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Getting Started


Follow the instructions in the Jekyll Docs to complete the installation of Ruby, RubyGems, Jekyll, and Bundler. In addition, Git is also required to be installed.


Creating a New Site

There are two ways to create a new repository for this theme:

  • Using the Chirpy Starter - Easy to upgrade, isolates irrelevant project files so you can focus on writing.
  • Forking on GitHub - Convenient for custom development, but difficult to upgrade. Unless you are familiar with Jekyll and are determined to tweak or contribute to this project, this approach is not recommended.

Option 1. Using the Chirpy Starter

Create a new repository from the Chirpy Starter and name it <GH_USERNAME>.github.io, where GH_USERNAME represents your GitHub username.

Option 2. Forking on GitHub

Fork Chirpy on GitHub and rename it to <GH_USERNAME>.github.io. Please note that the default branch code is in development. If you want the site to be stable, please switch to the latest tag and start writing.

And then execute:

$ bash tools/init.sh

If you don’t want to deploy your site on GitHub Pages, append option --no-gh at the end of the above command.

The above command will:

  1. Removes some files or directories from your repository:
    • .travis.yml
    • files under _posts
  2. If the option --no-gh is provided, the directory .github will be deleted. Otherwise, set up the GitHub Action workflow by removing the extension .hook of .github/workflows/pages-deploy.yml.hook, and then remove the other files and directories in the folder .github.

  3. Removes item Gemfile.lock from .gitignore.

  4. Creates a new commit to save the changes automatically.

Installing Dependencies

Before running for the first time, go to the root directory of your site, and install dependencies as follows:

$ bundle



Update the variables of _config.yml as needed. Some of them are typical options:

  • url
  • avatar
  • timezone
  • lang

Customizing Stylesheet

If you need to customize the stylesheet, copy the theme’s assets/css/style.scss to the same path on your Jekyll site, and then add the custom style at the end of the style file.

Starting from v4.1.0, if you want to overwrite the SASS variables defined in _sass/addon/variables.scss, create a new file _sass/variables-hook.scss and assign new values to the target variable in it.

Customing Static Assets

Static assets configuration was introduced in version 5.1.0. The CDN of the static assets is defined by file _data/assets/cross_origin.yml, and you can replace some of them according to the network conditions in the region where your website is published.

Also, if you’d like to self-host the static assets, please refer to the chirpy-static-assets.

Running Local Server

You may want to preview the site contents before publishing, so just run it by:

$ bundle exec jekyll s

Or run the site on Docker with the following command:

$ docker run -it --rm \
    --volume="$PWD:/srv/jekyll" \
    -p 4000:4000 jekyll/jekyll \
    jekyll serve

After a while, the local service will be published at


Before the deployment begins, check out the file _config.yml and make sure the url is configured correctly. Furthermore, if you prefer the project site and don’t use a custom domain, or you want to visit your website with a base URL on a web server other than GitHub Pages, remember to change the baseurl to your project name that starts with a slash, e.g, /project-name.

Now you can choose ONE of the following methods to deploy your Jekyll site.

Deploy by Using GitHub Actions

Ensure your Jekyll site has the file .github/workflows/pages-deploy.yml. Otherwise, create a new one and fill in the contents of the sample file, and the value of the on.push.branches should be the same as your repo’s default branch name. And then rename your repository to <GH_USERNAME>.github.io on GitHub.

Now publish your Jekyll site:

  1. Browse to your repository on GitHub. Select the tab Settings, then click Pages in the left navigation bar. Then, in the Source section (under Build and deployment), select GitHub Actions from the dropdown menu.

  2. Push any commit to remote to trigger the GitHub Actions workflow. In the Actions tab of your repository, you should see the “Deploy Jekyll with GitHub Pages” workflow with at least one job running. Once the build is complete and successful, the site should be deployed automatically.

  3. Visit your website at the address indicated by GitHub.

Manually Build and Deploy

On self-hosted servers, you cannot enjoy the convenience of GitHub Actions. Therefore, you should build the site on your local machine and then upload the site files to the server.

Go to the root of the source project, and build your site as follows:

$ JEKYLL_ENV=production bundle exec jekyll b

Or build the site on Docker:

$ docker run -it --rm \
    --env JEKYLL_ENV=production \
    --volume="$PWD:/srv/jekyll" \
    jekyll/jekyll \
    jekyll build

Unless you specified the output path, the generated site files will be placed in folder _site of the project’s root directory. Now you should upload those files to the target server.


It depends on how you use the theme:

  • If you are using the theme gem (there will be gem "jekyll-theme-chirpy" in the Gemfile), editing the Gemfile and update the version number of the theme gem, for example:

    - gem "jekyll-theme-chirpy", "~> 3.2", ">= 3.2.1"
    + gem "jekyll-theme-chirpy", "~> 3.3", ">= 3.3.0"

    And then execute the following command:

    $ bundle update jekyll-theme-chirpy

    As the version upgrades, the critical files (for details, see the Startup Template) and configuration options will change. Please refer to the Upgrade Guide to keep your repo’s files in sync with the latest version of the theme.

  • If you forked from the source project (there will be gemspec in the Gemfile of your site), then merge the latest upstream tags into your Jekyll site to complete the upgrade. The merge is likely to conflict with your local modifications. Please be patient and careful to resolve these conflicts.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.