How I use Codeship and DigitalOcean to deploy websites

Services like GitHub and Gitlab allow users to deploy static sites with a push commit. You can even add a custom domain and have the site served from it instead of the standard * and * domains. But what if you have your own VPS and want the same experience?

I have been a long-time user of Codeship. I, initially started using it to deploy coding challenges when applying to various companies but then, one weekend, I realised I could do the same with this site as well.

This article will guide you through my way of deploying static sites. I want to be able to do a push commit, and the site should automatically be live in a few minutes. If you want a similar experience, read on.


  • I use Jekyll on this site, just because it’s simple and works out of the box. I used Hugo for a while but I could never figure out how permalinks and URLs work there.

  • I use Bitbucket to store this site’s code in a private repository.

  • I have a DigitalOcean droplet which serves my Nextcloud instance and this site.

  • As mentioned, I use Codeship to make the magic happen. I highly recommend checking them out. Their free tier works for most scenarios.


At this point, I’m assuming that you have a static site that you want to deploy stored in a repository somewhere. I’ll be using Bitbucket in this case, but any git provider will do.

Setting up Codeship

  • Log in to Codeship and create a new project

  • In the free tier (at least), you can only create a new project from GitHub, Bitbucket or GitLab.

  • Make sure you have your repository SSH URL handy. It looks like:

  • For project type, select Codeship Basic. Although I would highly recommend checking out their Pro plans in case you need more control.

  • You will land on the Tests page. Click on Deploy where you will have to give a branch name that Codeship will watch and do subsequent builds from. In my case, if any commits are pushed to master (including pull requests), a build is triggered.

  • Once done, click Save and go to Dashboard. Codeship is all set to watch your master branch for changes and trigger a build.


Once a build is triggered and successfully finished, you want to deploy your site to a VPS. As mentioned previously, I will be using a DigitalOcean droplet.

  • Every project on Codeship has a public SSH key. Go to project > General settings and you should find it there. Make sure this key is authorized on your DigitalOcean droplet as it will be used to automatically push code to your droplet.

  • To push code from Codeship to your droplet, we will use Secure Copy or scp. Add the following command as a Custom Script under the Deployment Settings of your Codeship project.

scp -rp ~/clone/* user@droplet:/var/www/html/<folder>
  • The above command will deploy your built code to a folder on your droplet.

  • For Jekyll sites, the final code lives in the public directory by default. Point the .htaccess file on your droplet to the public folder and you should be set!

Helpful links: