How to make Jekyll build faster in development

Once your Jekyll site starts to get larger, it will take seconds to build every time you save a file. I’ve seen a number of articles on this topic, but few people know about the quickest fix of them all:

Instead of using jekyll serve to run your development server, use jekyll serve -I. This rebuilds only the file you’ve saved – not the entire site. This helped me reduce my build time from ~2.5s to 0.25s.

The only time you want to use jekyll serve is if you’ve created a new file. In other words, if you’re only editing existing files, use jekyll serve -I.

Finally, I recommend setting up an alias for this command. I use ser (as in “server”) since it’s easy to type and remember:

alias ser="jekyll serve -I"

If that’s still too slow, you might be interested in my post on static site generators where I review Jekyll, Hugo, Gatsby, Next, Zola, and Eleventy.

About the author

I'm Mark Thomas Miller, a full stack engineer and designer currently working at ConvertKit. (We're hiring!) People like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lindsey Stirling, and Tim Ferriss use features I've built to connect with their fans. I'm currently geeking out about Svelte, mechanical keyboards, and minimalist UI design, and replaying Ocarina of Time.