Run Hugo Server With Custom Config Options

Published: Oct 25, 2018
Updated: Feb 28, 2022

The idea originally came from this hugo discussion forum post.

There was a commit (it has since been reverted) that removed the disableFastRender flag from the config.toml options. So instead of running hugo server and it picking up the flag from your config file, you’d now have to run hugo server --disableFastRender.

I figured there had to be a way to alias this command in bash, and of course, there was. After reading through many examples of how others accomplished this with a bash function, the following did the trick for me.

Bash Function #

For Mac users, add this to your shell config file. For Linux users, add this to your .bashrc.

hugo() {
    if [[ "$@" == server* ]]; then
        command hugo server --disableFastRender "$options"
        command hugo "$@"

Explained #

Anytime a command that starts with hugo is entered, this function will run:


If the first word after hugo is server, then go into the if block. This way, you could still run something like hugo new post/ without issue:

if [[ "$@" == server* ]]; then

Use parameter substitution to remove server from the list of options passed in, so that it isn’t incorrectly appended to the end of the command:


Run hugo server with the --disableFastRender flag, then append any additional options passed in. You can add more default options, such as --buildDrafts to include content marked as draft, or --verbose for verbose output:

command hugo server --disableFastRender "$options"

If the first word after hugo is not server, then run the hugo command, and any additional options passed in, as usual:

command hugo "$@"