Tomomi Imura

Tomomi Imura

An Open Web advocate and front-end engineer, who loves everything mobile, and writes about HTML5, CSS, JS, UX, tech events, gadgets, etc. She unintentionally got 15min of fame by creating The HTTP Status Cats. Also, the opinions expressed here are solely her own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.

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How-to: Migrating Blog from WordPress to Jekyll, and Host on Github

Jekyll on Github

Last year during holidays, I knetted a NyanCat scarf. As this year's project, I finally migrated my Wordpress blog to Jekyll, and host on Github Pages to say good-bye to PHP and web hosting server.

Why

Wordpress is great, and has been working wonderfully for me. However, I decided to make the change becasue:

  1. Jekyll allows markdown. I have been annoyed writing HTML for my blog.
  2. The latest Jekyll comes with Pygment syntax highlighter. Writing code snipets is easier in markdown (no need to escape HTML tages, yay!), and the code samples are prettified with Pygment.
  3. Github offers free hosting, and of course, having version control is awesome.
  4. More control using command line is nice. I can use Grunt to automate tasks, including build process and minifying code, too.

What I did

While I was migrating, I took notes so I can share with you who wants to do the same.

Here's a list of the steps that I actually went through.

  1. Migrate comments on Wordpress to Disqus
  2. Export Wordpress contents
  3. Install and setup Jekyll
  4. Host on Github

I am on Mac OS 10.7.5 (still!), and WordPress 3.7 by the way. Read on if you would like to follow my steps-

Before leaving WordPress

Setup Disqus

Skip this process if you're already using Disqus on your WP blog.

First, sign up and register the site with Disqus at disqus.com/admin/create.

Go to your WordPress Admin page. Then, go to Plugins, serach for Disqus Comment System plugin and install it, then activate.

Once activated, check the Disqus Setting to make sure your Disqus account is connected to your WP blog.

Screenshot

To manually migrate the WP comments to Disqus style comments, go to Tools > Export, and download the WordPress (WXR) XML file.

Screenshot

Next, go to import.disqus.com, upload the xml that you just downloaded from the last step, to import all the comment into Disqus.

Screenshot

Go back to your WP Admin page to see if all the comments are available in Disqus plugin.

Leaving WordPress

Export All WP Contents

Fisrt, install WordPress to Jekyll Exporter manually.

  1. Download the zipped source code from the github page.
  2. FTP the upzipped source into the folder in /wp-content/plugins/
  3. Activate it in the WP Admin page.

Then go to Tools > Export to Jekyll and download a a zip file.

Screenshot

The exported folder contains all posts and pages that coverted into Markdown. All the images uploaded using WP's Media Library are expoted too. If you have images manually uploaded, they may not be included in the zip file.

Hello, Jekyll!

Prerequisites

Install and setup Jekyll

I am not going to explain how to use Jekyll from scratch, so please go to Jekyll's official site to learn the ABC, if you are not already familiar.

Install jekyll ruby gem locally, and create a new Jekyll blog:

$ gem install jekyll
$ jekyll new yourname.github.io

Where yourname.github.io, I named mine girliemac.github.io. By naming the github repo with this format, you can serve up your blog on the url, http://username.github.io, although you can use your own domain name.

This gives you a clean Jekyll site and no fluff. Screenshot

Alternatively, you can use some pre-designed templates. Go to jekyllthemes.org, and download one.

Import the WP Contents

Unzip the jekyll-export.zip you exported off your WordPress. The _post filder should contain all blog posts in markdown, and wp_content has images. Other static pages should have its own folder as well.

Copy them into your new yourname.github.io (or whatever you named) folder. You may want to manually tweak the _config.yml file, or merge the exported _config.yml file with the one comes with the theme you downloaded, rather than just overwriting.

To use the Pygments syntax highlighter, add this line in your _config.yml.

pygments: true

Once everything is ported into the new jekyll project folder, build the site and preview on browser.

To build,

$ cd yourname.github.io
$ jekyll build

The current folder will be generated into ./_site

To view the generated site locally,

$ jekyll serve

By default, your development server runs at http://localhost:4000/.

Add Disqus Comments

To include Disqus comments and the legacy comments ported from old WordPress is easy.

Login on Disqus, and copy the Universal Embed Code from Disqus. (Once logged in, the disqus_shortname should be already generated for you. Otherwise, add it manually.)

Paste the code into where you want the comments to be displayed in _layouts/post.html.

Once you deploy, the Disqus comment form along with the old commnets should be appeared on the new blog!

Optional: Use Grunt

Prerequisites

  • Node.js
  • grunt-cli
    $ sudo npm install -g grunt-cli

Grunt is a JavaScript tast runner that you can automate some repetitive tasks.

Useful grunt plugins for Jekyll can be:

  • grunt-contrib-jshint jsHint
  • grunt-contrib-cssmin to minify CSS
  • grunt-contrib-uglify to minify JavaScript
  • grunt-contrib-imagemin to optimize images
  • grunt-shell-spawn to include jekyll build command
  • grunt-contrib-watch to monitor if specified files are modified run tasks etc.

For more information, go to gruntjs.com.

Deploy to Github Pages

So long, my web server, I port everything on my github for free!

Some files and directries don't need to be pushed to github. Put _sites and node_modules if using Grunt in .gitignore file. (and of course, .DS_Store if you are a Mac user! ugh!)

Commit and push your Jekyll site to github. You don't need to create a gh-pages branch, when you name the repo with yourname.github.io.

Set a Custom Domain Name

Set a CNAME on Github

  1. Create a file named CNAME
  2. in the file, put your domain name, without http://. In my case:
girliemac.com

Set up DNS

Basically, all you need is to set these.

A Record: 204.232.175.78
CNAME: yourname.github.io

I use NameCheap.com to manage my domain names, and this is a screenshot of the host setup on namecheap.com. Your registrar probably has a similar setting.

Screenshot

If you don't see the "All Host Records" link, you probably need to disconnect from your previous web host DNS by clicking "Transfer the DNS back to us") and follow the instruction first. This takes about a few hours to complete.

Ta-da! Now I have my blog ported on github!



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