Recently I was able to cut down on some of my site hosting costs by moving to GitHub Pages, a free way to host public websites of static content. It won’t work for something like WordPress where you need to run something server side, but it works great for plain .HTML pages for instance. Also, by using Jekyll you can dynamically generate static .HTML pages for your site, allowing you to do some cool stuff like generate blog posts from easy-to-write markdown files.

Here’s how you can get started with your own GitHub site, summarized below:

  1. Install the latest version of ruby.
  2. Open the command prompt and run gem install bundler to install Bundler, a ruby package manager.
  3. Save this file as “Gemfile” (no file extension) in the folder where you want to build your GitHub site (note: if the gist link doesn’t work, check here for instructions on making that file.
  4. Open a command prompt from within the folder for the previous step and type bundle install. This should install Jekyll and any needed dependencies.
  5. Execute bundle exec jekyll new . --force into the command prompt inside your site folder. This will create a simple base template to build your site off of.
  6. Lastly, execute bundle exec jekyll serve into the same command prompt and your site should be dynamically generated and available for viewing at http://localhost:4000.

Now, whenever you want to start working on your site, just start Jekyll by typing bundle exec jekyll serve and then begin editing! By default Jekyll will watch your site folder for changes and automatically recreate site content as you save your files.

To upload your site to GitHub, do the following (summarized below):

  1. Create a new repository called, where username is replaced by your GitHub username.
  2. Init a new Git repository by typing git init . in a command window in your site’s root directory.
  3. Type git remote add origin [email protected]:username/, replacing username with your GitHub username as needed.
  4. Type git push -u origin master to push your site to GitHub

Your site should then appear on GitHub at after a short time (maybe 10-15 minutes for it to be generated for the first time).

To learn more about using Jekyll itself, check out the official Jekyll site, and especially the subpage on writing posts.