Effective Jekyll: Add Simple Search Plugin to Your Jekyll Website

Mi Guoliang


Most of websites need a search box to help people find articles by keywords easily. This articles shows how to integrate the SimpleJekyllSearch plugin with your Jekyll website to add a website-wide instant search box on pages.

Notes here: SimpleJekyllSearch is not AMP friendly, because its CDN address is not acceptable and its custom script practise is not allowed by AMP custom script specification.

Setup SimpleJekyllSearch

  1. Create search.json in the root of your website directory.
  2. Paste the following default configuration codes into search.json.

     layout: null
         {% for post in site.posts %}
                 "title"    : "",
                 "category" : "",
                 "tags"     : "",
                 "url"      : "",
                 "date"     : ""
             } {% unless forloop.last %},{% endunless %}
         {% endfor %}
  3. Overwrite the default layout.

    1. Create _layouts directory by the command mkdir -p _layouts in the root of your website directory.
    2. Create default.html file by the command touch default.html in the _layouts folder you just created.
    3. Paste the following codes and save changes to overwrite the default layout.

       <!DOCTYPE html>
       <html lang="en">
       {%- include head.html -%}
       {%- include header.html -%}
       <main class="page-content" aria-label="Content">
           <div class="wrapper">
               <!-- Search Box DOM Elements -->
               <div class="search">
                   <i class="fa fa-search" aria-hidden="true"></i>
                   <input type="text" id="search-input" placeholder="Search posts by keyword ...">
                   <ul id="results-container"></ul>
           <div class="wrapper">
           {{ content }}
       {%- include footer.html -%}
       <!-- Import SimpleJekyllSearch scripts by CDN -->
       <!-- Initialize SimpleJekyllSearch Plugin -->
           window.simpleJekyllSearch = new SimpleJekyllSearch({
               searchInput: document.getElementById('search-input'),
               resultsContainer: document.getElementById('results-container'),
               json: '/search.json',
               searchResultTemplate: '<li><a href="{url}?query={query}" title="{desc}">{title}</a></li>',
               noResultsText: 'No results found',
               limit: 10,
               fuzzy: false,
               exclude: ['Welcome']

      Notes Here

  4. Generate and run your website locally by the command jekyll serve, and access it by opening http://localhost:4000 on your browser.

You can find the demo repository in my Github.


SimpleJekyllSearch is a popular plugin to make your Jekyll website searchable. It’s fast and easy-to-use. People can configure the search rules by editing search.json, and custom the appearance by css.

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