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Deploy Material for MkDocs Insiders Using GitHub Actions

This site is built using Material for MkDocs Insiders, the sponsorware version of Material for MkDocs, which includes a number of features not in the publically available version. Notable features used by this site are:

Getting Started

You will need Python 3.10 (I strongly recommend using pyenv), Poetry and a GitHub repository. If you are on macOS, check out my guide on macOS Setup to get your development environment up and running.

Poetry Init

First you need to create a pyproject.toml file, which will define the packages uses for building the site. This can be done interactively by running poetry init in the base folder of your repo.

poetry init

The output should look something like below. Don't define your dependencies interactively, you'll setup a GitHub token in later steps which will let us access the Insiders repo. For the rest of the prompts, the defaults are typically good enough.

$ poetry init

This command will guide you through creating your pyproject.toml config.

Package name [website-test]:  
Version [0.1.0]:  
Description []:  
Author [Andrew LeCody <>, n to skip]:  
License []:  
Compatible Python versions [^3.10]:  

Would you like to define your main dependencies interactively? (yes/no) [yes] no
Would you like to define your development dependencies interactively? (yes/no) [yes] no
Generated file

name = "website-test"
version = "0.1.0"
description = ""
authors = ["Andrew LeCody <>"]
readme = ""
packages = [{include = "website_test"}]

python = "^3.10"

requires = ["poetry-core"]
build-backend = "poetry.core.masonry.api"

Do you confirm generation? (yes/no) [yes]

GitHub Token

You need to create a Personal Access Token and set it as the environment variable $GH_TOKEN.

  1. Go to
  2. Click on "Generate a new token" in the top right.
  3. Enter a name for your token and set the expiration. You'll have to generate a new token once this one expires.
  4. Select just the repo scope.
  5. Generate the token, on the next page you need to copy the token (it should start with ghp_).
  6. Edit the settings file for your shell (~/.bashrc or ~/.zshrc)

    export GH_TOKEN="paste_token_here"
  7. Reload your shell (or just run that export command) so that the $GH_TOKEN environment variable is active.

  8. You can verify the variable is loaded by running echo $GH_TOKEN, if your token appears, you are ready to continue.

Configure Poetry

Poetry needs to be told how to access the Insiders repo, using the GitHub token you generated.

poetry config repositories.github-squidfunk-mkdocs
poetry config http-basic.github-squidfunk-mkdocs username $GH_TOKEN

Now you are ready to install Material for MkDocs Insiders.

poetry add git+

This is optional, but I install some additional packages. I use the minify plugin to shrink the built HTML files, while Pillow and CairoSVG are needed for the social media cards.

poetry add mkdocs-minify-plugin Pillow CairoSVG

Build Your Site

There are a lot of great guides out there on building a site with MkDocs so I won't get into it. Feel free to check out my repo on GitHub to see how I have this site setup:

Since mkdocs was installed via Poetry, you'll need to call it with poetry run mkdocs. For example, to run the development server:

poetry run mkdocs serve

GitHub Pages

If you haven't already, go into the settings for you GitHub repo and enable Pages. Under "Build and deployment" you'll want to select "GitHub Actions" as the source.

GitHub Actions

All that's left now is to configure a workflow to build and publish the site. Place the following file in your repo, commit your changes, push to GitHub and sit back!

name: Pages
      - main
  # workflow_dispatch allows the site to be rebuilt and published manually if needed

# Grant GITHUB_TOKEN the permissions required to make a Pages deployment
  pages: write # to deploy to Pages
  id-token: write # to verify the deployment originates from an appropriate source

concurrency: pages-build-and-deploy

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    # Running this action on a fork will likely fail anyway
    # unless the forked repo also has access to material for mkdocs insiders
    if: github.event.repository.fork == false
      - uses: actions/checkout@v3

      # The .cache directory is used for 3rd party assets, as part of the privacy plugin.
      # It is also used to cache the generated social media cards.
      # Persisting the cache across builds dramatically speeds up the process.
      - name: Load site cache
        uses: actions/cache@v3
          key: ${{ github.ref }}
          path: .cache

      # We use poetry to manage mkdocs, plugins, etc
      - name: Install poetry
        run: pipx install poetry

      - name: Setup Python
        id: setup-python
        uses: actions/setup-python@v4
          python-version: "3.11"
          # This ensures the package cache for poetry/pip is persisted, again speeding up this build action.
          cache: "poetry"

      # Insiders is the sponsorware version of Material for MkDocs
      - name: Configure auth for Insiders
        run: |
          poetry config repositories.github-squidfunk-mkdocs
          poetry config http-basic.github-squidfunk-mkdocs username ${{ secrets.GH_TOKEN }}
      - name: Install deps
        run: poetry install
      - name: Build site
        run: poetry run mkdocs build

      # Upload the built site as an artifact, this will be used by the deploy job.
      - uses: actions/upload-pages-artifact@v1
          path: "site"

    needs: build

    # Deploy to the github-pages environment
      name: github-pages
      url: ${{ steps.deployment.outputs.page_url }}

    # Specify runner + deployment step
    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      - name: Deploy to GitHub Pages
        id: deployment
        uses: actions/deploy-pages@v2