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Get started building your personal website

Showcase your software development skills

This repository gives you the code you'll need to kickstart a personal website that showcases your work as a software developer. And when you manage the code in a GitHub repository, it will automatically render a webpage with the owner's profile information, including a photo, bio, and repositories.

Your personal website is waiting to be personalized, though. It includes space to highlight your specific areas of interest in software development, like languages or industries. And it's standing by to publish your next great blog post.

It's all possible using the combination of Jekyll (for building your website), GitHub Pages (for hosting your website), and GitHub's API (for automatically populating your website with content).


Fork the github/personal-website repo

You'll be making your own copy of the "personal website starter" repository so you have your own project to customize. A "fork" is a copy of a repository. So select "Fork" atop the github/personal-website repository.

Once you've found a home for your forked repository, it's yours. You're the owner, so you're ready to publish, if you wish.

Install in your local development environment

If you want to manage your website in a local web development environment, you'll be using Ruby.

Once you've found a home for your forked repository, clone it.

Install Jekyll

Jekyll is a Ruby Gem that can be installed on most systems.

  1. Install a full Ruby development environment
  2. Install Jekyll and bundler gems
gem install jekyll bundler
  1. Change into your new directory
cd personal-website
  1. Build the site and make it available on a local server
bundle exec jekyll serve
  1. Now browse to http://localhost:4000


When you host your personal website's code on GitHub, you get the support of free hosting through GitHub Pages.

The fastest approach is to rename your repository, where username is your GitHub username (or organization name). Then, the next time you push any changes to your repository's master branch, they'll be accessible on the web at your address.

If you want to use a custom domain, however, you'll want to add it to your repository's "Custom domain" settings on And then register and/or configure your domain with a DNS provider.


It's your website, and you control the source code. So you can custom everything, if you like. But we've provided a handful of quick customizations for you to consider as you get your website off the ground.

Quick configuration changes

Most customizations can be done in a matter of seconds, by revising your repository's _config.yml file. Just remember to restart your local server each time you save new changes so your Jekyll-powered website rebuilds correctly:

  1. Shut down your server by entering the keyboard command CTRL+c
  2. Restart your server: jekyll serve


By default, your website will display in a two-column layout on larger-screen devices, with your photo, name, and basic information displayed in a left-aligned "sidebar." But you can quickly switch to a "stacked" single-column layout by changing the line in your _config.yml file that reads layout: sidebar to layout: stacked.


By default, your website appears with a "light" white and gray background, with dark text. But you can quickly switch to a "dark" background with white text by changing the line in your _config.yml file that reads style: light to style: dark.


Your website comes pre-configured with three topics (e.g. "Web design" and "Sass") that appear in a section titled "My Interests." These are also stored in your repository's _config.yml file, where you can define each topic's name and two other optional details:

  • web_url: The web address you'd like to your topic to link to (e.g.
  • image_url: The web address of an (ideally square) image that you'd like to appear with your topic.

Adding pages

To add a page to your website (e.g. detailed resume):

  1. Create a new .html or .md file at the root of your repository.
  2. Give it a filename that you want to be used in the page's URL (e.g.
  3. At the start of your file, include the following front matter:
layout: default
  1. Save.

Adding blog posts

To add a blog post to your website:

  1. Create a new .md file in your repository's /_posts/ directory.
  2. Give it a filename using the following format:
  1. At the start of your file, include the following front matter:
title: "The title of my blog post"

Your website comes with a placeholder blog post that you can reference. Notably, its front matter declares published as false, so that it won't appear on your website.

While you can also define a layout in the front matter, your website is pre-configured to assign the post layout to all of the posts in your /_posts/ directory. So you don't have to declare that in your posts, if you don't want to.

Jekyll's conventions for authoring and managing blog posts is very flexible. You can learn more in Jekyll's documentation for "Posts."

Content and templates

To give you a sound foundation to start your personal website, your repository includes a handful of "includes" -- dynamic .html files that are re-used throughout your website. They're all stored in the /_includes/ directory.

There are the usual suspects, like header.html and footer.html. But there are few more worth pointing out:

  • interests.html: A heading and dynamic list of "My Interests," which is populated with the topics you list in your _config.yml.
  • masthead.html: A collection of your avatar, name, bio, and other metadata that's displayed prominently on all your webpages to help identify what the website is about.
  • post-card.html: A compact, summarized presentation of a blog post, re-used to display a listing of your latest blog posts.
  • projects.html: A heading and dynamic list of "My Projects," which is populated with a listing of your newest GitHub repositories.
  • repo-card.html: A compact, summarized presentation of a repository, re-used to display a listing of your GitHub repositories.
  • thoughts.html: A heading and dynamic list of "My Thoughts," which is populated with a listing of your latest blog posts.
  • topic-card.html: A compact, summarized presentation of a topic (defined in your _config.yml), re-used to display a listing of your interests.


Your repository comes with three layouts:

  • default: Not used by any of the built-in pages or posts, but useful for any new pages you create.
  • home: Used by your index.html homepage to display listings of your projects, interests, and (optionally) your blog posts.
  • post: Used by default by the posts in your /_posts/ directory.

Jekyll's convention for defining layouts is very flexible. You can learn more about customizing your layouts in the Jekyll "Layouts" docs.


Your website is pre-configured to use a very flexible CSS framework called "Primer," alongside any custom styles you write in your /assets/styles.scss Sass stylesheet. It's currently referenced within your styles.scss file, using the CSS import at-rule:

@import url('');

You are, of course, welcome to remove it or replace it with another framework. Just bear in mind that the HTML that your website came pre-packaged with references multiple Primer "utility classes" to define things like column widths, margins, and background colors.


The theme is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.





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