base64-encoded SSH private key for the repository. This variable should be set in the Travis settings for the repository. Make sure this variable is marked NOT to be displayed in the build log.

  • TRAVIS_PULL_REQUEST: must be set to false. This avoids deployment on pull request builds.

  • TRAVIS_REPO_SLUG: must match the value of the repo keyword to deploydocs.

  • TRAVIS_EVENT_TYPE: may not be set to cron. This avoids re-deployment of existing docs on builds that were triggered by a Travis cron job.

  • TRAVIS_BRANCH: unless TRAVIS_TAG is non-empty, this must have the same value as the devbranch keyword to deploydocs. This makes sure that only the development branch (commonly, the master branch) will deploy the "dev" documentation (deployed into a directory specified by the devurl keyword to deploydocs).

  • TRAVIS_TAG: if set, a tagged version deployment is performed instead; the value must be a valid version number (i.e. match Base.VERSION_REGEX). The documentation for a package version tag gets deployed to a directory named after the version number in TRAVIS_TAG instead.

The TRAVIS_* variables are set automatically on Travis. More information on how Travis sets the TRAVIS_* variables can be found in the Travis documentation.

GitHubActions <: DeployConfig

Implementation of DeployConfig for deploying from GitHub Actions.

The following environment variables influences the build when using the GitHubActions configuration:

  • GITHUB_EVENT_NAME: must be set to push, workflow_dispatch, or schedule. This avoids deployment on pull request builds.

  • GITHUB_REPOSITORY: must match the value of the repo keyword to deploydocs.

  • GITHUB_REF: must match the devbranch keyword to deploydocs, alternatively correspond to a git tag.

  • GITHUB_TOKEN or DOCUMENTER_KEY: used for authentication with GitHub, see the manual section for GitHub Actions for more information.

The GITHUB_* variables are set automatically on GitHub Actions, see the documentation.

GitLab <: DeployConfig

GitLab implementation of DeployConfig.

The following environment variables influence the build when using the GitLab configuration:

  • DOCUMENTER_KEY: must contain the Base64-encoded SSH private key for the repository. This variable should be set in the GitLab settings. Make sure this variable is marked NOT to be displayed in the build log.

  • CI_COMMIT_BRANCH: the name of the commit branch.

  • CI_EXTERNAL_PULL_REQUEST_IID: Pull Request ID from GitHub if the pipelines are for external pull requests.

  • CI_PROJECT_PATH_SLUG: The namespace with project name. All letters lowercased and non-alphanumeric characters replaced with -.

  • CI_COMMIT_TAG: The commit tag name. Present only when building tags.

  • CI_PIPELINE_SOURCE: Indicates how the pipeline was triggered.

The CI_* variables are set automatically on GitLab. More information on how GitLab sets the CI_* variables can be found in the GitLab documentation.

Buildkite <: DeployConfig

Buildkite implementation of DeployConfig.

The following environment variables influence the build when using the Buildkite configuration:

  • DOCUMENTER_KEY: must contain the Base64-encoded SSH private key for the repository. This variable should be somehow set in the CI environment, e.g., provisioned by an agent environment plugin.

  • BUILDKITE_BRANCH: the name of the commit branch.

  • BUILDKITE_PULL_REQUEST: Pull Request ID from GitHub if the pipelines are for external pull requests.

  • BUILDKITE_TAG: The commit tag name. Present only when building tags.

The BUILDKITE_* variables are set automatically on GitLab. More information on how Buildkite sets the BUILDKITE_* variables can be found in the Buildkite documentation.