Purple tinged Jekyll

Serving a Jekyll Blog using Heroku


I’ve put up a few simple sites recently, for upcoming books and a bootstrapping mailing list, and these I’ve either used a very simple Sintra app, or in the case of a the more blogg-y sites, Jekyll, the simple Ruby blogging system.

I am unabashed in my love for Heroku for deploying Ruby. So how to get your Jekyll based blog onto Heroku? The are a few a few simple things. I’m all about doing the least to get something working. So in 10 lines of code (in 3 files) and 10 typed shell commands…

Install the required gems

You need to download and install the Heroku Toolbelt. On a Mac I use Homebrew to install from the command line.

brew install heroku-toolbelt

You’ll also need Jekyll and bundler installed locally.

gem install jekyll bundler

Make your blog

Using the jekyll command

jekyll new nameofyourblog
cd nameofyourblog


Create a file named Gemfile in the root of your new Jekyll project.

source 'https://rubygems.org'
ruby '2.1.0'
gem 'bundler'
gem 'jekyll'
gem 'rack-jekyll'

Now generate your bundle:



You don’t want to have to generate your site and check it in before you deploy, let’s remove our error-prone-selves from the process…

Create a .gitignore file with the following line, stopping your locally generated site from being committed.


You also need to add the following line to the end of your _config.yml file to stop Jekyll including your configuration in it’s generated site.

exclude: ['config.ru', 'Gemfile', 'Gemfile.lock', 'vendor']

Serving the Site

This gem serves your app on Heroku using RackJekyll. Create a file named config.ru in the root directory of your jekyll blog.

require 'rack/jekyll'
run Rack::Jekyll.new

Because we’re not committing the _site directory, it needs to be generated. So we use one of Heroku’s splendid features… a Custom Build Pack

I’ve added the (very simple) commands to generate the _site directory on top of the standard ruby build pack. I’ll also be keeping it up to date with the upstream changes while keeping my simple changes as the most recent commit (for clarity).

So generate your new Heroku app…

heroku create nameofyourblog --buildpack https://github.com/andycroll/heroku-buildpack-jekyll.git

Then commit, and then push it up!

git add .
git commit -m 'first commit'
git push heroku master
heroku open

Nice. Now you might want to dive into the Jekyll documentation.


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