I host this blog for free. I don’t worry about hosting plans, bandwidth, or others common website concerns. How? To get this setup, you will need to be a little proficient with these tools:

  • Git
  • The command line
  • Markdown or HTML

Free Hosting (thanks to pages.github.com)

GitHub provides a way for developers to post free webpages. This requires a little bit of hacking, but it is not too difficult. Their instructions are so simple, that rather than duplicate them here, I will just point you to their website.

Setup free hosting with GitHub Pages

Generating Pages with Jekyll

GitHub pages requires that you serve static content only. For those update their blogs infrequently and don’t need a complicated web service, static content works just fine. This blog is generated using Jekyll, which is a light framework written in Ruby for generating content.

Jekyll is setup to generated blogs

Customizing Jekyll

By default, GitHub will run Jekyll when you push your content and generate the HTML for you. Jekyll supports some powerful plugins, but to run these you must commit the generated content to your GitHub branch instead of the Jekyll code.

My setup

For this blog, I have setup a separate folder within my project where Jekyll builds the content. This folder is configured as a git submodule for the same repo as the parent project.

[submodule "build"]
    path = build
    url = git@github.com:natemcmaster/natemcmaster.github.io.git
    branch = master

I added a simple Makefile to simplify the build and publishing process.


.PHONY: publish j_build serve

    jekyll build

    @open http://localhost:4000
    jekyll serve --watch

publish: j_build
    git --git-dir=$(DIR)/.git add --all
    git --git-dir=$(DIR)/.git commit -m "Build `date`"
    git --git-dir=$(DIR)/.git push
    git add build/

Happy blogging! ■