Jekyll Search Function

Obviously, one downside of using Jekyll is its lack of server-side scripting, or communication with a server in general. Therefore, all searching is done client side. There are a number of methods people use to accomplish client side searching.

If you host your site somewhere other than GitHub pages then you could process a search with PHP or Node.js for example.


Most approaches have you create a JSON file that compiles the content from your pages at build time. However, this causes issues if your site is extremely large, because the page will have to query a large JSON file before it loads the results. Therefore, this isn’t ideal if you already have a very large site. In other words if you have a very large site it might be more reasonable to use server-side searching. The methods (client and server-side) I’ve discovered are shown below.

  • Tipue Search - jQuery plugin. Tipue basically reads a JavaScript file and displays the results based on the JSON object.
  • lunr.js - Client side search made simple. Designed for web applications with all their data already sitting in the client. Lunr is a bit like Solr, which is an open source search platform built on Apache, but much lighter.
  • Azure Search - Cloud search service for web and mobile app development. First, create your JSON object using liquid just like you would with other methods in this list. Then create a Node.js app to create an index in the Azure Search Service and insert the JSON data. Finally, create a search form using JavaScript that queries the Azure Search Service and displays the results.
  • Google Custom Search. With Google Custom Search, add a search box to your site. This search form will basically open a new tab at that performs your search based solely on that site.

Example - lunr.js

lunr.js is a small, full-text search library for use in the browser. It indexes JSON documents and provides a simple search interface for retrieving documents that best match text queries.

As of August 16th, 2017 I have a working demo using the lunr.js method on Pare and Flourish. The files below, as well as the lunr.min.js script, are what make it work.


The search.html file is where the JSON file is generated using liquid templating. Therefore, the file is generated upon site build. This is also the page where your results will be displayed.

layout: search
title: Search
permalink: /search/

<ul id="search-results"></ul>

<script> = {
    {% for post in site.posts %}
      "{{ post.url | slugify }}": {
        "title": "{{ post.title | xml_escape }}",
        "author": "{{ | xml_escape }}",
        "category": "{{ post.category | xml_escape }}",
        "content": {{ post.content | strip_html | strip_newlines | jsonify }},
        "url": "{{ post.url | xml_escape }}"
      {% unless forloop.last %},{% endunless %}
    {% endfor %}

<script src="/assets/javascript/lunr.min.js"></script>
<script src="/assets/javascript/search.js"></script>


Be sure to include the link to the lunr.js script above the following. Note that you can easily boost results when adding the data to lunr.js as shown in the example below.

(function () {
  function displaySearchResults(results, store) {
    var searchResults = document.getElementById('search-results');
    if (results.length) {
      var appendString = '';
      for (var i = 0; i < results.length; i++) {
        var item = store[results[i].ref];
        appendString += '<li><a href="' + item.url + '"><h3>' + item.title + '</h3>';
        appendString += '<p>' + item.content.substring(0, 150) + '...</p></a></li>';
      searchResults.innerHTML = appendString;
    } else {
      searchResults.innerHTML = '<li>No results found</li>';
  function getQueryVariable(variable) {
    var query =;
    var vars = query.split('&');

    for (var i = 0; i < vars.length; i++) {
      var pair = vars[i].split('=');

      if (pair[0] === variable) {
        return decodeURIComponent(pair[1].replace(/\+/g, '%20'));
  var searchTerm = getQueryVariable('query');
  if (searchTerm) {
    document.getElementById('search-box').setAttribute("value", searchTerm);
    var idx = lunr(function () {
      this.field('title', {
        boost: 10
    for (var key in {
        'id': key,
      var results =;

Search Form

You can place this search form wherever you want as long as you set the action=/search/ to the path your search results page is on.

<form action="/search/" method="get">
  <input type="text" id="search-box" name="query" placeholder="Looking for a specific page or article? Search here..">
  <input type="submit" value="search">