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How to Create a React Application and Deploy It on GitHub Pages


How to Create a React Application and Deploy It on GitHub Pages


In this guide, we will go through the process of creating a React application and deploying it using GitHub Pages to make it available to the world, requiring only a few command lines in your terminal.

Quickly Start a React Application Using `create-react-app` CLI

Making a React application without any preparation can immediately get bulky and tedious. You need to start a npm venture, make a section point, arrangement webpack design for both advancement condition with hot-reloading and nearby HTTP server, and creation with code minification and uglification, you will likely additionally need to characterize a linter and... I think you get the point, there is a ton of activities before having a fully operational application and nobody needs to do the entirety of that each time one makes another React application. 

On account of the React team since they thought of a pleasant arrangement. A CLI answerable for mechanizing these undertakings in a solitary line order.

$ npx create-react-app demo-application

This simple command will create a React application in a new folder called /demo-application with all of the aforementionned features already set up.

From here, you should be able to start your application by simply navigating into your application folder and starting it using either npm or yarn:

$ cd demo-application
$ yarn start
// or
$ npm start

Your application, with a default home page generated by create-react-app CLI, should automatically start in your default browser.

Making Your App Available on the Internet Using GitHub Pages

Now that we have our application running locally, we really want to showcase all the magnificent work that we did to the world. A lot of platforms propose hosting front-end JavaScript applications. In this guide, we will focus on the one from GitHub, called GitHub Pages.

GitHub Pages is a service from GitHub that allows you to host your front-end application directly from your GitHub repository. All you have to do is to edit your code and push it on a specific git branch, or folder, of your repository and GitHub will automatically handle the rest for you. A prerequisite to using GitHub Pages is, obviously, to host your code in a GitHub repository. To do that, I would recommend the reading of this other Pluralsight guide Create a Git Repository and Branching Code about creating a Git repository and hosting it on GitHub.

At a glance, GitHub Pages will propose you to automatically deploy static resources that are present on a specific branch of your git project. By convention, people are generally using a gh-pages branch. So every time you need to push static resources (HTML, CSS, and JS) on this branch, they will automatically be deployed and accessible on

The Hard Way

In order to build your React application and generate static resources that are ready to be deployed from it, create-react-app CLI automatically created a build script in your package.json file. This command will build your application using your Webpack configuration for production and output the static resources under a build/ folder.

Before doing that, we have to indicate to webpack that our application will not run at the root level of our host but under a subpath on a page like

In your package.json file, add the homepage property.

"homepage": ""

This will help Webpack build the right path for your resources links. By default, Webpack assumes that your application is running at the root level and, in this case, your application wouldn't be able to find any static resources on

Now, to build your application, simply run the following command:

$ yarn build
// or
$ npm run build

You will see that a build/ folder has been created at the root of your project containing all the static resources needed to make your application run on an HTTP server.

Now, the goal is to create a git branch called gh-pages that will contain only the content of the build/ folder.

We need to create the branch and check it out.

$ git checkout -b gh-pages

And then, we’ll delete everything except the git related files and the build folder. Following that, we’ll move the content of the build/ folder at the root level and then commit and push our changes.

$ git commit -a -m "Create gh-pages branch with static content"
$ git push origin gh-pages

To activate the automatic deployment of your branch, go into the settings of your project on GitHub and in the GitHub Pages section, choose your gh-pages branch as a source.

From here, GitHub will automatically handle the rest of the work for you. It will detect that you pushed on this specific branch, deploy its static resources, and expose it on an url like

Do Not Reinvent the Wheel

You may have noticed that it is a bit cumbersome to remove everything in the gh-pages branch and to keep only the static resources each time we want to deploy our application. Some smart guys created a tool to automatically purge the unnecessary files from this branch, keeping only the ones having been generated during the build process and pushing your gh-pages branch on your GitHub repository.

This tool is called gh-pages.

In order to use it, we will install it as an npm dev dependency of our project.

$ yarn add -D gh-pages
// or
$ npm i -D gh-pages

While this tool can be used programmatically, in the context of this guide we will focus on using its command line feature. What we would like to have is an npm script that will allow us to deploy our application on GitHub Pages with a single command.

Let’s add a new script definition under the scripts section in our package.json file.

"scripts": {
  // ... Other scripts generated by create-react-app
  "deploy": "gh-pages -d build"

We are now able to deploy our application by simply running:

$ yarn deploy
// or
$ npm run deploy


Right now, perceived how we can rapidly framework and send a React application. In no time flat, and after some order lines execution, you have an application ready for action and accessible to the world. 

In the event that you have been visiting some GitHub stores from notable libraries or apparatuses, you may have seen that GitHub Pages is frequently used to have documentation or points of arrival introducing the venture. Be that as it may, it could likewise be utilized to have a little front-end application, grandstand your own portfolio to others, or even present a portion of your work to associates as this component is additionally accessible on GitHub Enterprise.