Simon Griffee

Creating a Personal Website Using GitHub Pages

2 August 2016 · 2 minute read

An octocat on a paper bag, colored pencil on brown paper bag.

The GitHub mascot is known as an 'octocat' — a cross between two very intelligent animals. I drew the one above for you, dear reader.

Summary: A brief overview of Git and GitHub followed by pointers to instructions on creating your own personal website hosted at yourusername.github.io for free.

Git & GitHub

Git is software for version control of files to help a person or a group of people do, publish and keep track of their work.1 One of the best things about Git is that it is free, open source software. This means that it will always be available regardless of whether a company still exists.

GitHub is a website that provides a good user interface for Git software. It is used by companies like Google — https://github.com/google — Facebook — https://github.com/facebook — and Apple — https://github.com/apple. One of the people2 who created GitHub wrote a parable that helps us see how it works. One of, if not the best, thing about GitHub is it makes it easy for anybody to use Git!

You can easily create a website for free using GitHub and work on it alone or with other people (who have your permission), and publish it on yourusername.github.io or download it to your own computer or transfer it to other servers for editing, publishing or backup.3

Publishing Your Website With GitHub for Free

  1. Go to https://github.com/join and create an account. Make note of the username you choose.
  2. Follow the instructions here: https://guides.github.com/features/pages/ — once you are finished, your website will be visible at yourusername.github.io

Coming up next (you can sign up to my mailing list to receive posts by mail):


  1. Git was written by Linus Torvalds who also wrote the Linux operating system.
  2. Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath, PJ Hyett, and now, you!
  3. Most of GitHub’s software is open source, too, but if you ever want to use another system (such as GitLab) you are free to take your work with you at any time.

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