I was originally planning to create a blog using Create React App. It was extremely easy to set up create-react-app, but “the devil is in the details”. So I decided to use Hexo framework instead, as did not want to spend much time googling stuff and figuring out the details.

Before I started, I did not have any experience with hexo, and had no idea about node and nvm. So below an instruction for beginners :)

Install Git

Install Git if you don’t have it yet (installation instructions).

Install nvm (Node Version Manager)

curl -o- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/creationix/nvm/v0.33.8/install.sh | bash

If you get nvm: command not found after running the install script, try solutions described here. In my case I solved the problem with nvm by adding this line of code into ~/.bash_profilefile:

source ~/.bashrc

Install Node.js

Hexo framework is powered by node.js, that is why you need to have node installed before proceeding with Hexo installation.

nvm install node

Install Hexo

npm install -g hexo-cli

Create blog

Suppose you want to create your blog in a local folder my-blog. Run one by one the following commands:

hexo init my-blog
cd my-blog
hexo generate # to generate the blog
hexo server # to start hexo server

Voila! The blog is ready, check it out at http://localhost:4000/.

Configure blog settings

Now you can start configuring your blog using _config.yml file in the root of your blog’s folder. There are lots of settings can be configured (read more about it). To start with, you can configure some personal information as did I:

# Site
title: Natalya Kosenko's Blog
author: Natalya Kosenko
language: en
timezone: Asia/Singapore

Change theme

Now it is time to beautify your blog. You can choose one of a few dozens free themes available here. My choice was cactus-white that is based on a cactus-dark theme. Below are a few commands you need to run one by one in the Terminal in order to switch theme from default one to the cactus-white:

git clone git@github.com:sergodeeva/cactus-white.git themes/cactus-white
npm install hexo-pagination --save

After you installed a new theme, you need to change the theme property in the _config.yml file:

# theme: landscape
theme: cactus-white

To see the changes at http://localhost:4000/, you need to re-generate blog by running hexo generate, and then restart the hexo server (stop it and then run hexo server).

Write a new post

To create a new post or a new page, you can use the following commands:

hexo new post <title> # to create a new post
hexo new page <title> # to create a new page
hexo new draft <title> # to create a new draft
hexo new post "Hello world" # example

A file with .md extension will be created in a source folder. You can write your post using markdown - lightweight markup language with plain text formatting syntax.

Deploy to GitHub Pages

Make sure you have created a GitHub repository with a name username.github.io. For example, my repository is sergodeeva.github.io. Install hexo deployer plugin:

npm install hexo-deployer-git --save

Once the plugin is installed, change deployment settings in the _config.ymlfile (replace ‘username’ with your GitHub username):

  type: git
  repo: git@github.com:username/username.github.io.git
  branch: master

Deploy the blog to GitHub pages using this command:

hexo d -g # shortcut for `hexo generate` and `hexo deploy`

Done, your blog is now available at http://username.github.io page.

The whole process took me a few hours (90% of that time I spent choosing a blog theme).