Install the theme

1. For a new site, install the minimal-mistakes-jekyll gem, remote theme, or fork the Minimal Mistakes repo on GitHub following the steps outlined in the Quick-Start Guide.

If you plan to host with GitHub Pages be sure to properly setup jekyll-remote-theme as it is required for the theme to work properly.

2. For an existing site follow the steps outlined in the Quick-Start Guide. Then work through the guidelines below for migration and setup.

3. For those who’d like to make substantial edits to the theme, download as a ZIP file to customize.

Download Minimal Mistakes Theme

ProTip: Be sure to remove /docs and /test if you forked or downloaded Minimal Mistakes. These folders contain documentation and test pages for the theme and you probably don’t want them littering up in your repo.

Note: The theme uses the jekyll-include-cache plugin which will need to be installed in your Gemfile and added to the plugins array of _config.yml. Otherwise you’ll throw Unknown tag 'include_cached' errors at build.

Theme migration

To move over any existing content you’ll want to copy the contents of your _posts folder to the new site. Along with any pages, collections, data files, images, or other assets you may have.

Next you’ll need to convert posts and pages to use the proper layouts and settings. In most cases you simply need to update _config.yml to your liking and set the correct layout in their YAML Front Matter.

Front Matter defaults are your friend and I encourage you to leverage them instead of setting a layout and other global options in each post/page’s YAML Front Matter.

Posts can be configured to use the single layout — with reading time, comments, social sharing links, and related posts enabled. Adding the following to _config.yml will set these defaults for all posts:

  # _posts
  - scope:
      path: ""
      type: posts
      layout: single
      read_time: true
      comments: true
      share: true
      related: true

Post/Page Settings: Be sure to read through the “Working with…” documentation to learn about all the options available to you. The theme has been designed to be flexible — with numerous settings for each.

Install dependencies

If this is your first time using Jekyll be sure to read through the official documentation before jumping in. This guide assumes you have Ruby v2 installed and a basic understanding of how Jekyll works.

To keep your sanity and better manage dependencies I strongly urge you to install Bundler with gem install bundler and use the following Gemfile:

source ""

# Hello! This is where you manage which Jekyll version is used to run.
# When you want to use a different version, change it below, save the
# file and run `bundle install`. Run Jekyll with `bundle exec`, like so:
#     bundle exec jekyll serve
# This will help ensure the proper Jekyll version is running.
# Happy Jekylling!

# gem "github-pages", group: :jekyll_plugins

# To upgrade, run `bundle update`.

gem "jekyll"
gem "minimal-mistakes-jekyll"

# The following plugins are automatically loaded by the theme-gem:
#   gem "jekyll-paginate"
#   gem "jekyll-sitemap"
#   gem "jekyll-gist"
#   gem "jekyll-feed"
#   gem "jekyll-include-cache"
# If you have any other plugins, put them here!
group :jekyll_plugins do

ProTip: To be bleeding edge install the latest (unreleased) version of Minimal Mistakes by adding this line to your Gemfile: gem "minimal-mistakes-jekyll", :github => "mmistakes/minimal-mistakes".

To maintain a local Jekyll environment in sync with GitHub Pages replace the gem "jekyll" line with gem "github-pages", group: :jekyll_plugins and run the following:

$ bundle install

Note: The GitHub Pages gem installs additional dependencies that may need to be added to your Gemfile if you decide to remove the gem "github-pages" eg. jekyll-paginate, jekyll-sitemap, jekyll-feed, jekyll-include-cache, etc.

bundle install in Terminal window

Depending on what gems you already have installed you may have to run bundle update to clear up any dependency issues. Bundler is usually pretty good at letting you know what gems need updating or have issues installing, to further investigate.

When using Bundler to manage gems you’ll want to run Jekyll using bundle exec jekyll serve and bundle exec jekyll build.

Doing so executes the gem versions specified in Gemfile.lock. Sure you can test your luck with a naked jekyll serve, but I wouldn’t suggest it. A lot of Jekyll errors originate from outdated or conflicting gems fighting with each other. So do yourself a favor and just use Bundler.