Testing your Jekyll Website with Capybara

phansch profile image Philipp Hansch ・2 min read

Cross posted from my personal blog: Link

Even when it is just a static website like this one, it is always good to know that the most important things work.

I recently had problems when I was migrating my blog from Jekyll 2.5 to Jekyll 3.3. The permalinks were broken after the upgrade and I only noticed this after the change went live. Some basic tests could have easily prevented this.

After I fixed the broken permalinks I decided to add some basic Capybara tests, as I write them day-to-day for Ruby on Rails apps, too.

The setup

The setup is pretty basic for now with capybara, rack, rake and most importantly rack-jekyll:

# Gemfile
source 'https://rubygems.org'

gem 'jekyll', '3.3.1'

group :test do
  gem 'capybara'
  gem 'rack'
  gem 'rack-jekyll'
  gem 'rake'

The test_helper tells Capybara.app to use Rack::Jekyll to serve a Rack version of our Jekyll site for our tests.

# test/test_helper.rb
require 'minitest/autorun'

require 'bundler/setup'
require 'capybara/dsl'
require 'rack/jekyll'

Capybara.app = Rack::Jekyll.new(force_build: true)

class CapybaraTestCase < MiniTest::Test
  include Capybara::DSL

  def teardown

With the test_helper configured we can now start writing Capybara tests as usual:

# test/features/this_blog_post_test.rb
require 'test_helper'

class ThisBlogPostTest < CapybaraTestCase
  def test_describes_how_to_write_tests
    visit '2017/03/02/testing-jekyll-websites/'
    assert page.has_content?('configured we can now start '\
      'writing Capybara tests as usual:')

What to test

This of course depends on your website. For me I identified a few things:

  • The frontpage (which is a bit outdated) should have the link to my CV
  • Clicking on the archive link should bring me to the archive
  • /archive should contain the first and last post
  • The dates on /archive should be in the correct format
  • The 'Read more' link on /writing should bring me to the correct blog post
  • A blog post should have the correct time to read
  • A blog post should have its date in the correct format
  • The main navigation items go to pages with the correct content
  • The atom feed should be a valid atom feed

Apart from the atom feed validation this is all straight Capybara using has_content and some basic Ruby for the time check. You can find all the tests here.

Posted on by:

phansch profile

Philipp Hansch


Hi, I'm Philipp, a full stack developer currently focusing on Rust where I'm on the Clippy team. I appreciate clean and well tested code and enjoy playing with new technology.


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Fantastic post!! I've done a bit of googling to find a simple testing solution for Jekyll and never came up with something that I could get excited about.

I'll definitely be giving your solution a test run (pun somewhat intended)!! Thanks for sharing this!!


Happy to hear!

There is one gotcha for which I haven't found a workaround, yet. If you have a bigger site, then you probably have to sleep a few seconds in the test_helper until the site has been built completely. Without sleeping you will run into 'Element not found' errors from Capybara.


Hi Philipp, thanks for your article!
I've a problem with link to your tests; i get a 404 (gitlab.com/phansch/phansch.gitlab....)

Thanks again