Using Docker with Jekyll

Script available here

We are using Jekyll with the Beautiful Jekyll theme at, a shared blog I maintain with a friend of mine. Jekyll is a simple, blog-aware, static site generator and is supported by GitHub Pages. All you have to do is create a GitHub repository named <username> it will automatically compile and publish your blog.

While writing your articles, its convenient to have a local Jekyll environment running so you can edit and quickly view your articles to get feedback on the look and feel. Although not rocket science, it can be a little tough to install ruby, install the correct Gems and get everything running locally especially if you are not familiar with the Ruby ecosystem.

Fortunately there is an official Jekyll Docker Image which really helps out with this.

I took this idea and wrote a small utility script called bin/docker-run that we added into our repository which encapsulates a set of Docker commands and options into a one-line utility we can run on any system with Docker installed to get a local copy of our blog up for review.

I added in options to cache all the Gems locally under the standard vendor/bundle location so after you run the script the first time it will be quicker to restart the service. It can run the jekyll server in the foreground, background, or simply compile the pages into the _site directory and you can sync them to any site you would like.

Make sure you add the following files to your .gitignore so that all of the Gems and generated pages do not end up in your repo:


I am choosing to run this in the foreground with the argument fg in a side terminal so I can watch changes compile as I make them but the script also supports the arguments bg for running Jekyll in the background or build to not run any server but simply build the artifacts.

$ bin/docker-run fg

Unable to find image 'jekyll/jekyll:latest' locally
latest: Pulling from jekyll/jekyll
c55d493d33bc: Pull complete
8d3cc6ac7e3a: Pull complete

.... lots of output and some harmless errors....

Using github-pages 39
Using libv8
Using ref 2.0.0
Using therubyracer 0.12.2
Using bundler 1.10.6
Bundle complete! 4 Gemfile dependencies, 58 gems now installed.
Bundled gems are installed into ./vendor/bundle.
Configuration file: /srv/jekyll/_config.yml
            Source: /srv/jekyll
      Destination: /srv/jekyll/_site
Auto-regeneration: enabled for '/srv/jekyll'
Configuration file: /srv/jekyll/_config.yml
    Server address:
  Server running... press ctrl-c to stop.

At this point just point to http://localhost:4000 and check out your site!

If you want to publish the port to external hosts (may be useful if you are using a virtual machine to run docker in) then simply add the --public or -p flag. For example:

$ bin/docker-run fg --public