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GitHub Pages-Starter Pack
Publishing a Website via GitHub pages is free, and easy. Everything you need to get going in one place + extended resources.

Github makes it easy to get started, with the click of a button, you can have a web-page live, requiring only markdown skills (that anyone can learn on the go).

Each feature you want to enable requires a little more learning, and GitHub Pages is set up so that if you decide to, you can gradually progress from content creator to web-developer.

If you don’t want to think about web-development, and simply want your markdown files to look beautiful once published, github pages can help you do that too.

I first started playing around with GitHub to make an awesome-list, in November.

The number of technical subjects I've begun to learn, thanks to github, is incredible. Publishing via github-pages is really empowering.


I'm just a newb that created this resource to help myself. It does take a lot of work to create bigger projects like, however it's really simple to create a blog, or a homepage.

Corrections, suggestions, tips, and links would be all appreciated.

Github pages runs Jekyll, which runs Kramdown, which can transform yaml, markdown, and a number of related languages into proper html.

Github pages can be used, like, 4 different ways. It’s versitile, but can be confusing.

The simplest way to use pages is to choose one of the official GitHub pages themes. Just go into your repository settings:

All you really need to do is select a branch and it will begin publishing your repository. Then choose a method to publish. Brand-newbs go with the theme chooser.

The first repository for your web-page must be named like so: For example, the repository for my personal page is called Simply create a new repository, and if your github username is @awesomesauce then you would create a new directory named

Every other repository you own can also be made into its own web-page, that will published off of your user page, with the same name following your domain. So if you have a repository called, /Dynomite and you go into settings select pages to publish from the master branch, then that page will be found at

so is published at, because I have a custom domain. But it can still be found at,


Namecheap supports BTC purchases, so I'm including their github how-to here. If you know of other crypto-friendly domain providers, lmk in the issues.

Getting Started

If you used the theme chooser, all you need to do is edit, and your page is built instantly when you save a commit to the repository.

Create an

Although pages will build an index.html from your, pages will not behave as expected if you try to do any configuration or additional optimization with only

in that you need to include front matter:

layout: default

There is a plugin that builds index files from all the files of your repository.. but it has trouble creating an index.html from your repositories primary

Besides the Theme Chooser

There are other ways that pages can work too. You should be able to run any theme that is set up to support remote themes. However, you have to pay attention to the themes and find ones that are in active development.

You can also run any Gem based theme from your page too. Basically Gem files are packages that contain all of the files necessary for building your site, and keep your repository directory un-cluttered. Then, if you want to change a file that's in the gem, you just create the directory and pur the file where it goes, and configure as you wish.

I'm still a bit confused about that part, but gems do help you build pages locally to test features before deploying them....

Q: How can I get started with gem-packaged themes? / Do I need to package my theme into a gem?

Gem-packaged themes are just an advanced option and in addition they are in development for (real world) experiments (e.g. think v0.1 as stated by the Ben Balter - the lead designer / manager / dev at GitHub).

Thus, to conclude do NOT read too much into the official themes docs e.g. as the only or "right" way to design a theme. Just (continue to) use "classic" themes - there are hundreds to learn from and once you have mastered "classic" themes you can "graduate" to the master class, that is, using gem-packaged themes.

I understand what they're saying, but I feel kind of the opposite. I used the theme chooser and remote\gem themes to begin learning. Then again, I didn't really understand my options when I started.

These classic themes are just files and folders, everything where you can see it (and should be forkable to create working websites)

According to planetjekyll, these are all "classic" themes:



Github Pages

Use redirect_from: internal/url to change the location you are publishing, but keep old links. Use redirect_to: https://external.url to send visitors somewhere else (perhaps you want it to live on another site, but not lose your valuable links :) {: .notice--info}

Bug Testing

Buidling your site locally is the best way to figure out why it's not publishing correctly via GitHub.

You must set up your gemfile specifically for each theme.

then prepare bundler for your project:

 bundle update

 bundle install

Build gives an error message if the build fails

 bundle exec jekyll build

Serve builds and "serves" a local browsable copy

 bundle exec jekyll serve

Verbose... you get the idea.

 jekyll build --verbose



coming soon....


Front Matter



I'll say now, if you are new to web-development, best to start off trying out a few of the Github Pages official themes. Once installed, I cloned those repos locally so its easier to see how everything works. Then, if I want to configure a file that's not in my repository, I have a copy nearby. You can grab the _layouts/default.html, put it in your repo, and get a feel for how configuring that template shapes your entire site. But then you configure individual pages, and categories, perhaphs, to display differently.


If you don't want to think too much about web-development, try Hydejack. It's build with everything you need to create a beatiful responsive web-page, with plenty of options and configurations supported. It's a free version of a more robust commercial option. But it's easy to set up, and works great.

The only problem is that it is not open source. So it's not 100% customizable. Then again, that keeps you from getting in and screwing things up. -->

Minimal Mistakes

Minimal Mistakes is the most popular theme for Github Pages, and with good cause. It creates gorgeous web-sites right out the box, and with some fine tuning is beautiful indeed. You can find pretty much everything you need to run Minimal Mistakes in the Quickstart Guide, Sample Posts and Collections, along with their corresponding files on Github.

Other themes by @mmistakes:

I've just listed what repositories most fit my use cases, you might want to browse through his github portfolio, yourself.

Made Mistakes

So Simple

Basically Basic

Skinny Bones



MkDocs is not a jekyll theme. Meaning you have to install the software and build your pages locally (or set up a 3rd pary integration) before github pages can publish it. MkDocs has built in search, and in some ways simpler than publishing w jekyll.

MkDocs really caught my eye when I saw it running at EthHub

Because MkDocs builds with python, that opens up a whole universe of tools at your disposal. The python markdown extensions are a prime example.

However, basically none of the regular jekyll plugins work with mkdocs, it's a whole universe to its own w Python.



Open Graph - Favicons and More




Other Customizations

Make a cool portfolio page like this:

I made a gist about how to do that based upon his code.

Content Creation

Here's some tools to make content creation a little easier.


This thing has extensions for all your coding needs... It has seamless git integration, and all kind of great features for working with gh-pages repositories (search and replace, etc.).

HackMD - Collaborative Markdown Editor











API Evangelist

Not sure how much of this is useful, but I'll save for further examination.

Data Visualization


Now Dev

I don't even know... but it seems pretty dope.


Just sayin'... keybase has 250 gigs of free storage you can use to host a website...

you could build gem based sites locally, and keybase will automatically sync the data.


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