Jekyll Themes Using absolute_url on Docker

The Problem

While working on adding the Minimal Mistakes theme to my blog, I was unable to serve the content of my Jekyll site locally through Docker. From looking at the source of the theme files, it looked like it was the absolute_url filter that was causing the issue. I confirmed this by overwriting one of the layout files and changing the URLs to use prepend: base_url.

The Fix

As absolute_url would be a commonly used approach, I started looking for a fix that wouldn’t involve changing the underlying themes. It took me some time, but I eventually came across a post by Tony Ho that I highly recommend reading if you want more detail on the context.

My issue was very similar to the one outlined by Tony. For me, this involved a couple of small adjustments to address.

I was already overwriting the url during local development, so all I did there was rename the file from _config_local.yml to _config.docker.yml - as Tony had done - because I liked the naming pattern more.


url: http://localhost:4000

I then extracted my Docker commands from the site.bat file into a Docker Compose file to make things more readable. The key takeaway from this is that the JEKYLL_ENV must be a value other than development. I believe this is where I went wrong, as I wasn’t explicitly setting the JEKYLL_ENV inside the container itself.


version: '3'
      JEKYLL_ENV: docker
    image: jekyll/jekyll
      - .:/srv/jekyll
      - 4000:4000
    command: >
      jekyll serve \
        --watch \
        --force_polling \
        --config  _config.yml,_config.docker.yml

Finally, I updated my site.bat file to trigger the docker-compose commands rather than the docker commands that I had previously.


@if '%1' EQU 'up' (
    rm -rf "%~dp0_site"
    docker-compose up -d
    if ERRORLEVEL 0 goto DONE
    goto FAILED

@if '%1' EQU 'down' (
    docker-compose down
    if ERRORLEVEL 0 goto DONE
    goto FAILED


As always, working on Windows isn’t as straight forward as it seems to be on Linux or Mac, but the fix in this case was quite simple.

With those minor adjustments in place, the Jekyll site is now served on localhost:4000 with assets being linked correctly. My exact change can be seen in this commit on GitHub.