How to Build a Static Website with Github and Jekyll from Scratch or Jekyll themes

“Hello World” - is how you start your CS education. So this post will explain in detail how to get a baseline personal website like this. There are two ways: you can use Github’s default style or just download a template and drag it into the repo.

Step 1 - Set up the environment

Have Bash (commandline interface). If you are Linux or OSX your good. If you have Windows install it. Here is a tutorial for that.

Step 2 - Git and Github

  1. Go to
  2. Create an account
  3. Create a new repository called: where username is your github name
  4. Open up terminal (PowerShell then bash if Windows) and know your systems package manager
  5. Run sudo apt-get install update to make sure your package manager is up to date. Replace apt-get with your package-manager. Run sudo apt-get install git. If you are using WIN10 or OSX just download and install as usual.
  6. Now just check if it is properly installed by just typing git --version and you should see 2.something (or maybe 3 if that is released when you are reading this).
  7. Now in the terminal move into a location that you want to put your code into ex: cd this/is/where/i/put/my/code/
  8. Before we continue it is important to git config --global yourGithubUserNameHere, git config --global yourEmailForGithubHere. Now just test it before you continue. So git config and git config and you should see whatever you just set.
  9. Now we need the repository which on github onto our local machine. So git clone where username is your username for github.
  10. Move into the new folder that appeared cd

Step 3 - Ruby and Jekyll

  1. Get the Ruby development package sudo apt-get install ruby-dev
  2. sudo apt-get install ruby. Now when you type gem --version and ruby --version you should not get any errors.
  3. gem install jekyll - add sudo if it doesn’t work because of permission reasons. Check that it is installed correctly with jekyll --version
  4. Now double check your terminals current directory with pwd and you should see something like “/whereeverYouPutCode/”
  5. Now that you are in the right spot run and the folder you are in is empty (remove the temporarily and put it back in later) jekyll new .

Step 4 - Push the repository to github

  1. Assuming you are still in the repository folder of which you just created the jekyll site with the following files/folders: _config.yml _layouts _sass css index.html _includes _posts feed.xml, run git status and you should see some red text. These are unattached and uncommitted files and changes.
  2. Run git add --a This command added all the unattached files to the repository.
  3. Run git commit -m "your message here or first commit"
  4. Run git push origin master and you will need to put in your account information

Note To develop your site locally without putting the changes out onto your actual site just go jekyll serve. This will create an _site folder which you should add to your gitignore.

Step 5 - Rejoice for a Moment

  1. Go to your favorite browser and in the address type in - that’s your site!
  2. Now begin making it your own. Understand the file structure of Jekyll.

Step 4 - Alternative way to customize the look

  1. Go to jekyll themes and find a theme you like.
  2. Download the zip or even clone the repo either is fine.
  3. Copy and paste the contents of the theme into your empty directory

Helpful links/tutorials:

  1. Jekyll file structure important read:
  2. Markdown syntax for blog post that go in _posts
  3. ZacBlanco’s tutorial


Post originally posted on 2016-05-09 21:00:00 -0400

Post last modified on

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