Troubleshooting Jekyll build errors for GitHub Pages sites

You can use Jekyll build error messages to troubleshoot problems with your GitHub Pages site.

GitHub Pages is available in public repositories with GitHub Free, and in public and private repositories with GitHub Pro, GitHub Team, GitHub Enterprise Cloud, and GitHub Enterprise Server.

In this article

Troubleshooting build errors

If Jekyll encounters an error building your GitHub Pages site locally or on GitHub Enterprise, you can use error messages to troubleshoot. For more information about error messages and how to view them, see "About Jekyll build errors for GitHub Pages sites."

If you received a generic error message, check for common issues.

  • You're using unsupported plugins. For more information, see "About GitHub Pages and Jekyll."
  • You changed the source setting in your _config.yml file. GitHub Pages overrides this setting during the build process.
  • A filename in your publishing source contains a colon (:) which is not supported.

If you received a specific error message, review the troubleshooting information for the error message below.

After you've fixed any errors, push the changes to your site's publishing source to trigger another build on GitHub Enterprise.

Config file error

This error means that your site failed to build because the _config.yml file contains syntax errors.

To troubleshoot, make sure that your _config.yml file follows these rules:

  • Use spaces instead of tabs.
  • Include a space after the : for each key value pair, like timezone: Africa/Nairobi.
  • Use only UTF-8 characters.
  • Quote any special characters, such as :, like title: "my awesome site: an adventure in parse errors".
  • For multi-line values, use | to create newlines and > to ignore newlines.

To identify any errors, you can copy and paste the contents of your YAML file into a YAML linter, such as YAML Validator.

Date is not a valid datetime

This error means that one of the pages on your site includes an invalid datetime.

To troubleshoot, search the file in the error message and the file's layouts for calls to any date-related Liquid filters. Make sure that any variables passed into date-related Liquid filters have values in all cases and never pass nil or "". For more information, see "Liquid filters" in the Liquid documentation.

File does not exist in includes directory

This error means that your code references a file that doesn't exist in your _includes directory.

To troubleshoot, search the file in the error message for include to see where you've referenced other files, such as {% include example_header.html %}. If any of the files you've referenced aren't in the _includes directory, copy or move the files into the _includes directory.

This error means that your code references a symlinked file that does not exist in the publishing source for your site.

To troubleshoot, search the file in the error message for include to see where you've referenced other files, such as {% include example_header.html %}. If any of the files you've referenced are symlinked, copy or move the files into the _includes directory.

File is not properly UTF-8 encoded

This error means that you used non-Latin characters, like 日本語, without telling the computer to expect these symbols.

To troubleshoot, force UTF-8 encoding by adding the following line to your _config.yml file:

encoding: UTF-8

Invalid highlighter language

This error means that you specified any syntax highlighter other than Rouge or Pygments in your configuration file.

To troubleshoot, update your _config.yml file to specify Rouge or Pygments. For more information, see "About GitHub Enterprise and Jekyll."

Invalid post date

This error means that a post on your site contains an invalid date in the filename or YAML front matter.

To troubleshoot, make sure all dates are formatted as YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS for UTC and are actual calendar dates. To specify a time zone with an offset from UTC, use the format YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS +/-TTTT, like 2014-04-18 11:30:00 +0800.

If you specify a date format in your _config.yml file, make sure the format is correct.

Invalid Sass or SCSS

This error means your repository contains a Sass or SCSS file with invalid content.

To troubleshoot, review the line number included in the error message for invalid Sass or SCSS. To help prevent future errors, install a Sass or SCSS linter for your favorite text editor.

Invalid submodule

This error means that your repository includes a submodule that hasn't been properly initialized.

To troubleshoot, first decide if you actually want to use a submodule, which is a Git project inside a Git project; submodules are sometimes created accidentally.

If you don't want to use a submodule, remove the submodule, replacing PATH-TO-SUBMODULE with the path to the submodule:

$ git submodule deinit PATH-TO-SUBMODULE
$ git rm PATH-TO-SUBMODULE
$ git commit -m "Remove submodule"
$ rm -rf .git/modules/PATH-TO-SUBMODULE

If do you want to use the submodule, make sure you use https:// when referencing the submodule (not http://) and that the submodule is in a public repository.

Invalid YAML in data file

This error means that one of more files in the _data folder contains invalid YAML.

To troubleshoot, make sure the YAML files in your _data folder follow these rules:

  • Use spaces instead of tabs.
  • Include a space after the : for each key value pair, like timezone: Africa/Nairobi.
  • Use only UTF-8 characters.
  • Quote any special characters, such as :, like title: "my awesome site: an adventure in parse errors".
  • For multi-line values, use | to create newlines and > to ignore newlines.

To identify any errors, you can copy and paste the contents of your YAML file into a YAML linter, such as YAML Validator.

For more information about Jekyll data files, see "Data Files" in the Jekyll documentation.

Markdown errors

This error means that your repository contains Markdown errors.

To troubleshoot, make sure you are using a supported Markdown processor. For more information, see "Setting a Markdown processor for your GitHub Pages site using Jekyll."

Then, make sure the file in the error message uses valid Markdown syntax. For more information, see "Markdown: Syntax" on Daring Fireball.

Missing docs folder

This error means that you have chosen the docs folder as your publishing source, but there is no docs folder in the root of your repository on the master branch.

To troubleshoot, if your docsfolder was accidentally moved, try moving the docsfolder back to the root of your repository on the master branch. If the docs folder was accidentally deleted, you can either:

  • Use Git to revert or undo the deletion. For more information, see "git-revert" in the Git documentation.
  • Create a new docs folder in the root of your repository on the master branch and add your site's source files to the folder. For more information, see "Creating new files."
  • Change your publishing source. For more information, see "Configuring a publishing source for GitHub Pages."

Missing submodule

This error means that your repository includes a submodule that doesn't exist or hasn't been properly initialized.

To troubleshoot, first decide if you actually want to use a submodule, which is a Git project inside a Git project; submodules are sometimes created accidentally.

If you don't want to use a submodule, remove the submodule, replacing PATH-TO-SUBMODULE with the path to the submodule:

$ git submodule deinit PATH-TO-SUBMODULE
$ git rm PATH-TO-SUBMODULE
$ git commit -m "Remove submodule"
$ rm -rf .git/modules/PATH-TO-SUBMODULE

If you do want to use a submodule, initialize the submodule. For more information, see "Git Tools - Submodules" in the Pro Git book.

This errors means that you have relative permalinks, which are not supported by GitHub Pages, in your _config.yml file.

Permalinks are permanent URLs that reference a particular page on your site. Absolute permalinks begin with the root of the site, while relative permalinks begin with the folder containing the referenced page. GitHub Pages and Jekyll no longer support relative permalinks. For more information about permalinks, see "Permalinks" in the Jekyll documentation.

To troubleshoot, remove the relative_permalinks line from your _config.yml file and reformat any relative permalinks in your site with absolute permalinks. For more information, see "Editing files in your repository."

This error means that your site includes a symbolic link (symlink) that does not exist in the publishing source for your site. For more information about symlinks, see "Symbolic link" on Wikipedia.

To troubleshoot, determine if the file in the error message is used to build your site. If not, or if you don't want the file to be a symlink, delete the file. If the symlinked file is necessary to build your site, make sure the file or directory the symlink references is in the publishing source for your site. To include external assets, consider using a third-party package manager such as Bower.

Syntax error in 'for' loop

This error means that your code includes invalid syntax in a Liquid for loop declaration.

To troubleshoot, make sure all for loops in the file in the error message have proper syntax. For more information about proper syntax for for loops, see "Iteration tags" in the Liquid documentation.

Tag not properly closed

This error message means that your code includes a logic tag that is not properly closed. For example, {% capture example_variable %} must be closed by {% endcapture %}.

To troubleshoot, make sure all logic tags in the file in the error message are properly closed. For more information, see "Liquid tags" in the Liquid documentation.

Tag not properly terminated

This error means that your code includes an output tag that is not properly terminated. For example, {{ page.title } instead of {{ page.title }}.

To troubleshoot, make sure all output tags in the file in the error message are terminated with }}. For more information, see "Liquid objects" in the Liquid documentation.

Unknown tag error

This error means that your code contains an unrecognized Liquid tag.

To troubleshoot, make sure all Liquid tags in the file in the error message match Jekyll's default variables and there are no typos in the tag names. For a list of default varibles, see "Variables" in the Jekyll documentation.

Unsupported plugins are a common source of unrecognized tags. If you use an unsupported plugin in your site by generating your site locally and pushing your static files to GitHub Enterprise, make sure the plugin is not introducing tags that are not in Jekyll's default variables. For a list of supported plugins, see "About GitHub Pages and Jekyll."

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