GitHub Pages

getting to know Doctor Jekyll

I’ll briefly discuss my choice of blog hosting technology / provider, then describe how I’ve set it up.



  • complete control over served HTML
  • easy to add new content
  • free
  • able to configure my current domain to point to it
  • not PHP


  • Markdown support, for articles that don’t require precise HTML control
  • templating to avoid unnecessary duplication and ease maintenance
  • popular
  • article version control


Wordpress is the obvious choice, however I’ve ruled it out because it is PHP. I thought about something like Tumblr, but I’m not sure how much control over the presented HTML I would retain.

I’ve been seeing links to GitHub Pages ever since I started using GitHub. It seemed to align well with my goals, so this is my current solution.

GitHub Pages

I’m going with User Pages as this is a general blog and not really specific to any one of my other projects. I could have gone with the Automatic Page Generator but this might have fought my desire to control the HTML more closely.

GitHub Pages are powered by Jekyll. Files beginning with YAML Front Matter are interpretted by Jekyll, with other files simply being copied across with no alteration.

I used the blog by Jekyll’s author as an example of usage, as I didn’t really understand exactly how to knit it all together otherwise.

Once I had some content slapped together, it was time for me to deploy with my custom domain, which required changing some of my settings in AWS Route53.

site makeover

I decided to go with ZURB’s Foundation for my UI framework, as I like the semantic CSS class names used in its responsive grid, and it’s far less recognisable than Twitter’s Bootstrap.

All upstream CSS and JavaScript assets are currently delivered via the CDN.JS project or from Google’s CDN.

All of this only took a few hours to put together, including the research and figuring out how to use Jekyll.

Ron -