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Sourcing from Forestry


In this guide, you’ll walk through setting up a site with content management using Forestry.io.

Forestry (also Forestry.io or Forestry CMS) is a Git-backed CMS that is built to work with static site generators[1]. There are no additional dependencies or plugins required to run Forestry with Gatsby apart from what is included in the Gatsby Default Starter.

All configurations can be done through your Forestry site dashboard, but they can also be done directly in your Gatsby site repository.

To complete this tutorial, you will need a Forestry account. You can sign up at Forestry.io.

Note: You can see the complete example at https://github.com/cameron-yee/gatsby-forestry-example.


First, clone the Gatsby default starter repository.

Next, on GitHub create a new repository. The repository must live on a Git provider for it to be available to Forestry CMS. I’m using GitHub, but you can also use GitLab, Bitbucket, or Azure DevOps as well. Set your cloned repository’s remote url to point to your newly created repository on GitHub.

Now that your repository is on GitHub, follow the Forestry.io get started guide on Forestry.io to connect the repository to Forestry. You have to allow Forestry access to your GitHub account to make this work. A pop-up window will automatically open when you select your GitHub repo in the Forestry site setup. Once the site is connected, go to the site settings on the Forestry dashboard. In the Admin Path setting, enter “/static/admin” and click “Deploy Admin”. This will create a static HTML file for the Forestry CMS login page at the path: /admin.

Once Forestry is connected with your GitHub Gatsby site repository, pull Forestry’s changes.

This will add a .forestry directory in your project root with the settings.yml file. This file allows you to configure your CMS settings including adding content collections. You should also see a new /static/admin directory that contains index.html. Important: The /admin directory must be located inside of /static. Do not rename this directory.

Settings Configuration

Open .forestry/settings.yml. You will see the following default configuration values:

The new_page_extension setting can either be md or html.

Change upload_dir and public path:

This sets where media is saved. Visit Gatsby’s guide on its static folder to learn more. The rest of the settings can remain the same.

Open package.json and add the following to scripts already available:

For preview to work on Forestry’s dashboard, port 8080 must be used and all network interfaces have to be bound to For more information on Forestry’s previews go to the Forestry.io docs.

Note: The forestry:preview script can be named anything, but it must match the instant_preview_command setting in .forestry/settings.yml. This sets up Forestry to run a local server so that CMS content can be previewed from the Forestry dashboard using gatsby develop.

CMS Content Configuration

Now you can set up a content collection. Create the file .forestry/front_matter/blog.yml and paste in the following:

Next, link the frontmatter collection in .forestry/settings.yml. This adds a template in the Forestry dashboard that allows you to add new Blog posts with the configured fields in the CMS.

Because Forestry’s admin.html file is in the /static directory, this page will only be available once your Gatsby site is built. Run gatsby build && gatsby serve. Once the server is running, it will print the address to open for viewing. It’s typically http://localhost:8000. Now navigate to /admin - so if your site is at http://localhost:8000, go to http://localhost:8000/admin

You should now be viewing your Forestry login page. Login to view your dashboard. If you don’t have a user yet, create one on the Forestry Dashboard. This will allow you to login on the Gatsby site admin login page. On the left side of your dashboard you will see “Posts”. If you click on it you can add a new post. When you save your post, Forestry will push the change directly to your GitHub repo.

Making Changes

You can now make changes in your Forestry admin dashboard and see them as commits in your GitHub repo! Open the Forestry dashboard on your deployed site at /admin, allow access to GitHub when the permissions window pops up (check for blocked pop-ups if you don’t see it), and try creating and publishing a new blog post. Once you’ve done that, you’ll find a new content/posts directory in your GitHub repo containing a Markdown file with your blog post content!

Now you can do whatever you want to with the CMS content. Here is the guide for creating pages from Markdown files in Gatsby: Adding Markdown Pages. The docs also have a guide for doing this with MDX if you need to use JSX in your CMS content: Writing Pages in MDX.

Both these guides explain the gatsby-source-filesystem plugin that Gatsby uses to locate markdown files.

Wrapping Up

For more examples and help, visit the Forestry.io docs.

Note: You can see the complete example at https://github.com/cameron-yee/gatsby-forestry-example.

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