Boris Budini

Kominoshja's mindscape

Automation between your server and GitHub

When you're too busy to git pull

A few months ago, I was asked to find a way of automating one of Ura’s production servers, to automatically get the code from GitHub, compile it, and then serve it. We were using Jekyll, so it was pretty easy to be solved.. except for the automatic pull. I ended up using a php script + webhooks.

So, first things firsts

What is a webhook?

A webhook is a pretty cool method of communication between servers. Think of it this way. We have server A and server B. Whenever server A finishes a task, server B needs to be informed. This is where webhooks come in. After the task in server A is completed, it sends a webhook to server B. Webhook is kind of like a message!

What programming language did you use?

I ended up using PHP.

So, how did I do it?

I installed Apache2 & PHP7.2

apt install -y apache2 php7.0

First, i ran git clone [URL] on /var/www which created /var/www/repo

Then i created /var/www/repo/script and under that directory, a file named [name].php. There, i pasted the content of this script written by oodavid

I set the permission to Apache user (-R means recursive)

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/repo

I then executed this command from inside /var/www/repo

bundle exec jekyll serve --watch

on a tmux window. This allows the website to be updated everytime there’s a file change My apache site config file looks like this

<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerName ..................

        ProxyPass /script !
        Alias "/script" "/var/www/..../script/deploy.php"

        ProxyPass /
        ProxyPassReverse /

        ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
        CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

        <Directory "/var/www/....">
        AllowOverride All

So on the appropriate repo on GitHub, i set a JSON webhook On push events, with the url [URL]/script

Okay, but why?

This kind of automation allows us to do many fun stuff. Back in March, it was impossible to have custom domains on GitHub pages WITH SSL. Our develpers didn’t have access to servers, so this helped us to have,, and allowed me to have

But this isn’t it’s only use case. On Identihub, we have 4 main facing Identihub instances. There’s Demo, which is our showcase, Master, Dev, and Test. The last three are automatically synced with this very same method! So, you can achieve realtime deployment with little to no hassle.