Automatic deployment of Github repositories to a web server using SFTP

Git and Github are amazing tools for managing projects and are being used widely to manage various web applications among other projects.  Even though it is very efficient to manage codebase of the project, there is one concern. Since generally the project is developed at a different location and then deployed to the production server, it becomes burdensome to keep both the instances in sync.

One of the most basic methods to achieve this is to push the changes at the developing instance to Github and then pull them to the instance on the server. A slightly better and less stringent option would be to use tools like git-ftp.

From git-ftp’s documentation

If you use Git and you need to upload your files to an FTP server, Git-ftp can save you some time and bandwidth by uploading only those files that changed since the last upload.

Despite the fact that it decreases the strenuous work of accessing the server and pulling the changes, but there is a caveat. In the world of Version Control, a lot of projects are developed in collaboration with various contributors and it wouldn’t be wise to give everybody access to the server.

Among the different ways to facilitate the task of keeping the two instances in sync, there is one way using which we can automate the deployment process of a Github repository to a web server and keep it in sync. We can achieve this by using a script that executes git-ftp commands in every CI build.

The script does include some dependencies but at the crux of it are the following commands.

git config git-ftp.url $FTP_URL
git config git-ftp.user $FTP_USER
git config git-ftp.password $FTP_PASSWORD

if ! git ftp push ; then
  git ftp init

Travis configuration

sudo: required

- sudo apt-get install build-essential debhelper libssh2-1-dev
- sudo apt-get source libcurl13
- sudo apt-get build-dep libcurl13
- sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:git-ftp/ppa
- sudo apt-get update
- sudo apt-get install git-ftp

- source <(curl -s