A tool for automatically deploying docs from Travis CI to GitHub pages.

Doctr helps deploy things to GitHub pages from Travis CI by managing the otherwise complicated tasks of generating, encrypting, managing SSH deploy keys, and syncing files to the gh-pages branch. Doctr was originally designed for documentation, but it can be used to deploy any kind of website to GitHub pages that can be built on Travis CI. For example, you can use Doctr to deploy a blog or website that uses a static site generator.

Contribute to Doctr development on GitHub.


Install Doctr with pip

pip install doctr

or conda

conda install -c conda-forge doctr

Note that Doctr requires Python 3.5 or newer.


Run Doctr configure

First use Doctr to generate the necessary key files so that travis can push to your gh-pages (or other) branch.


doctr configure

and enter your data. You will need your GitHub username and password, and the repo organization / name for which you want to build the docs.

Note: That repo should already be set up with Travis. We recommend enabling branch protection for the gh-pages branch and other branches, as the deploy key used by Doctr has the ability to push to any branch in your repo.

Edit your travis file

Doctr will output a bunch of text as well as instructions for next steps. You need to edit your .travis.yml with this text. It contains the secure key that lets travis communicate with your GitHub repository, as well as the code to run (in script:) in order to build the docs and deploy Doctr.

Your .travis.yml file should look something like this:

# Doctr requires python >=3.5
language: python
  - 3.6

# This gives Doctr the key we've generated
sudo: false
    secure: "<your secure key from Doctr here>"

# This is the script to build the docs on travis, then deploy
  - set -e
  - pip install doctr
  - cd docs
  - make html
  - cd ..
  - doctr deploy . --built-docs path/to/built/html/

See the travis config file used by Doctr itself for example.

You can deploy to a different folder by giving it a different path in the call to deploy. E.g., doctr deploy docs/.

If you don’t already have a gh_pages branch Doctr will make one for you.


Be sure to add set -e in script, to prevent doctr from running when the docs build fails.

Put doctr deploy . in the script section of your .travis.yml. If you use after_success, it will not cause the build to fail.

Commit your new files and build your site

doctr configure will create a new file that contains your key. Commit this as well as the changes to .travis.yml. Once you push to GitHub, travis should now automatically build your documentation and deploy it.


Doctr requires Python 3.5 or newer. Be sure to run it in a Python 3.5 or newer section of your build matrix. It should be in the same build in your build matrix as your docs build, as it reuses that.

Doctr does not require Sphinx. It will work with deploying anything to GitHub pages. However, if you do use Sphinx, Doctr will find your Sphinx docs automatically (otherwise use doctr deploy . --built-docs <DOCS PATH>).


  • Why did you build this?

    Deploying to GitHub pages from Travis is not amazingly difficult, but it’s difficult enough that we wanted to write the code to do it once. We found that Travis docs uploading scripts are cargo culted and done in a way that is difficult to reproduce, especially the do-once steps of setting up keys. The doctr configure command handles key generation automatically, and tells you everything you need to do to set Doctr up. It is also completely self-contained (it does not depend on the travis Ruby gem). The doctr deploy command handles key decryption (for deploy keys) and hiding tokens from the command output (for personal access tokens).

    Furthermore, most Travis deploy guides that we’ve found recommend setting up a GitHub personal access token to push to GitHub pages. GitHub personal access tokens grant read/write access to all public GitHub repositories for a given user. A more secure way is to use a GitHub deploy key, which grants read/write access only to a single repository. Doctr creates a GitHub deploy key by default (although the option to use a token exists if you know what you are doing).

  • Why not Read the Docs?

    Read the Docs is great, but it has some limitations:

    • You are limited in what you can install in Read the Docs. Travis lets you run arbitrary code, which may be necessary to build your documentation.

    • Read the Docs deploys to Doctr deploys to GitHub pages. This is often more convenient, as your docs can easily sit alongside other website materials for your project on GitHub pages.

    In general, you should already be building your docs on Travis anyway (to test that they build), so it seems natural to deploy them from there.

  • Why does Doctr require Python 3.5 or newer?

    There are several language features of Python that we wanted to make use of that are not available in earlier versions of Python, such as keyword-only arguments,, and recursive globs. These features help keep the Doctr code cleaner and more maintainable.

    If you cannot build your documentation in Python 3, you will need to install Python 3.6 in Travis to run Doctr.

  • Is this secure?

    Doctr creates an encrypted SSH deploy key, which allows any Travis build on your repo to push to the deploy repo. The deploy key is encrypted using Fernet encryption from the Python cryptography module. The Fernet key is then encrypted to a secure environment variable for Travis using the Travis public key.

    Travis does not make secure environment variables available to pull requests builds. Furthermore, Doctr itself does not push from any branch other than master by default, although this can be changed.

    By default, Doctr uses deploy keys, but it can also use a GitHub personal access token, using the --token flag. However, this is not recommended, as a GitHub personal access token grants access to your entire account, whereas a deploy key only grants push access only to a single repository.

    Both Doctr and Travis CI itself take measures to prevent the private encryption key from leaking in the build logs.

    At any time, you can revoke the deploy key created by Doctr by going to the deploy key settings for the repository in GitHub at Personal access tokens can be revoked at If you revoke a key, you will need to rerun doctr configure to generate a new one to continue using Doctr.

  • Can Doctr do X?

    See the Recipes page for many common use case recipes for Doctr. Doctr supports virtually anything that involves pushing from Travis CI to GitHub automatically.

  • I would use this, but it’s missing a feature that I want.

    Doctr is still very new. We welcome all feature requests and pull requests.

  • Why is it called Doctr?

    Because it deploys documentation from Travis. And it makes you feel good.

Projects using Doctr

Are you using Doctr? Please add your project to the list!


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