Publishing a Personal Site

Using Jekyll/Github/Netlify to get online quickly

Posted by David Van Loon on September 16, 2018

Sometimes I need to put a quick static site online without much fuss. This very site is an example.

Here’s how I do it.

Installing tools

For this post, I’ll assume you’re on a recent version of Windows. We’re going to use jekyll to handle the static site creation. In order to get it installed, we’ll need a few prerequisites.

Start off by installing chocolatey via PowerShell. Instructions are here. chocolatey is a package manager for Windows that I like to use to manage most utilities.

Once chocolatey is installed, we’ll use it to install ruby and git. Open an administrator PowerShell window and run:

PS> choco install git ruby -y

chocolatey will automatically download and run the appropriate installers.

Next, we’ll install jekyll. Open a new PowerShell terminal (to ensure the PATH is up-to-date with the chocolatey installations) and run the following:

PS> gem install jekyll bundler

This will install jekyll and dependencies. For details on installation, further instructions are here.

Setup site

Create a new GitHub repo for your site (click here). Enter a repository name (like your site name) and leave the repo public and uninitialized.

Open a new PowerShell terminal. Navigate to the directory where you’ll keep your project.

PS> cd ~\Source\Repos

Clone your GitHub repo and move into the directory.

PS> git clone
PS> cd .\site-name\

Run the jekyll scaffolder to create the site structure.

PS> jekyll new .

Now we have a basic web site created. Let’s preview it.

PS> jekyll serve

jekyll will render the site and launch a preview server. Open to view the site.

Press ctrl-c and type y to shutdown the preview.

Publish site

Let’s get this site online. First, commit the changes to the git repo and push to GitHub.

PS> git add *
PS> git commit -m "Initial commit"
PS> git push

To host, we’ll use Netlify. Create a new site from your GitHub repo by following the instructions here. Select GitHub as the source, then find and select your repo. Use jekyll build as the build command and _site/ as the publish directory.

Wait for Netlify to deploy your web site. Once deployed, click the preview link (e.g. to view your site on the web!

Whenever you push to the master branch of your GitHub repository, Netlify will re-build and deploy your site.

Next steps

Suggested next steps:

  • Modify site content
  • Add a post
  • Add a theme
  • Configure a custom domain name