Using Jekyll with Bundler

Bundler provides a consistent environment for Ruby projects by tracking and installing the exact gems and versions that are needed.

Bundler can be a great tool to use with Jekyll. Because it tracks dependencies on a per-project basis, it is particularly useful if you need to run different versions of Jekyll in different projects, or if you don’t want to install Jekyll at the system or user level. This tutorial will show you how to create a new Jekyll project using Bundler and without installing Jekyll outside the project.

Before You Begin

To complete this tutorial, you’ll need to have Ruby and Bundler installed. You can find the installation instructions on their websites.

Initialize Bundler

The first thing to do is create a new directory for your project and run bundle init. This creates a new Bundler project (by creating an empty Gemfile).

mkdir my-jekyll-website
cd my-jekyll-website
bundle init

Configure Bundler

This step is optional, but encouraged. We’re going to configure Bundler to install gems in the ./vendor/bundle/ project subdirectory. This allows us to install our dependencies in an isolated environment, ensuring they don’t conflict with other gems on your system. If you skip this step, Bundler will install your dependencies globally on your system.

bundle install --path vendor/bundle
Bundler Config is Persistent

This step is only required once per project. Bundler saves your config in ./.bundle/config, so future gems will be installed to the same location.

Add Jekyll

Now, we’re going to use Bundler to add Jekyll as a dependency of our new project. This command will add the Jekyll gem to our Gemfile and install it to the ./vendor/bundle/ folder.

bundle add jekyll

Create A Jekyll Scaffold

Now that Jekyll is installed, we can use it to create the scaffolding for our site. We need the --force parameter because our folder isn’t empty - it already has some Bundler files in it. We run the bundle install separately because Jekyll gets confused if the Gemfile already exists.

bundle exec jekyll new --force --skip-bundle .
bundle install

Serve the Site

Your new website is ready! You can serve the website with bundle exec jekyll serve and visit it at From here, you’re ready to continue developing the site on your own. All of the normal Jekyll commands are available to you, but you should prefix them with bundle exec so that Bundler runs the version of Jekyll that is installed in your project folder.

Commit to Source Control

If you’re storing your new site in version control, you’ll want to ignore the ./vendor/ and ./.bundle/ folders since they contain user- or platform-specific information. New users will be able to install the correct dependencies based on Gemfile and Gemfile.lock, which should both be checked in. You can use this .gitignore to get started, if you want.


# Ignore metadata generated by Jekyll

# Ignore folders generated by Bundler