Freddie Poser's Blog

Setting up Octopress

Octopress, based on Jekyll, is a great way to run a simple, static blog with posts written in markdown. I use octopress to run this blog because it is light weight and easy to use. Setting it up, however, took me a number of google searches and I had to use multiple tutorials to get it working. This tutorial is for a debian based system but should work on most linux distros with a few minor tweaks.


For this we will need ruby and RubyGems

sudo apt install ruby rubygems


To start let’s create a directory for our blogging activities and download octopress from github:

mkdir ~/blogging
cd blogging
git clone git:// octopress
cd octopress

Now we install octopress and its default theme

gem install bundler
rbenv rehash # Only if you use rbenv as your ruby installation
bundle install
rake install


The basic config for your blog is in _config.yml which allows you to set simple options for you blog. The most simple (and important options are right at the top of the file:

title: Mysite's Blog
subtitle: Nothing to see here.
author: Freddie Poser

You have to change the url option for links to work and you will obviously want to change the title and other attributes. I suggest having a look through the file to find things to change.

Your first post

So you have your blog set up we can write an acutal blog post! Octopress(/Jekyll) makes this really easy with one command:

# rake new_post["<title>"]
cd source/_post
rake new_post["Test Post"]

This will create a file in the format YYYY-MM-DD-<title>.markdown so today it would create the file: 2016-08-18-test-post.markdown which will become the post. Now edit the file with your favourite text editor. The file should look something like this:

layout: post
title: "Test Post"
date: 2011-07-03 5:59
comments: true

You can change any of these settings if you want but most likely you will only want to set the title and the categories. You can set categories in multiple ways but this is my favourite:

 - cat1
 - cat2

This will set the categories for this articles to cat1 and cat2. You can now actually write the blog post in the same markdown used on github.

Generating the Blog

Now we can actually generate the blog with the simple command below:

rake generate

This will create a whole blog in the octopress/public directory. This will be static HTML and self contained. To serve this up I use Apache by symlinking it to my /var/www/html/blog directory and then using a VirtualHost with a subdomain pointing to it. Now whenever I write a post I rake generate and its live!

Thanks for reading,


Freddie Poser