How to use Lighthouse in GitHub Actions

How to use Lighthouse in GitHub Actions

How to run Lighthouse audits in GitHub Actions as part of a CD or CI workflow. I hope this article can provide a helpful addition to your DevOps workflow! With Lighthouse integrated in a CI/CD pipeline, we can stay fully equipped to ensure high quality in website SEO,

GitHub Actions are used to automate software engineering workflows. Similar to tools like CircleCI, Jenkins, Travis and many others, GitHub Actions provides a declarative API for defining workflows. These workflows can include jobs to build, test, and deploy applications.

Lighthouse is an open-source project from Google for improving the quality of web pages. It provides user-centric metrics to audit SEO, performance, accessibility, best practices, and progressive web apps. For a deeper dive about Lighthouse please read “How to analyze website performance with Lighthouse”. This post will demonstrate the following:

  • Basic implementation of Lighthouse in a GitHub Actions workflow.
  • Advanced setup to display Lighthouse results in pull request comments.
  • S3 Lighthouse report uploads.
  • Slack notifications.

Lighthouse Check GitHub Action

This post will provide a guide for using Lighthouse Check Action for automating Lighthouse audits. It can be used within a workflow - triggered by any event. This post will demonstrate how to use the action when triggered by a pull request event.

Basic Example

With the following steps we can create a basic workflow.

  1. Create and checkout a new branch locally.
  2. Create a file in your project with a path similar to the following .github/workflows/my-workflow.yml (replacing my-workflow with any name of your choice).
  3. Populate the file from above with the example shown below, replacing the urls field with a comma separated list of the URLs you’d like to test.
  4. Commit changes locally and push the branch up to your remote.
  5. From your new branch, open a pull request.
name: Lighthouse Check
on: [pull_request]

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
    - uses: actions/[email protected]
    - run: mkdir /tmp/artifacts
    - name: Run Lighthouse
      uses: foo-software/[email protected]
        outputDirectory: /tmp/artifacts
        urls: ','
    - name: Upload artifacts
      uses: actions/[email protected]
        name: Lighthouse reports
        path: /tmp/artifacts

And Voilà 🔮 — we have a workflow with Lighthouse! Assuming you have GitHub Actions enabled in your repo, you should see something like the below (note: at the time of this writing GitHub Actions are in “beta” mode and require registration).

GitHub repository tabs

Clicking on “Actions” will list all workflows currently running and previous.

List of GitHub Actions workflows

After following the steps from our basic example, you should see one item on this list. Clicking in will show us Lighthouse results printed to the console.

Lighthouse results printed out in the console From our configuration, we also have results captured in HTML reports saved as “artifacts”.

Clicking through the “Artifacts” dropdown downloads the HTML reports

Full Lighthouse report as an HTML file downloaded from “Artifacts”

Advanced Example

Lighthouse Check Action offers a complete set of bells and whistles by utilizing lighthouse-check NPM module under the hood. There’s so much more we can do with this. Let’s proceed!

Pull Request Comments

By utilizing this feature, comments are posted with Lighthouse results on every commit. We can do so by following the steps below.

  1. Create a new user or find an existing one to act as a “bot”.
  2. Create a personal access token from this user account.
  3. Create a GitHub secret to hold the encrypted value from above. In our example we name it LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_GITHUB_ACCESS_TOKEN.
  4. Update our workflow file with the diff shown below.
  5. Commit and push.
+  accessToken: ${{ secrets.LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_GITHUB_ACCESS_TOKEN }}
  outputDirectory: /tmp/artifacts

With this, we’ve created a bot to post Lighthouse results on pull requests 💥!

Lighthouse results as PR comments

S3 Report Uploads

In our example we persist results by uploading reports as artifacts in our workflow. This solution could be sufficient in some cases, but artifacts aren’t stored permanently. In order to view reports, we need to navigate into the workflow and manually download reports from the artifact view.

But what if we want a more dependable way of storing and referencing reports? This is where the S3 feature comes into play. We can configure AWS S3 storage by following the below steps.

  1. Create an AWS account if you don’t already have one.
  2. Create an S3 bucket if you don’t already have one.
  3. Acquire an AWS access key id and secret access key.
  4. Create GitHub secrets for these two values. In our example we’ll use LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY, respectively.
  5. Add the bucket name and region (example: us-east-1) as GitHub secrets: LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_AWS_BUCKET and LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_AWS_REGION.

Next, we’ll update our configuration with the following diff.

  accessToken: ${{ secrets.LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_GITHUB_ACCESS_TOKEN }}
+  awsAccessKeyId: ${{ secrets.LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID }}
+  awsBucket: ${{ secrets.LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_AWS_BUCKET }}
+  awsRegion: ${{ secrets.LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_AWS_REGION }}
+  awsSecretAccessKey: ${{ secrets.LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY }}

In our next commit and push, reports are automatically uploaded to S3 ✅! We also have a them linked in our PR comments.

Lighthouse result PR comment with S3 report linked

Slack Notifications

What’s a new feature in a DevOps workflow without Slack notifications? A sad one indeed. Let’s ramp things up by adding notifications to a Slack channel for our whole team to see. We can accomplish this in the below steps.

  1. Create an “Incoming Webhook” in your Slack workspace and authorize a channel.
  2. Add the Webhook URL as a GitHub secretLIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_WEBHOOK_URL.
  3. Add GitHub data and the Webhook URL to our configuration with the diff below. The GitHub data will be rendered in our notifications. We pass GitHub data through configuration with the GitHub “context”.
  accessToken: ${{ secrets.LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_GITHUB_ACCESS_TOKEN }}  +  author: ${{ }}
  awsAccessKeyId: ${{ secrets.LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID }}
  awsBucket: ${{ secrets.LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_AWS_BUCKET }}
  awsRegion: ${{ secrets.LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_AWS_REGION }}
  awsSecretAccessKey: ${{ secrets.LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY }}
+  branch: ${{ github.ref }}
  outputDirectory: /tmp/artifacts
+  sha: ${{ github.sha }}
+  slackWebhookUrl: ${{ secrets.LIGHTHOUSE_CHECK_WEBHOOK_URL }}
  urls: ','

Our next commit and push introduces Slack notifications! The “Lighthouse audit” link in the below screenshot navigates to the S3 report as configured✨.

Lighthouse Slack notification

What Now?

You can find a full example from the above in the Lighthouse Check Action documentation. In this article I didn’t go over a feature you can use to fail a workflow if minimum scores aren’t satisfied. Although this feature exists for those interested, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. Personally, I prefer to use this solution for insight and to not block workflows… but the feature exists — feel free to use it! There’s an example of how to set minimum scores in the documentation.

I hope this article can provide a helpful addition to your DevOps workflow! With Lighthouse integrated in a CI/CD pipeline, we can stay fully equipped to ensure high quality in website SEO, performance, accessibility, best practice, and progressive web apps.

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