Setting Up Static Site With Jekyll

Setting up your own static website for free (Github pages + Jekyll)

As a programmer, everyone has the urge to showcase their talent, skills and work online. The various platforms available for them to accomplish this is via Github, StackOverflow, Coding problem sites (Topcoder, CodeMonk, HackerEarth, CodeChef, HackerRank etc), blogs and by maintaining their own website.

First step to own your own website is to get yourself a domain from various domain providing sites like Godaddy, BigRock etc.(Will skip this for now.) Then comes the problem of hosting the site. Especially for free. Thankfully, Github comes to the rescue. Github provides a free service by the name Github Pages by which you can host free static websites.

Github Pages

The website will be hosted directly on your GitHub Repository. You can create one site per GitHub account and organization and unlimited project sites. User or organization site is the static site which is tied to your GitHub account where as the Project site is the static site which is associated to each of your GitHub project.

Follow the steps mentioned at to create the repository and the website.

If everything went correctly, your website will be hosted at (eg. (Remember, this is a publicly hosted repository, anyone can clone your website source code.)

Blogging with Jekyll

Once you start blogging own your site, it becomes very difficult to maintain the static files after some period of time. This is where Jekyll comes to the rescue.

Jekyll is a simple, blog-aware, static site generator. It takes a template directory containing raw text files in various formats, runs it through a converter (like Markdown) and our Liquid renderer, and spits out a complete, ready-to-publish static website suitable for serving with your favorite web server. Jekyll also happens to be the engine behind GitHub Pages, which means you can use Jekyll to host your project’s page, blog, or website from GitHub’s servers for free.

Before pushing the changes of your Jekyll site, it is always recommended to build and run the Jekyll site locally on your machine, to make sure the html being rendered by the GitHub pages is exactly what we intended. For windows users it is somewhat difficult to setup Jekyll. There is an unofficial instructions written up by Julian Thilo which is quite helpful.

Jekyll Installation on Windows

Follow the steps mentioned in to setup Jekyll locally. Please find below the steps in short.

Step 1: Install Ruby and the Ruby DevKit Install Ruby using the installer. Extract the Ruby Dev kit to a specific folder and associated with the Ruby installation

cd C:\RubyDevKit
ruby dk.rb init
ruby dk.rb install

Step 2: Install Jekyll Gem

gem install jekyll

Step 3: Install a Syntax Highlighter Install Rouge (An alternative to pygments.rb which requires Python)

gem install rouge

Then, in your _config.yml, set Rouge as your syntax highlighter: (To be used later)

highlighter: rouge

Use Pygments as Syntax Highlighter Install Python - (Python 3 will not work, requires v2.7) Install pip - (Pip is a tool for installing and managing Python packages.) To install pip, securely download Then run the following (which may require administrator access):


Install Python base of Pygments

python -m pip install Pygments

If it’s not set already, add the following to your _config.yml to set Pygments as your syntax highlighter.(To be used later)

highlighter: pygments

Step 4: Let Jekyll –watch Install the wdm Gem

gem install wdm

Create a new Jekyll site

Navigate to the folder in which the repository was cloned through command prompt.

jekyll new .

This will create all the files required for a new jekyll site. To test the site locally, run the following command and navigate to the address shown in the command prompt.

jekyll serve --watch

Push or commit the changes into github servers.(Follow the Step 4 mentioned in You can see the new Jekyll site you just created when you visit

There are lots of free Jekyll themes available which you can try out.