Academic: the website designer for Hugo

Create a beautifully simple website in under 10 minutes 🚀

Image credit: Unsplash

Academicccccc makes it easy to create a beautiful website for free using Markdown. Customize anything on your site with widgets, themes, and language packs.

Follow our easy step by step guide to learn how to build your own free website with Academic. Check out the personal demo or the business demo of what you’ll get in less than 10 minutes.


Key features:

  • Easily manage various content including homepage, blog posts, publications, talks, and projects
  • Extensible via color themes and widgets/plugins
  • Write in Markdown for easy formatting and code highlighting, with LaTeX for mathematical expressions
  • Social/academic network linking, Google Analytics, and Disqus comments
  • Responsive and mobile friendly
  • Simple and refreshing one page design
  • Multilingual and easy to customize

Color Themes

Academic is available in different color themes and font themes.


  • Academic Admin: An admin tool to import publications from BibTeX or import assets for an offline site
  • Academic Scripts: Scripts to help migrate content to new versions of Academic


You can choose from one of the following four methods to install:

  • one-click install using your web browser (recommended)
  • install on your computer using Git with the Command Prompt/Terminal app
  • install on your computer by downloading the ZIP files
  • install on your computer with RStudio

Quick install using your web browser

  1. Install Academic with Netlify
    • Netlify will provide you with a customizable URL to access your new site
  2. On GitHub, go to your newly created academic-kickstart repository and edit config.toml to personalize your site. Shortly after saving the file, your site will automatically update
  3. Read the Quick Start Guide to learn how to add Markdown content. For inspiration, refer to the Markdown content which powers the Demo

Install with Git


  1. Fork the Academic Kickstart repository and clone your fork with Git:

     git clone My_Website

    Note that if you forked Academic Kickstart, the above command should be edited to clone your fork, i.e. replace sourcethemes with your GitHub username.

  2. Initialize the theme:

     cd My_Website
     git submodule update --init --recursive

Install with ZIP

  1. Download and extract Academic Kickstart
  2. Download and extract the Academic theme to the themes/academic/ folder from the above step

Install with RStudio

View the guide to installing Academic with RStudio

Quick start

  1. If you installed on your computer, view your new website by running the following command:

     hugo server

    Now visit localhost:1313 and your new Academic powered website will appear. Otherwise, if using Netlify, they will provide you with your URL.

  2. Read the Quick Start Guide to learn how to add Markdown content, customize your site, and deploy it. For inspiration, refer to the Markdown content which powers the Demo

  3. Build your site by running the hugo command. Then host it for free using Github Pages or Netlify (refer to the first installation method). Alternatively, copy the generated public/ directory (by FTP, Rsync, etc.) to your production web server (such as a university’s hosting service).


Feel free to star the project on Github to help keep track of updates and check out the release notes prior to updating your site.

Before updating the framework, it is recommended to make a backup of your entire website directory (or at least your themes/academic directory) and record your current version number.

By default, Academic is installed as a Git submodule which can be updated by running the following command:

git submodule update --remote --merge

Check out the update guide for full instructions and alternative methods.

Feedback & Contributing

Please use the issue tracker to let me know about any bugs or feature requests, or alternatively make a pull request.

For support, head over to the Hugo discussion forum.


Copyright 2016-present George Cushen.

Released under the MIT license.

Joris Falip
Joris Falip
Associate professor

My research interests include artificial intelligence, exploratory data analysis and coding.