TL;DR: I migrated my homepage from to GitHub Pages for speed and flexibilty, then to Netlify for HTTPS support.

Update (5/1/2018): Github Pages now supports HTTPS for custom domain: so netlify is not necessary for HTTPS GitHub Pages Netlify
Easy to Use? Yes Use Git+Markdown Use Git+Markdown
Cost Free for basic Free for basic Free for basic
Load Speed? Slow Fast Fast
Flexibility Low Very flexible Very flexible
HTTPS for Custom Domain Yes No Yes
Build logs NA No Yes

Table: Comparison of the 3 platforms.

1. From …

I have been using to host my homepage at for almost a year. It was a good solution for quickly spinning up the site, but I hit the limit as I was planning to put in more professional contents (python and R markdown stuff). Overall, for my use cases, was too:

  • slow (heavy overhead),
  • ugly (espeically Korean and highlighted codes), and
  • inflexible (e.g. cannot change fonts easily; adding custom pages are hard).

2. Moving to Github Pages …

So, I considered GitHub Pages / Jekyll again. Last time when I tried to use it (~3 yrs ago), the static site build process was clunky and it took some work to make the site look pretty. It seems the situation has changed a lot over past couple of years. Now, the default theme (minima) looks OK and the build process is simpler and faster. So, unlike, GitHub page is:

  • fast to load,
  • pretty by default,
  • flexible, and
  • free.

I use GitHub and Markdowns, especially, R Markdown, almost daily anyway. So why not?? So, I decide to switch back. The process looked like this on OSX. (Replace with your own GitHub Pages repo.)

  1. Backup the old GitHub Pages repo, if you had one already.
  2. Install brew-maintained ruby not to pollute the OSX system ruby (Of course, your OSX must have homebrew installed already):

     brew install ruby
  3. Install Jekyll per Jekyll Quickstart Guide, i.e.

     gem install jekyll bundler
     jekyll new
  4. Create github page repo, and make the directory to track the github repo:

     echo "#" >>
     git init
     git add
     git commit -m "first commit"
     git remote add origin
     git push -u origin master
  5. Serve the test site on http://localhost:4000/ by running:

     bundle exec jekyll serve
  6. Import old contents per to Jekyll import guide.
    1. First you need to install jekyll-import (

       gem install jekyll-import

      and a couple other dependencies.

    2. Then, export the old contents per direction to some xml file. (In my case, I exported from to datasciencefun.wordpress.2017-12-25.xml).
    3. Copy it over the the blog directory and import to the page like:

       ruby -rubygems -e 'require "jekyll-import";
             "source" => "datasciencefun.wordpress.2017-12-25.xml",
             "no_fetch_images" => false,
             "assets_folder" => "assets"
    4. Browse the imported files (mostly under _pages folder in my case), clean them up as needed, and move them to correct folders or collections.
  7. Modify theme files as needed.
    • In my case, I had to overwrite:
      • _includes/head.html : to add font-awesome
      • _includes/header.html : to use custom navigation menu at the top
      • _includes/footer.html : to add linkedin contact as well
    • Find the theme files by running:

        bundle show minima
        open $(bundle show minima)

      copy the files to your repo, and make necessary changes. See my github repo for the changes I made to above files.

  8. Use Jekyll Collections to organize “따라 하며 배우는 데이터 과학” (my Korean data science book) pages under _ipds-kr/ directory.

  9. Set up redirect for a few pages, using Redirects on GitHub Pages. In my case, I wanted to move ipds-kr-slides-ppt to ipds-kr/slides-ppt, etc.

  10. Set up and add Disqus for comments.

  11. Set up and add Google Analytics for site analytics.

  12. Transfer custom domain from to GitHub Pages per directions.
    • github help page is a bit unclear; google is your friend here, which gives you a more thorough instructions on specific name provider. For for example, this page was helpful.

3. Then to Netlify…

Now everything almost works. But it turned out that github pages doesn’t support HTTPS for custom domain. This is a huge problem for me since:

  1. There already are quite a few domain names on the Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.,
  2. Chrome browser doesn’t handle https to http change easily,
  3. Google search engine indexing values https a lot higher than http sites, and
  4. there seems to be no plan to support https for custom domtain in github

Now, Netlify( comes to the rescue. It is mentioned in the above github thread, as a great (free) solution that provides HTTPS support for custom domains. I also found it mentioned in some R markdown/bookdown/blogdown sites, so it looked reputable.

The process was pretty simple and took ~10 minutes:

  1. Set up netlify account and hook it up to github repo and start building.
    1. Initially, the build failed (of course) but it was easy to troubleshoot thanks to the build logs like this:

       6:55:18 PM: ruby_dep-1.5.0 requires ruby version >= 2.2.5, which is incompatible with the
       current version, ruby 2.1.2p95

      So, that’s a lot more transparent than github (+1).

    2. Thanks to the logs, I could track the build failure to the wrong ruby version. To fix, I added .ruby-version with 2.4.2 per help page and the build succeeded.
    3. Now, the page is up and running at https://${random_words}
  2. Set up DNS. Netlify provides their own nameservers, so it was pretty simple to follow their directions.
  3. Final step is, the original requirement, to get HTTPS working. Again, this was super simple and HTTPS certificate was up and running in a few minutes.

After these, the site is now up and running at Pretty sweet!

Making Disqus comments working on Netlify

To use Disqus comments, one adds the following line in _config.yml:

  shortname: dataninja-me

This works in github pages, but Netlify version doesn’t activate the comments. It is because minima theme has the following lines

if `jekyll.environment == "production"`:

until it activate disqus comments. The environment is set by Github Pages when the site builds, but Netlify doesn’t, hence no Disqus comments. To fix it, per Netlify config directions, set this environment variable in the site deploy setting:


(The URL looks like in my case).

Voilà, now the comments works on Netlify.


I described how I migrated my homepage from to GitHub Pages for speed and flexibilty, then to Netlify for HTTPS support.

Update in 3/11/18

After notebook migration, my xcode build pipeline broke, which prevents me from installing jekyll =( After 2 hrs of trying to re-install xcode, I concluded it’s not worth it and got lazy(!) and decided to use Docker (of course). Per, This is all I need:

docker run -p 80:4000 -v $(pwd):/site bretfisher/jekyll-serve

Lesson: spend at most 1 hr on your own IT; Look for Docker solution after that.