Jekyll allows you to concoct your sites in any way you can dream up, and it’s thanks to the powerful and flexible configuration options that this is possible. These options can either be specified in a _config.yml file placed in your site’s root directory, or can be specified as flags for the jekyll executable in the terminal.

Configuration Settings

Global Configuration

The table below lists the available settings for Jekyll, and the various options (specified in the configuration file) and flags (specified on the command-line) that control them.

Setting Options and Flags

Site Source

Change the directory where Jekyll will read files

source: DIR

-s, --source DIR

Site Destination

Change the directory where Jekyll will write files

destination: DIR

-d, --destination DIR


Disable custom plugins, and ignore symbolic links.

safe: BOOL



Exclude directories and/or files from the conversion. These exclusions are relative to the site's source directory and cannot be outside the source directory.

exclude: [DIR, FILE, ...]


Force inclusion of directories and/or files in the conversion. .htaccess is a good example since dotfiles are excluded by default.

include: [DIR, FILE, ...]

Keep files

When clobbering the site destination, keep the selected files. Useful for files that are not generated by jekyll; e.g. files or assets that are generated by your build tool. The paths are relative to the destination.

keep_files: [DIR, FILE, ...]

Time Zone

Set the time zone for site generation. This sets the TZ environment variable, which Ruby uses to handle time and date creation and manipulation. Any entry from the IANA Time Zone Database is valid, e.g. America/New_York. A list of all available values can be found here. The default is the local time zone, as set by your operating system.

timezone: TIMEZONE


Set the encoding of files by name. Only available for Ruby 1.9 or later). The default value is utf-8 starting in 2.0.0, and nil before 2.0.0, which will yield the Ruby default of ASCII-8BIT. Available encodings can be shown by the command ruby -e 'puts Encoding::list.join("\n")'.

encoding: ENCODING


Set defaults for YAML Front Matter variables.

see below

Destination folders are cleaned on site builds

The contents of <destination> are automatically cleaned, by default, when the site is built. Files or folders that are not created by your site will be removed. Some files could be retained by specifying them within the <keep_files> configuration directive.

Do not use an important location for <destination>; instead, use it as a staging area and copy files from there to your web server.

Build Command Options

Setting Options and Flags


Enable auto-regeneration of the site when files are modified.

-w, --watch


Specify config files instead of using _config.yml automatically. Settings in later files override settings in earlier files.

--config FILE1[,FILE2,...]


Process and render draft posts.



Publish posts with a future date.

future: BOOL



Produce an index for related posts.

lsi: BOOL


Limit Posts

Limit the number of posts to parse and publish.

limit_posts: NUM

--limit_posts NUM

Force polling

Force watch to use polling.


Verbose output

Print verbose output.

-V, --verbose

Silence Output

Silence the normal output from Jekyll during a build

-q, --quiet

Serve Command Options

In addition to the options below, the serve sub-command can accept any of the options for the build sub-command, which are then applied to the site build which occurs right before your site is served.

Setting Options and Flags

Local Server Port

Listen on the given port.

port: PORT

--port PORT

Local Server Hostname

Listen at the given hostname.



Base URL

Serve the website from the given base URL

baseurl: URL

--baseurl URL


Detach the server from the terminal

detach: BOOL

-B, --detach

Skips the initial site build.

Skips the initial site build which occurs before the server is started.


Do not use tabs in configuration files

This will either lead to parsing errors, or Jekyll will revert to the default settings. Use spaces instead.

Front Matter defaults

Using YAML Front Matter is one way that you can specify configuration in the pages and posts for your site. Setting things like a default layout, or customizing the title, or specifying a more precise date/time for the post can all be added to your page or post front matter.

Often times, you will find that you are repeating a lot of configuration options. Setting the same layout in each file, adding the same category - or categories - to a post, etc. You can even add custom variables like author names, which might be the same for the majority of posts on your blog.

Instead of repeating this configuration each time you create a new post or page, Jekyll provides a way to set these defaults in the site configuration. To do this, you can specify site-wide defaults using the defaults key in the _config.yml file in your projects root directory.

The defaults key holds an array of scope/values pairs that define what defaults should be set for a particular file path, and optionally, a file type in that path.

Let’s say that you want to add a default layout to all pages and posts in your site. You would add this to your _config.yml file:

      path: "" # an empty string here means all files in the project
      layout: "default"

Here, we are scoping the values to any file that exists in the scopes path. Since the path is set as an empty string, it will apply to all files in your project. You probably don’t want to set a layout on every file in your project - like css files, for example - so you can also specify a type value under the scope key.

      path: "" # an empty string here means all files in the project
      type: "posts" # previously `post` in Jekyll 2.2.
      layout: "default"

Now, this will only set the layout for files where the type is posts. The different types that are available to you are pages, posts, drafts or any collection in your site. While type is optional, you must specify a value for path when creating a scope/values pair.

As mentioned earlier, you can set multiple scope/values pairs for defaults.

      path: ""
      type: "posts"
      layout: "my-site"
      path: "projects"
      type: "pages" # previously `page` in Jekyll 2.2.
      layout: "project" # overrides previous default layout
      author: "Mr. Hyde"

With these defaults, all posts would use the my-site layout. Any html files that exist in the projects/ folder will use the project layout, if it exists. Those files will also have the liquid variable set to Mr. Hyde as well as have the category for the page set to project.

  - my_collection:
    output: true

      path: ""
      type: "my_collection" # a collection in your site, in plural form
      layout: "default"

In this example the layout is set to default inside the collection with the name my_collection.


Jekyll will apply all of the configuration settings you specify in the defaults section of your _config.yml file. However, you can choose to override settings from other scope/values pair by specifying a more specific path for the scope.

You can see that in the last example above. First, we set the default layout to my-site. Then, using a more specific path, we set the default layout for files in the projects/ path to project. This can be done with any value that you would set in the page or post front matter.

Finally, if you set defaults in the site configuration by adding a defaults section to your _config.yml file, you can override those settings in a post or page file. All you need to do is specify the settings in the post or page front matter. For example:

# In _config.yml
      path: "projects"
      type: "pages"
      layout: "project"
      author: "Mr. Hyde"
      category: "project"
# In projects/
author: "John Smith"
layout: "foobar"
The post text goes here...

The projects/ would have the layout set to foobar instead of project and the author set to John Smith instead of Mr. Hyde when the site is built.

Default Configuration

Jekyll runs with the following configuration options by default. Alternative settings for these options can be explicitly specified in the configuration file or on the command-line.

There are two unsupported kramdown options

Please note that both remove_block_html_tags and remove_span_html_tags are currently unsupported in Jekyll due to the fact that they are not included within the kramdown HTML converter.

# Where things are
source:      .
destination: ./_site
plugins:     ./_plugins
layouts:     ./_layouts
data_source: ./_data
collections: null

# Handling Reading
safe:         false
include:      [".htaccess"]
exclude:      []
keep_files:   [".git", ".svn"]
encoding:     "utf-8"
markdown_ext: "markdown,mkdown,mkdn,mkd,md"

# Filtering Content
show_drafts: null
limit_posts: 0
future:      true
unpublished: false

# Plugins
whitelist: []
gems:      []

# Conversion
markdown:    kramdown
highlighter: rouge
lsi:         false
excerpt_separator: "\n\n"

# Serving
detach:  false
port:    4000
baseurl: "" # does not include hostname

# Backwards-compatibility
relative_permalinks: false

# Outputting
permalink:     date
paginate_path: /page:num
timezone:      null

quiet:    false
defaults: []

# Markdown Processors
  use_tex:    false
  use_divs:   false
  png_engine: blahtex
  png_dir:    images/latex
  png_url:    /images/latex
  fenced_code_blocks: true

  extensions: []

  extensions: []

  auto_ids:       true
  footnote_nr:    1
  entity_output:  as_char
  toc_levels:     1..6
  smart_quotes:   lsquo,rsquo,ldquo,rdquo
  enable_coderay: false

    coderay_wrap:              div
    coderay_line_numbers:      inline
    coderay_line_number_start: 1
    coderay_tab_width:         4
    coderay_bold_every:        10
    coderay_css:               style

Markdown Options

The various Markdown renderers supported by Jekyll sometimes have extra options available.


Redcarpet can be configured by providing an extensions sub-setting, whose value should be an array of strings. Each string should be the name of one of the Redcarpet::Markdown class’s extensions; if present in the array, it will set the corresponding extension to true.

Jekyll handles two special Redcarpet extensions:

  • no_fenced_code_blocks — By default, Jekyll sets the fenced_code_blocks extension (for delimiting code blocks with triple tildes or triple backticks) to true, probably because GitHub’s eager adoption of them is starting to make them inescapable. Redcarpet’s normal fenced_code_blocks extension is inert when used with Jekyll; instead, you can use this inverted version of the extension for disabling fenced code.

Note that you can also specify a language for highlighting after the first delimiter:

    # ...ruby code

With both fenced code blocks and highlighter enabled, this will statically highlight the code; without any syntax highlighter, it will add a class="LANGUAGE" attribute to the <code> element, which can be used as a hint by various JavaScript code highlighting libraries.

  • smart — This pseudo-extension turns on SmartyPants, which converts straight quotes to curly quotes and runs of hyphens to em (---) and en (--) dashes.

All other extensions retain their usual names from Redcarpet, and no renderer options aside from smart can be specified in Jekyll. A list of available extensions can be found in the Redcarpet README file. Make sure you’re looking at the README for the right version of Redcarpet: Jekyll currently uses v2.2.x, and extensions like footnotes and highlight weren’t added until after version 3.0.0. The most commonly used extensions are:

  • tables
  • no_intra_emphasis
  • autolink


In addition to the defaults mentioned above, you can also turn on recognition of Github Flavored Markdown by passing an input option with a value of “GFM”.

For example, in your _config.yml:

  input: GFM

Custom Markdown Processors

If you’re interested in creating a custom markdown processor, you’re in luck! Create a new class in the Jekyll::Converters::Markdown namespace:

class Jekyll::Converters::Markdown::MyCustomProcessor
  def initialize(config)
    require 'funky_markdown'
    @config = config
  rescue LoadError
    STDERR.puts 'You are missing a library required for Markdown. Please run:'
    STDERR.puts '  $ [sudo] gem install funky_markdown'
    raise"Missing dependency: funky_markdown")

  def convert(content)

Once you’ve created your class and have it properly setup either as a plugin in the _plugins folder or as a gem, specify it in your _config.yml:

markdown: MyCustomProcessor