Profiling jekyll build with ruby‑prof

Published: October 8, 2018


As this site has grown, the time it takes for the jekyll build command to complete has continued to increase.

Currently the site has 143 posts and it takes 9.7 seconds for jekyll build to complete with a warm cache on a beefy 2014 MacBook Pro (2.2 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM).

Recently I became interested in exploring options for speeding up the build.

Googling “jekyll build profile” lead me to jekyll build’s --profile flag.

The output looks like this:

$ bundle exec jekyll build --profile

Filename                                                                          | Count |    Bytes |  Time
_layouts/main.html                                                                |   176 | 4043.23K | 1.282
_posts/2013-12-02-non-sucky-youtube-embed.html                                    |     1 |   14.00K | 0.285
_layouts/blog-single.html                                                         |   145 | 1633.02K | 0.269
sitemap.xml                                                                       |     1 |   20.50K | 0.115
tags/index.html                                                                   |     1 |   74.14K | 0.073
_includes/bio.html                                                                |   146 |  134.56K | 0.071
feed.xml                                                                          |     1 |  115.65K | 0.054

I didn’t find this to be particularly useful, as it gave me virtually no information on what jekyll build was actually doing that was taking so long.

Here I’ll show you how to use ruby-prof to get a more useful profile of your jekyll build.


Install ruby-prof by adding the following line to your project’s Gemfile

gem 'ruby-prof'

Then run bundle install at the command line.


In order to execute you’ll need to find the exe/jekyll file that actually gets executed when you run bundle exec jekyll. On my system I run as follows:

$ bundle exec ruby-prof /Users/maxchadwick/.rbenv/versions/2.2.3/lib/ruby/gems/2.2.0/gems/jekyll-3.6.0/exe/jekyll build


ruby-prof provides a --printer option which can be used to obtain the output in various formats.

Personally, I find the call_stack option to be most useful (it’s very similar to what you’d see in a New Relic transaction trace, if that means anything to you).

I run it as follows…

$ bundle exec ruby-prof --printer=call_stack /Users/maxchadwick/.rbenv/versions/2.2.3/lib/ruby/gems/2.2.0/gems/jekyll-3.6.0/exe/jekyll build > call_stack.html

It provides output in HTML format that looks something like this

Result of running jekyll build under ruby-prof with call_stack printer

This has helped me get a decent handle on what’s actually taking so long when I run jekyll build.

Max Chadwick Hi, I'm Max!

I'm a software developer who mainly works in PHP, but loves dabbling in other languages like Go and Ruby. Technical topics that interest me are monitoring, security and performance. I'm also a stickler for good documentation and clear technical writing.

During the day I lead a team of developers and solve challenging technical problems at Something Digital where I mainly work with the Magento platform. I've also spoken at a number of events.

In my spare time I blog about tech, work on open source and participate in bug bounty programs.

If you'd like to get in contact, you can find me on Twitter and LinkedIn.