Automatic Website Publishing with on Mac OS X

On a recent project I collaborated on, deployment happened via, a Python script which automatically publishes your git repository to an FTP server.

The script itself works with with an git-rev.txt file on the FTP server which keeps track of the last published commit. When deploying via, the script only uploads the changes made since the last published commit.


Installing git-ftp relies on GitPython which itself can easily be installed using easy_install if you don’t want to worry about dependencies and the like.

  1. Install easy_install
    • Check your python version at the Terminal by running python (quit the python prompt by running exit() or hitting CTRL+D)
    • Download the correct .egg from (in my case: the one with 2.7 in its filename as my python version is 2.7.1)
    • Install it at the Terminal with sudo sh setuptools-0.6c11-py2.7.egg
  2. Install GitPython using easy_install
    • Just run sudo easy_install GitPython in Terminal and it’ll install GitPython along with all its dependencies for you
  3. Install


Deploying with

Before being able to deploy with, you’ll have to provide it some FTP credentials. To do so, create a file ftpdata inside the (hidden) .git folder of your project (so the file is /path/to/project/.git/ftpdata). Set the contents of it to something like this:


Note: you can add per-branch credentials if you want. Just duplicate the block and change [master] to the name of the branch you’re targetting.

Once configured, you can start deploying using this command:

python ~/Library/

The script will output a list of all files that were uploaded.

Note: If you run for the very first time on an FTP server containing an already published version of the project you should first place a git-rev.txt file on the server. Set the contents of the file to the SHA1 of the last commit which is already present on the server. Otherwise will upload the whole repository which is not necessary.


Pro tip #1: set up an alias and save some time

In order to not having to type the entire publishing command all the time, set up an alias in .bash_profile. Run these commands at the Terminal:

echo "alias git-ftp='python ~/Library/'" >> ~/.bash_profile
source ~/.bash_profile

That way you can deploying using this command:



Pro tip #2: Use a bare repository as a proxy

With, it’s also possible to have a repository automatically publish when it’s being pushed upon. The project has full instructions on how to set this up (haven’t used it myself).


Happy Deploying!

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Note: Whilst researching this I’ve stumbled upon git-ftp (not the same as!), a shell script which – if I understand correctly – does about the same.

Alternatively – if you have Transmit – you could use Dock Send along with git-transmit.

If you’re more fond of the GitHub way of publishing (using a gh-pages branch), you’ll want to check out my own guide on Automatic website publishing with Git, GitHub-Style.

Finally, if you’re running all-Linux machines with SSH enabled, you’ll be better of with Capistrano.

Published by Bramus!

Bramus is a frontend web developer from Belgium, working as a Chrome Developer Relations Engineer at Google. From the moment he discovered view-source at the age of 14 (way back in 1997), he fell in love with the web and has been tinkering with it ever since (more …)

Unless noted otherwise, the contents of this post are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License and code samples are licensed under the MIT License

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