Emil Miler

Zola deployment with Gitea Actions and Rsync

Gitea now has a native support for Actions, which is a clone of GitHub Actions with the same syntax. Since Drone CI – which was the topic of an older article – seems to get slowly abandoned by upstream and Gitea Actions are now stable, it is a good idea to switch.

This article shares a lot of similarities with the old Drone CI post.

The main advantage of Gitea Actions is a native integration to the Gitea UI. Al we need to do is prepare an Act Runner. Compatibility with the more widely used GitHub Actions is also nice.


The Act Runner reads the private key from a secret and uses it for SSH authentication. I am deliberately not using some random external modules for Rsync, since it is more trustworthy to execute your own code. The ssh-agent is necessary for a successful auth.

Zola is also installed by pulling a built release tar and extracting the binary. I have tried using the official Zola container, but it just would not work properly.

name: Build

      - master

  ZOLA_VERSION: "0.18.0"
  HOST: ${{ secrets.SSH_HOSTNAME }}
  HOST_DIR: ${{ secrets.SSH_TARGET_DIR }}

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest

      - name: Checkout repository
        uses: actions/checkout@v4

      - name: Install Zola
        run: |
          wget https://github.com/getzola/zola/releases/download/v${ZOLA_VERSION}/zola-v${ZOLA_VERSION}-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu.tar.gz
          tar -xvzf *.tar.gz

      - name: Build
        run: ./zola build

      - name: Deploy
        run: |
          apt update -y && apt-get install -y --no-install-recommends rsync
          eval "$(ssh-agent -s)"
          ssh-add - <<< "${SSH_PRIVATE_KEY}"
          mkdir -p ~/.ssh/
          ssh-keyscan -H ${HOST} >> ~/.ssh/known_hosts
          rsync -r --delete-after public/* "${SSH_USERNAME}@${HOST}:${HOST_DIR}"

Webserver configuration

The server needs a new user with write access to the website root directory. I still call it drone for the sake of not having to redo my server configuration.

useradd drone
mkdir -p /srv/www/em.0x45.cz
chown drone:drone /srv/www/em.0x45.cz

SSH keys

Create a keypair for SSH connection from Drone to our deployment server.

ssh-keygen -t ed25519

Public key has to be added to ~/.ssh/authorized_keys of the “drone” user.


SSH_HOSTNAMEServer hostname
SSH_TARGET_DIRWebsite root directory
SSH_USERNAMEIn our case “drone”
SSH_PRIVATE_KEYPlaintext private key
2024-01-19, Emil Miler