Free hosting for React apps: GitHub Pages and gh-pages

I work primarily with AWS and so my first choice for deployment of personal React projects is either a public S3 bucket with Static Website Hosting option enabled, or CloudFront with an S3 origin.

While costs for a site with low traffic will typically cost you < $1 a month with these options, there’s other options available that can be used for personal projects for free. Many of these are covered in this LogRocket article. If you’re already using GitHub, using GitHub Pages to host a React app is pretty easy with the gh-pages utility.

Assuming you have an exising React project, add gh-pages to your app:

npm i --save-dev gh-pages

Edit your package.json and add a couple of scripts:

    "predeploy": "npm run build",
    "deploy": "gh-pages -d build",

When you run ‘npm run deploy’ predeploy will run first to build your prod app, and then upload it to the remote origin for your git project. Note – this util assumes your GitHub remote repo is called origin, and it will fail with this error if it is called something else:

Failed to get remote.origin.url (task must either be run in a git repository with a configured origin remote or must be configured with the "repo" option).

If you name your remote GitHub repo something else, just add it again with the name origin ‘git remote add origin remote-repo-url’

When gh-pages runs, it uploads the built React app from ./build to a new branch on your repo called gh-pages. If you check the settings for your project, you should see the GitHub Pages settings for your app is configured to use this branch as it’s source:

If it’s using another branch change it to use gh-pages. Hit the url shown in the settings above to load your app from GitHub Pages!

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