Captain Whippet


GitHub Pages and GoDaddy Setup

11 May 2014

For my own sanity, should I ever attempt this again, here's how I finally got the website, blog and all that stuff working. All the information is there, but it can be a bit hard to figure out what to do if you haven't got a clue what you're doing from the start.

Domain Registration

This was easy, once I got over the fear of spending the money. I just went to GoDaddy and got the domain. Dead easy.


I already had a GitHub account and after reading up about Git Hub Pages and Jekyll, I reckoned this was probably the easiest way to go. It seemed to be a simple matter to set up a user page and project pages in GitHub and then forward your domain to point at them. So far it has taken quite a bit of trial and error to get this right.

GitHub Repositories

So the details. First the facts about the repositories:

Site Content

Jekyll Setup

After a bit of Googling, I found this excellent blog that got me started: Get Started With GitHub Pages (Plus Bonus Jekyll). I followed this about half way, stopping before the 'Update the config file' section. Here are a couple more pages that filled in the rest of the details:

Custom Domain Setup

The last bit - custom domain setup. This caused me the biggest headache. After lots of messing about and getting confused, I went back to basics and got the main site and the blog working properly without a custom domain. Then I went step-by-step until I settled on the solution.

The objective: I wanted to be able to use these URLs for my pages instead of the urls:

The solution: There's the GitHub help on Setting up a custom domain with GitHub Pages. This has all the information you should need and that's great, but the terminology confused me! Here's what I actually did to get it working.

To get to point to my GitHub user page at

Now points to my main page.

To get to redirect to

CName Record

Now takes you to

With and set up properly as above, then and should take you to my blog.

This is where things got a bit confusing for me. There are lots of things I tried and none of them seemed to make sense or work.

Failed attempt 1 - GitHub CNAME. Warning: This attempt didn't work

CName Record 2

Now should take you to my blog. One problem I had with this solution, which is on the GitHub Help, is that I couldn't see how it could work, so I thought I must be misunderstanding what to do! This solution is also in this StackOverflow question

But the main problem with this is that it's doesn't really work alongside the setup needed to get a GitHub project page working. That is, the url requires {{ site.baseurl }} to be used, with baseurl set to blog. So now the pages are looking for resources under which doesn't work, because they're not there.

For example, the list of posts points to my first post at:

But it's actually here:

So it fails to find the posts, the css etc and generally does not work.

To be fair the GitHub Help does say "You can normally only configure either a custom subdomain or a custom apex domain for a GitHub Pages site..." So maybe I should have left it there.

Attempt 2 - Domain forwarding. This worked (sort of)

The same GitHub Help continues: "If you would like to use a custom subdomain other than www together with a custom apex domain, you may be able to accomplish this via domain redirection (sometimes called "domain forwarding"). Note, however, that this will only work for User and Organization Pages—not for Project Pages."

OK, so first time around I didn't really know what that meant, so I tried it anyway just to see what would happen.

First clean up the failed attempt above:

Set up the domain forwarding:

Now should take you to my blog. It actually goes to, which for the moment is fine, so I'm happy!

Apex or Subdomain?

So it looks like, as the GitPages help states, that you can't have both custom Apex and Subdomains. And I think I understand what that means now. Right now I have a custom Apex domain ( and I kind of cheat with the custom subdomain ( by just forwarding to the Apex domain. I'm fine with that, but I wonder - what's best? Maybe that will be the subject of a future blog post.