Step by Step Tutorial

1. Setup

Welcome to Jekyll’s step-by-step tutorial. The goal of this tutorial is to take you from having some front end web development experience to building your first Jekyll site from scratch — not relying on the default gem-based theme. Let’s get into it!


Jekyll is a Ruby program so you need to install Ruby on your machine to begin with. Head over to the install guide and follow the instructions for your operating system.

With Ruby setup you can install Jekyll by running the following in your terminal:

gem install jekyll bundler

To create a new Gemfile to list your project’s dependencies run:

bundle init

Now edit the Gemfileand add jekyll as a dependency:

gem "jekyll"

Finally run bundle to install jekyll for your project.

You can now prefix all jekyll commands listed in this tutorial with bundle exec to make sure you use the jekyll version defined in your Gemfile.

Create a site

It’s time to create a site! Create a new directory for your site, you can name it whatever you’d like. Through the rest of this tutorial we’ll refer to this directory as “root”.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also initialize a Git repository here. One of the great things about Jekyll is there’s no database. All content and site structure are files which a Git repository can version. Using a repository is completely optional but it’s a great habit to get into. You can learn more about using Git by reading through the Git Handbook.

Let’s add your first file. Create index.html in the root with the following content:

<!doctype html>
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <h1>Hello World!</h1>


Jekyll is a static site generator so we need Jekyll to build the site before we can view it. There are two commands you can run in the root of your site to build it:

  • jekyll build - Builds the site and outputs a static site to a directory called _site.
  • jekyll serve - Does the same thing except it rebuilds any time you make a change and runs a local web server at http://localhost:4000.

When you’re developing a site you’ll use jekyll serve as it updates with any changes you make.

Run jekyll serve and go to http://localhost:4000 in your browser. You should see “Hello World!”.

Well, you might be thinking what’s the point in this? Jekyll just copied an HTML file from one place to another. Well patience young grasshopper, there’s still much to learn!

  1. Setup
  2. Liquid
  3. Front Matter
  4. Layouts
  5. Includes
  6. Data Files
  7. Assets
  8. Blogging
  9. Collections
  10. Deployment