An introduction to Github and Webhooks

In the world of software development, my quest to understand continuous deployment led me down an intriguing path. It all began with a burning desire to unravel the complexities of continuous deployment while steering clear of expensive cloud hosting services. And that’s when my DIY GitHub Webhook Server project came to life.

The Genesis

Imagine being in my shoes—eager to dive deeper into the continuous deployment process. But I didn’t want to rely on pricey cloud solutions. So, I set out to craft a DIY GitHub Webhook Server capable of handling GitHub webhooks and automating tasks upon code updates—right from my local machine. Or any machine for that matter.

The Vision

Let’s visualize a scenario with a repository—let’s call it “MyAwesomeProject”— sitting in Github, and you are somewhere in a remote cabin with okey / dicey internet access. All you have is your laptop (let’s make it a Chromebook!!). You want to code snugly, and you want to update your server that sits at home. But… You don’t WANT to remote in your server. You want it to be automatic. Like magic.

You would have to be prepared. You would clone my repo, configure your server (including port forwarding), and maybe use something like so you have a “fixed” URL to use your webhook with. Then:

  1. Configuring Your Repository: Start by defining the essential details of “MyAwesomeProject” within the repositories.json file—things like secretEnvName, path, webhookPath, and composeFile.
  "repositories": [
      "name": "MyAwesomeProject",
      "secretEnvName": "GITHUB_WEBHOOK_SECRET",
      "path": "/path/to/MyAwesomeProject",
      "webhookPath": "/webhook/my-awesome-project",
      "composeFile": "docker-compose.yml"
  1. Setting Up Your GitHub Webhook: Head over to your “MyAwesomeProject” repository on GitHub and configure a webhook. Simply point the payload URL to your server’s endpoint (e.g.,
  2. Filtering Events: The server is smartly configured to respond only to push events occurring on the ‘main’ branch (refs/heads/main). This ensures that actions are triggered exclusively upon successful pushes to this branch.
  3. Actions in Motion: Upon receiving a valid push event, the server swings into action—automatically executing a git pull on the ‘main’ branch of “MyAwesomeProject.” Subsequently, Docker containers are rebuilt using the specified docker-compose.yml file.

So, there you have it—a simplified solution for automating your project workflows using GitHub webhooks and a self-hosted server. But before we sign off, let’s talk security.

For an added layer of protection, consider setting up an Nginx server with a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate. This secures the communication channel between GitHub and your server, ensuring data integrity and confidentiality.

While this article delves into the core aspects of webhook configuration and automation, diving into SSL setup with Nginx warrants its own discussion. Stay tuned for a follow-up article that covers this crucial security setup, fortifying your webhook infrastructure against potential vulnerabilities.

Through this journey of crafting my DIY GitHub Webhook Server, I’ve unlocked a deeper understanding of continuous deployment. Setting up repositories, configuring webhooks, and automating tasks upon code updates—all from my local setup—has been an enlightening experience. And it’s shown me that grasping the nuances of continuous deployment doesn’t always require expensive cloud solutions.



Demo app (where I use this):

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