Create a site with Github/Gitlab

Create your site

After choosing a template above, you’ll be greeted with the welcome screen below.

Click the big Connect To Github button on the welcome screen (or alternatively click the link underneath to connect with Gitlab):

Netlify welcome screen

Login with your Github account (or create a new Github account):

Login with your Github account (or create a new Github account)

Click Save & Deploy to create a repository for your site in Github:

Confirm creation of a repository for your site in Github

Netlify will now generate your new site. Generally this takes around 1 to 5 minutes, but can take longer during busy periods. You’ll see the green “Published” notice appear under Production Deploys once it has completed.

Netlify will now generate your shiny new site
In the very unlikely case the build fails with a red “Failed” notice, click on the notice, and review the log. During exceptionally busy periods the error may read Error scheduling build in which case, wait a minute and then click Retry Deploy > Deploy Site to retry.

The random URL assigned to us by Netlify is quite irrelevant. Let’s customize the URL to something more relevant to our site…

View your domain (URL)

Click Edit site name

Click edit site name

Enter your name, separating your first and last name with a hyphen (-) rather than a space.

Alternatively, enter an organisation name if you’re creating a site for an organisation.

Some creativity may be required to find a subdomain that is freely available. Don’t worry about finding the perfect subdomain as later, we’ll register our own custom domain name and connect it with our site.

Click edit site name

Lastly, click Save to update our Netlify subdomain.

Awesome! We can now visit the site at the URL you chose!

Depending on the template we chose, we’ll see something similar to the Academic Starter Demo, but without the demo content.

Now, let’s personalize our shiny new site based on our requirements ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Personalize your site

Login to GitHub and view the starter-... repository which you created in the steps above:

View your site’s Markdown files on Github

Let’s click through to the config/_default/ folder:

Following this guide, we can click a file within the config/_default/ folder, click the pencil icon in the top right to edit the settings, and scroll to the bottom of the page to click the green Commit changes button to save the file. Optionally, when saving the file, we can add a message for our records, to describe the change.

First, let’s edit config.toml to update our site with a title (such as your name or organisation) and the URL assigned to us by Netlify:

Click the green Commit changes button to save the config.toml file:

Next, let’s edit params.toml to choose a theme and decide which features we’d like to use on our site. The Getting Started guide walks us through the main options to personalize our site.

Click the green Commit changes button to save the params.toml file:

A few minutes after saving (i.e. committing a file), your site will automatically update.

Next, let’s setup the admin panel and use it to edit our author profile and begin adding content to our site!

Write content online

To easily edit your site in a rich online editor in your browser,

1. Enable the CMS integration

For the Academic template, you can skip this step as the module is enabled by default.

For other templates, browse your GitHub project to check that the CMS module is added to your config/_defaults/config.toml:

# At the bottom of your `config.toml` is a Module section:

  # Your existing modules will appear here.

  # Add the CMS module below, if it has not already been added:
    path = ""

and that the Netlify CMS integration is enabled in your config/_defaults/params.toml:

  netlify_cms = true

2. Enable Netlify Identity

  • Login to Netlify and click the site you deployed with Netlify
  • Go to Settings > Identity, and select Enable Identity service
  • Under Registration preferences, select Invite Only
  • Scroll down to Services > Git Gateway, and click Enable Git Gateway
    • This allows editors to write content without needing a GitHub account

3. Invite editors

Head to the Identity tab at the top of the Netlify dashboard and then click the Invite Users button.

Head to the Identity tab at the top of the Netlify dashboard and then click the Invite Users button.

Invite yourself and any collaborators to become editors.

Invite yourself and any collaborators to become editors.

4. Login to the editor

Head over to to view your content management panel and begin publishing content, replacing YOUR_SITE with the subdomain assigned to you earlier in this guide (or your custom URL, in the form

For support with Netlify CMS admin panel, refer to the Netlify CMS docs and the very active Netlify CMS community.

Check out the Content and Elements guides to learn about all the different kinds of content we can create with Wowchemy.

Note that the preview window in the online editor is limited to rendering basic Markdown and doesn’t accurately represent how your site will be rendered. However, it can be useful for getting started or writing on the go.

For the full experience of seeing exactly what you are editing, check out the next section to edit on your computer.

If you prefer not to use the admin panel, you can optionally delete the admin folder at static/admin/ (if exists), remove the module.imports block for ...netlify-cms... from config/_default/config.toml (if exists), and set netlify_cms = false under the [cms] section of config/_default/params.toml.

Personalize your homepage

View the Homepage Builder guide to learn how to add widgets to the homepage or other widget pages.

Navigate to the content/home/ folder in Github to edit your homepage widgets or to create/remove widgets.

Edit content on your computer

You can also edit your site on your computer with the beautifully simple Typora editor (which supports math and diagrams).

Other popular editors include Visual Studio Code, RStudio for Rmarkdown content, or JupyterLab for data science content.

View the guide to edit on your computer.


For inspiration, refer to the Markdown content which powers the demo of Academic Template.

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