The source files to my blog are located in a private Git repository on GitHub. From the first day, I was unhappy with the workflow I had:

graph LR write[Write a post] git[Git Commit] build[Build the site via Jekyll] deploy[Upload via FTP] check[Check that nothing broke] write --> git git --> build build --> deploy deploy --> check

The main problem really was the FTP upload - I don’t know a single convenient FTP client.

That led me research a way to omit most of these steps. I already had heard about Continuous Integration with Travis CI and wanted to try out Firebase. When I then saw that Travis supports Firebase deployment, I knew what to do: make it work.

I moved yesterday, and now my workflow looks like this:

graph LR write[Write a post] git[Git Commit] write --> git

Meet: Firebase, Travis CI

  • Firebase is a BaaS (Backend as a Service) by Google. It makes high-performance Web-Apps possible by providing Storage, a Realtime-Database, and a CDN for delivery. It is meant both for conventional Apps and Progressive Web Apps. While static web hosting for blogs is not its selling point, it can be used for that as well.

  • Travis CI is a Continous Integration-Service by a german startup located in Berlin. Continous Integration means that it does the whole build-chain as well as the deployment for you. In the context of my blog, the CI gets triggered everytime a commit happens on the Git repository. It then build the webpage using Jekyll, and when there are no errors in the process, it deploys the _site directory.

How do you make this work?

There are three steps that need to be done:

  • Setup Travis
  • Setup Firebase
  • Connect the two.
Travis CI

Configuring the Webhook for Travis is simple: Just go to (in case your repo is public) / (in case your repo is private), login with your GitHub account and connect the repository by flipping the corresponding switch.

Travis CI Switch

Then you need to configure Travis: Create a new file called .travis.yml in the root directory of your blog. Paste this content:

language: ruby
- 2.3.3
- chmod +x ./build/
script: ./build/
sudo: false
  skip_cleanup: true
  provider: firebase
    secure: #Token goes here

Lets go through this:

  • language: ruby specifies that Travis needs to install Ruby. This is needed because Jekyll depends on Ruby. rvm: - 2.3.3 specifies the version to install.
  • before_script: contains all prerequisites that need to be met before any building is done. chmod +x ./build/ adds the executable byte to This is needed so that the script can be executed.
  • sudo: false tells Travis that this build can be executed on their Containers, and that no real machine is needed for this. This is done to improve build speeds.
  • deploy: contains the information where the built files need to be delivered.
    • skip_cleanup: true is essential: without that tag, Travis restores the directory to its original state - and deletes the _site directory. We don’ want that.
    • provider: firebase is self-explaining
    • token: secure: contains the encrypted API key given by Firebase. I’ll come back to that later.

To test if it works so far, you can remove the deploy: part. Now, when you do a commit, you’ll see that Travis start’s a build.


Go to and create a new project. Then, download the Firebase tools by running npm install -g firebase-tools. Navigate to your blog directory and run firebase init.
Select Hosting, your project name, and enter _site when you get asked for the public directory.

You can test that deploying works by running firebase deploy.

Connect the two

Once both Travis and Firebase works, you can connect the two. For that, you need to give Travis access to your Firebase project. Run firebase login:ci to generate an API key. Basically, you now could paste this key into your .travis.yml, but I highly recommend encrypting your key at first.

Install the Travis tools by running gem install travis. Then encrypt your key by running travis encrypt YOUR_API_KEY. Replace the place holder in your .travis.yml with that key, and now this should work!

Advantages of this setup

Using Continuous Integration has one big advantage: You don’t need to deploy yourself. This all get’s done by Travis, which makes posting really easy.

I’m sure Firebase isn’t the only hosting service that works with CI. AWS and Heroku also are supported, and you can make every service work with Travis.

Firebase has the advantage that it is free (until a certain point in traffic) and has a great CDN. But to be fair - moving to another hoster shouldn’t be too hard.

I’m happy that this worked out :D