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Hugo Site Customization

Getting started? Hugo Blox has a collection of beautiful templates for you to choose from.

Want to personalize the template? No problem, a Hugo Blox template is fully customizable. In fact, you can change so many elements, it would be difficult to find the original template it was made from.

This page explains some common site customizations. You might also be interested in customizing the homepage.

Check out the Guides for details on each feature and for more advanced customization by extending.

Personalise your URL

Give your site a professional appearance, such as, whilst preventing it getting locked into one specific host such as GitHub Pages ( or Netlify (

View the Custom Domain guide →

Website icon

Are you looking to customize the desktop and mobile icon (aka favicon) which appears in your site’s Progressive Web App (PWA) and web browser tab?

Save your icon as a square 512x512 pixel image named icon.png and place the image in your root assets/media/ folder, creating the folders if they don’t already exist.

Web browsers can cache icons, so you may not notice an immediate change unless the browser cache is cleared.


The following options in config/_default/params.yaml can be set to personalise the appearance of your site:

mode: light
color: blue

Light and Dark Modes

Choose the default appearance of your site with the mode option. Options include light, dark, or system.

When choosing the system option, the appearance will automatically match the appearance of the user’s device.

Want to let visitors override the default appearance? Show a theme toggle button in the site header - check out the Header section below.

Color Themes

Choose the color scheme of your site with the color option

Options include blue, cyan, green, indigo, purple, red, rose, sky, teal, and zinc.

Alternatively, create your own color scheme:

  1. Download an existing color scheme
  2. Edit the colors
  3. Rename the file to match your new color scheme, for example river.css
  4. Move the file to your assets/css/themes/ folder, creating the folders if they don’t already exist
  5. Use your new color scheme by setting color: river (or whatever you named your file) in config/_default/params.yaml

You can choose from the following options to customise the site header containing the navigation bar:

# Choose a navigation block
block: navbar
# Display the navigation bar?
enable: true
# Align menu links: left (l), center (c), or right (r)
align: l
# Display your site title or `assets/media/logo*` image in the nav bar?
show_logo: true
# Show a language chooser (if you have translated your site content)?
show_translations: true
# If `show_translations` is enabled, do you wish to hide the current language name?
hide_language_name: false
# Let the user override the default light/dark mode of your theme?
show_theme_chooser: true
# Let the user search from the nav bar?
show_search: true
# Attempt to automatically highlight the active menu link? Can be disabled for complex sites.
highlight_active_link: true

Want to swap out the navbar header block for a different layout?

You can do that too by choosing a block from the block repository or from your local layouts/partials/components/headers/ folder.

The main menu links in the navigation bar can be edited in the config/_default/menu.yaml file.

For example, to link to the homepage and an about page, we paste their relative URLs from the root of the site:

- name: Home
url: /
weight: 10
- name: About
url: about/
weight: 20

To order your links, set the weight options to any ascending numeric values. Here we use multiples of ten so that it’s easier to change the order in the future if we have many menu items.

Linking to page sections

To link to a section of the homepage, use the form #<section-filename> where <section-filename> is the filename (without .md extension). For example, #posts references a section with filename You can rename your section files in content/home/, just remember to use a dash (-) instead of spaces in the filename.


To create a dropdown sub-menu, add identifier: a-unique-reference to the parent item and parent: a-unique-reference to the child item, replacing a-unique-reference with a unique reference of your choice.

Example of creating a Tags sub-menu:

- name: Home
url: /
weight: 10
- name: Tags
identifier: tags
weight: 20
- name: Academic
parent: tags
url: tags/academic/
weight: 10

Learn more about the underlying Hugo menu system here.

Add your own message to the footer of a site using the notice text field in config/_default/params.yaml. The notice field supports two dynamic variables: {year} displays the current year and {license} will link to the copyright license if one is enabled.

Optionally, you can choose a Creative Commons copyright license too:

block: minimal
notice: '© {year} Me. This work is licensed under {license}'
enable: true
allow_derivatives: false
share_alike: true
allow_commercial: false
# For multilingual sites, show a language chooser in the footer?
show_translations: true

A copyright_license can also be displayed on a per-page basis by adding the option directly to a page’s front matter (see Page Features page).

For multilingual sites, you can display a language chooser in the footer using show_translations.

Want to swap out the minimal footer block for a different layout?

You can do that too by choosing a block from the block repository or from your local layouts/partials/components/footers/ folder.

Hide Published With Hugo Blox Builder

Want to hide or customize the Published with Hugo Blox Builder notice in the footer?

The notice can be automatically removed whilst ❤️ sponsoring ❤️ on the Creator tier or above.

Otherwise, please leave the attribution to this open source initiative that you benefit from intact. If the notice is not already translated for your language, refer to the Language guide to translate it.


The date, time, and address formats can be localized in config/_default/params.yaml. For example,

date_format: 'Jan 2, 2006'
time_format: '3:04 PM'
address_format: en-us

Date/time options

Hugo uses the following constants to format dates and times:

Year06 2006
Month01 1 Jan January
Day02 2 _2 (width two, right justified)
WeekdayMon Monday
Hours03 3 15
Minutes04 4
Seconds05 5
Offset-0700 -07 -07:00 Z0700 Z07:00

To modify the format, edit date_format and time_format in config/_default/params.yaml using the above constants. For example, some common formats are:

January 2, 2006Date
Mon, 02 Jan 2006
Monday, 02 Jan 2006
3:04 PM
15:04 MST

Address formats

If you display addresses on your site, such as for events or contact sections, you can choose an address format.

Don’t see the format you want? Contribute one or override the linked file to add your own.

Interface language

Personalise the interface text or choose a translation

Site Features

Refer to the Guides section of the documentation site for the main features such as SEO, page sharing, and commenting.

Additional site features that can be customized in params.yaml are covered below.


View the SEO guide →


View the Commenting guide →


View the Analytics guide →

Social sharing

View the Social Sharing guide →

Code syntax highlighting

Hugo’s code syntax highlighter is named Chroma. How can we customize Chroma’s light and dark styles?

Choose from one of the built-in styles including:

  • github-light
  • github-dark
  • dracula

or import a Hugo Chroma style to your assets/css/libs/chroma/ folder (creating the folders as needed). For example, to import the xcode style as xcode-light and xcode-dark as xcode-dark:

Terminal window
mkdir -p assets/css/libs/chroma/
hugo gen chromastyles --style=xcode > assets/css/libs/chroma/xcode-light.css
hugo gen chromastyles --style=xcode-dark > assets/css/libs/chroma/xcode-dark.css

Once you have chosen your styles, reference them in params.yaml:

theme_light: xcode-light
theme_dark: xcode-dark

Latex math

math: true


Draw diagrams on pages using the Markdown-like Mermaid syntax.

Diagrams are automatically detected and rendered without the need to configure anything.


When the privacy pack is activated, a cookie consent message will be shown to visitors (linking to your Privacy Policy) and visitor IPs anonymized in Google Analytics (if enabled).

Enabling the privacy pack in params.yaml:

privacy_pack: true

To add a Privacy Policy, create a file in your content folder and remove any draft option from the front matter to publish it.

Similarly, to add Legal Terms, create a file. Links to these documents will automatically appear in your site footer.

Let your users suggest improvements to pages.

Simply update the URL and branch to match those of your GitHub repository. Then set editable: true to page front matter and a link will be added to the page footer to let users edit the page within the GitHub Editor.

url: '<username>/<repository>'
content_dir: content
branch: main

Get feedback

Add a feedback widget to your docs pages (Book layout) to get feedback on your content and prioritise which pages to improve.

The feedback widget is displayed when Google Analytics is setup on a live, production Hugo site. You can simulate a live site locally by changing Hugo’s environment to production: hugo server -e production. It can be disabled by setting feedback: false in the front matter.

Here’s how you can configure your feedback responses in params.yaml:

positive: 'Glad to hear it! [Any ideas for improvements?](<USERNAME>/<REPO>/issues/new)'
negative: 'Sorry to hear that. [Please tell us how we can improve](<USERNAME>/<REPO>/issues/new).'

Note: browsers which block Google Analytics may also block the feedback widget.


Recommend similar content to your readers at the end of pages.

In your page front matter:

show_related: true

View the Search guide →


View the Security guide →


Choose a map provider in order to display a map in the Contact block.

The following map providers are supported: '' (no map), google, mapnik, or mapbox. Some map providers provide an api_key to set.

For example, to use Mapnik’s map service:

provider: 'mapnik'
api_key: ''
zoom: 15

After choosing a provider, set your map coordinates in your Contact widget in order to display a map:

latitude: '37.4275'
longitude: '-122.1697'

If you do not know your coordinates, you can retrieve them from Google Maps after searching for a location, or from alternative apps.