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Netlify raises $30M to replace webservers with Application Delivery Network (netlify.com)
368 points by gk1 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 180 comments

I use Netlify for all my static sites and it's been amazing. All I have to do is push and they take care of everything else, I can't understate how much I love the product. If you want to check out a live deployment, my website https://www.stavros.io/ is on Netlify.

I especially like how they provide forms, lambdas and very easy testing by just pushing to another git branch. I don't see why anyone would use Github/Gitlab pages when Netlify exists.

I run destinysets.com, a companion site for the video game Destiny 2, and I cannot say how much of a life saver it has been for me. Not only are deploys as simple as a git push, but I also get next-level things like "preview environments" for pull requests _for free_.

The PR preview environments are super important to me because there's a lot of curated data that powers the site, as JSON files in the repo, and I accept user contributions. The Preview environments means I can check what it looks like without having to pull down and run it locally - I even preview, merge and deploy from my phone sometimes. It's amazing.

Hey, I'm a user at destinysets! I really love what you've done with the platform. The experience is a lot faster than some of the other tools out there.

I'm also a very happy Netlify user. Their product seems years ahead of other tools. My favorite thing is that you can now manage DNS and generate SSL for all domains with a single click. Perfect for static sites, SPAs, etc.

I love how Netlify allows you to use the benefits of static site technology (like distributed version control) while allowing for dynamic site functionality like forms. I looked at the documentation for forms https://www.netlify.com/docs/form-handling/#receiving-submis... and it looks very easy.

I can see how people would use Netlify over GitLab. By the way, in GitLab we allow you to test a branch with a review app. In fact for 11.5 we're planning to show you a direct link to the page that changes https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/33418 and someone contributed the option to make the static site that is generate with pages private https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/33422

Lots of people use Netlify with GitLab as well. Some using our connection to GitLab and some pushing from GitLab's CI to Netlify via CLI.

Any way we could make the connection with Netlify better? Netlify already added support for GitLab https://www.netlify.com/blog/2016/07/13/gitlab-integration-f...

Maybe a JAMS template?

Yeah, we integrate pretty deeply already. We do have some new flows that could potentially make the story around publishing to Netlify from GitLab cloud seamless from an authentication standpoint, would be happy to brainstorm!

Great, please send an email to kirsten@ our company domain with a link to this comment and we'll discuss.

Off-topic, but can I compliment you/GitLab on a truly useful cookie notification popup? For me, that meets the spirit of the GDPR!

Great to hear!

The one thing I've experienced on this front that was clunky was integration between netlify and self-hosted Gitlab. If y'all could come up for a solution for that (which is prettier than "manual" deploy using webhook), I'd love both of your companies even more than I already do.

I just built a test site with Netlify + GitLab. Why must I give it full access to all of my GitLab repositories? I just want to deploy 1 repo. Seems like that opens up unnecessary possibilities for a security breach.

It's the only option with the current OAuth model, however, we only use the token generated in your web browser, and talk directly to GitLab's API from there. We use the token to add a deploy key and a webhook to the specific repository we're linking to, and after that it's discarded. That way there's no long lived token stored on our end that has access to your whole account.

Awesome. Great workaround. Thanks!

I don't like "+1" type comments, but this is a rare instance where I want to highly recommend Netlify. From support to performance, uptime and UI, they've been exceptional.

How does it compares against zeit now?

I found Netlify a few months ago and use them just for my blog currently. They are great though and would recommend them to anyone. It was trivial to get something setup with https with a Let's Encrypt certificate on my own domain, pushing to GitHub to update the site.

It's very simple to configure url rewriting and pre-rendering for SPAs. CxJS website (https://cxjs.io) and documentation is hosted on Netlify and it has been an amazing experience so far. We were on their single user $9 paid plan, but they switched us on the free tier with the pricing change some time ago.

Can you edit (say Jekyll blogs) on GitHub and them somehow push to Netlify automatically?

This is critical for me since I edit using my Android Jekyll-optimized tool Teddy Hyde (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.EditorHyde...).

Yes, as soon as you commit, the site will get built and go live.

I host my Jekyll blog (zeph.co) on Netlify and can confirm that you can do this.

Netlify connects to GitHub and rebuilds your site automatically when a change is made in the master branch. There's no technical setup – you just connect to your GitHub account with their UI.

I used to use GitHub Pages to host my blog, but Netlify provides more features and it's also free.

Have you tried using Github pages for that? Really easy to setup Jekyll blogs there

Sure, but GitHub Pages is a relatively “dumb” host. You don’t get preview builds, branch deploys, and lots of other things. It’s nice for a minimal approach but for a large site with lots of people working on it I would not recommend it.

Is it all that different from hosting on S3 or Firebase or GitHub pages?

It's as difference from that as Dropbox is from mounting an NFS share on your computer.

Could you elaborate on the difference here? Mounting an NFS share is almost universally easier, in my experience.


I think the commenter is referring to this infamous thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9224

Haha... I wasn't on Hacker News then, so I beg your forgiveness :)

That's funny, but as someone who still does not use drop box, NFS shares seem a lot easier to me than setting up drop box. I think I tried drop box once but I found it more onerous to log in than to type mount /mnt/nfs , so.... I guess I'm not the target market (and that's okay!).

Could you elaborate? That would be very helpful, the article doesn't quite detail ...

The end result is the same as hosting on S3 + CloudFront, it just saves you a lot of trouble setting things up, makes things just work, gives you nice features like lambdas, A/B testing, forms, authentication, etc etc for free, and just makes your life super easy.

Basically, if you have a repository with your Jekyll (or whatever) site, just add it to Netlify and that's it. It's served, and will automatically update when you push.

I have a Hugo site on github pages, and it's updated whenever I push. And no Netlify in the middle.

Funny enough I went from exactly that to gitlab+netlify setup. You get loads out of the box, HTTPS being the big one. In case you didn't get the reference, the other comment was the top comment for dropbox when it announced funding. In theory yes you can still roll your own dropbox, but we all have limited resources and dropbox and netlify make things so much easier that it's worth paying them money to do it right on the first try and not worry about maintenance.

Firebase does free certs on custom domains. Publish is a single command.

I use Netlify for website (https://www.primative.net), which is generated thanks to Hugo.

The ability to be able to publish using a simple `git push` and let them do all the work (including assets minification and bundling) is nothing short but amazing. Their dashboard is also really cool. Having the possibility to test a merge request without disrupting the live site, lock a deploy to a specific commit, or see the deployment live. It's simply amazing.

And their customer support is also great. Just yesterday I had a problem with Hugo not compiling my SCSS on their hand and I had two people trying to help me super quickly.

Netlify is a service I can't stop praising because they're just great on all fronts.


Netlify is one of those few products that feels like it Just Works(TM) which is rare to find!

Same. It's made my product design/prototyping/validation workflow insanely efficient. Really happy with it, and curious to explore some of the other features (like lambdas).

Couldn’t agree more. Started with hosting static sites directly on AWS with a combo of S3, CloudFront, Route51, etc. While it worked, Netlify is just so much nicer.

Git push done.

Now I use a combo or netlify plus aws lambda for functionality. Interested to see what they deliver next.


stavros.io is FAST. I'm sure Netlify deserves some credit but much of it belongs to your static approach and the decision not to load the page with 200 JS calls.

Thank you! Yes, I hate slow websites, I have removed as much as I could easily remove, mainly all the social crap. If you look closely, the social buttons are actually static images and links.

I’ve been using Netlify since at least 2015 and it’s invredible.

I’ve put a few small paying clients on their platform.

I hope they succeed!

Fantastic, quick website. Kudos. I'll be checking out Netlify, too.

May not be widely known, but a startup named Divshot launched what feels to me now like an identical service to Netlify, just a few years earlier. Existed ~2012-2015. They were acquired by Google and their product was converted into Firebase Hosting. I haven't tried it, though:


Founder of Divshot here, and engineering manager of the Firebase Hosting team. Thanks for the shoutout! :)

Your co-founder is one of my favorite people, we were good friends in high-school. I'm super proud of you guys whenever I see divshot mentioned. :)

I love Firebase Hosting probably just as much as Netlify. Even more if you consider the various services besides hosting that Firebase offers. Thank you for making a great product! And if you're hiring, my email is in my profile :D

I loved using Divshot, and was sad when their service was shuttered.

I’ve been using Netlify ever since, though, and have launched 20+ web projects in the past 18 months. Easily my favorite hosting solution I’ve ever used.

Is it free for personal projects?

It’s just free for most projects. You pay for lambdas and forms, etc.

I use Firebase hosting for a static site that gets between 100-400gb of traffic per month, and it works out a bit cheaper than Netlify ($15-$50/m vs. flat $45/m). I hardly ever use their web interface and just deal with their one line CLI.

My biggest concern with Firebase is if it's still going to be around in a year or two. That's why I'd be reluctant to use it for DB and auth stuff. I narrowly avoided jumping into Parse back in the day before that was shuttered so I'm wary.

It seems like more and more services are being moved under the Firebase umbrella (Crashlytics for example), signalling Google is committed long term to Firebase. It is a considerable form of cloud lock-in if you get your data into Firebase (firestore) and a competitive advantage over AWS, so there is good reason to believe this is long term strategy as well.

> My biggest concern with Firebase is if it's still going to be around in a year or two

That's interesting , why Firebase would go away ?

It's just back end on top of GCloud.

Actually , everytime you do something in Firebase , it create a ressources in your GCloud account.

Firebase may not be super popular for SaaS but for Mobile , it's the king and by far , you can use it with no doubt.

I think most of the concern comes from Google shutting down services and apis pretty regularly. I wouldn't use it for large projects or long term projects because of how differently you need to write things to effectively work with it.

I was gonna come here to bring this up as well.

FYI to any readers: Firebase Hosting has nothing to do with the other Firebase stuff. In fact, I personally dislike their live database quite a bit.

If you want to host a simple static site with HTTPS, Firebase Hosting really makes it incredibly easy. My only complaint is that they don't let you view access logs. Here's the official response [0] from the Firebase team as to why that's the case.

Once you have to do anything more complex I think it's better to use a different service. If you don't want to host anything yourself I've heard positive things about Zeit [1], although I haven't personally used it.

[0] https://stackoverflow.com/questions/29669725/can-i-access-w3...

[1] https://zeit.co/

FWIW providing access logs is something we're exploring (though it's still a ways out).

I certainly hope that you don't feel the need to move to something else when your application scales / gets more complex -- our whole mission is to make it so you don't have to. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@mbleigh) if you have specific questions/concerns.

Firebase is just awesome. I have deployed several minor apps on the platform. With out-of-the-box auth management and the db, I can have a static client-side only app that is relatively featured. I used to actually "code server side" to manage data, and that seems so redundant now with firebase. Thanks!

I thought Firebase was Firebase since 2011, and got bought by Google in 2014.


Divshot is a separate product, that became a Firebase feature.

I used to be a Divshot customer - they were fantastic.

So much praising so little talk about its limits. I consider myself to be kinda stick in a Rails way of thinking. But most projects I touch heavily depend on a backend, database, or raw computing power.

Everything that doesn't fall in those categories is something I create static (ex nanoc.) i just build out locally push to my git and let a post-commit hook do the Copy pasta. My static Web server runs without attention for 5 plus years now.

I see it makes stuff easier, but i fail to see why it would be so much better than any other git deployment method.

They're basically giving you:

- the "static webserver"

- the sandbox for commit hooks

- instant CDN & cache-busting

- 1-click domain setup

- 1-click SSL setup

- git-branch powered a/b testing

- git-branch powered deploy previews

- Functions-as-a-service deployment and routing

and that's the free tier

A traditional MVC app process has a start up time and a memory cost so you either have a bad experience while a user waits for it to start up, or you have to rent (or own) some amount of RAM 24/7.

Static site + API Gateway + async processing by a Function-as-a-service type pattern (or its abstracted productified form) allows for something between your two categories here -- mostly content that is pre-rendered but supporting some write-type features where people can still post comments or subscribe to newsletters or something like that.

Well all deployment aspects equal, I suppose it's the performance. ~200ms to first paint in the browser is pretty hard to beat.

Ok, I'm a web dev and I hate having to deal with web servers, configs, CI, etc. The idea sounds great, but I can't understand how this works from this post.

Can someone explain how this works exactly? Are they basically offering a way to prebuild apps to static assets and host them on CDNs? How do server-side only things will happen then?

It's because most of it is marketing speak. I suppose they don't want to call it a better GitHub pages with awesome UX, but rather invent a new category term. In the tech sector if it sticks then it's pure gold.

I've set up a landing page recently and it was flawless on Netlify. You provide a Git repo, connect it to their CI then give some build commands and they will handle the rest.

They still host it on regular servers obviously, but you don't have to do anything to manage it. They have a DNS server which is also pretty neat.

Think Heroku but just for deploying static assets. You can do something as simple as have a git repo of assets, push it, and you're up and running with SSL, etc, straight away.

How do you get dynamic? Well, they support a build process so static sites or assets can be built at their end, if that's how you roll. But if you want fully dynamic sites, well, no, you can use their AWS Lambda-powered functions service to help build this out, but you won't be deploying something like a PHP or Rails app to Netlify :-) This limitation opens up a lot of other opportunities to simplify deployment, however.

Databases are, in general, the next obvious question for a dynamic app on Netlify. Some solutions can use lambdas, but since a straight-up database is always going to be necessary for certain things, it makes me wonder if they'd roll out a paid database at some point... though that sort of conflicts with their "JAM" "no backend! well somebody else's backend maybe?" selling point

Firebase Cloud Firestore is so nice and they've been working on it for a long time, this would likely not be a good use of their time.

And if your main dynamic features are things like handling forms or an occasional db call on the backend, this isn't a bad approach. It's cheaper and less maintenance generally for a lot of simple cases, but obviously won't apply to all cases equally well.

> How do server-side only things will happen then?

By calling a service from JavaScript. What you're probably getting at is, how do I dynamically generate web pages?

That's different. As a web developer you're probably used to generating the presentation tier on the server at least some of the time. You query a database and spit out some HTML. The so-called "static" approach here means:

1. Generate more stuff up front with build tools that you previously would do at request time. For example, why write server code to generate and cache a blog on every request when you can just build it whenever you write a new blog post?

2. In many cases this greatly narrows down the dynamic stuff that might need to happen. See if you can use JavaScript to fill in the rest. Instead of inserting that ad banner with server code, write a JavaScript function to fetch it from a service (like Lambda) and update the DOM.

3. You can be as dynamic as you want to be by expanding on what you do with JavaScript and services. This is sometimes called writing a single page app. It's maybe more complicated but on the plus side, it's how you write mobile apps and you may be able to share the same backend.

It's basically the subset of AWS concerned with delivering web pages to browsers in a friendly package.


You can keep a static site with something like Hugo in a git repo and have Netlify automatically build it and make it available on changes. You can also just toss an HTML and CSS file in (like I do on https://unstuckdev.com/) and their robots put it up.

You can do more with it, and that's what costs money, but it takes a small but tedious hurdle out of putting some HTML on the web.

I love this service because it takes away the local toolchain required to do static sites and does that build process online.

If you're a ruby guy, you can do Jekyll and Middleman for example.

So my toolchain (using middleman) for my company website is:

1. Make change locally

2. Push to Bitbucket

3. Netlify notices the change to the master branch

4. Netlify pulls it to it's container, builds it

5. Newly built files are put in a CDN and HTTPS...all for free

One of my favorite services right now.

EDIT: To give more context this is what I did before:

1. Did the build using middleman to create static assets

2. Uploaded those static assets via FTP to AWS S3

> Are they basically offering a way to prebuild apps to static assets and host them on CDNs?

Yes. Pretty much. They're a more dev friendly CloudFront. Supports deploying from a git repo out-of-the-box, where there's a separate service for this with CloudFront. More expensive than CloudFront, though.

> How do server-side only things will happen then?

This isn't the main problem they're solving. They expect that you'll have an API somewhere to talk to. But they do have a "functions" feature, which is based on AWS Lambda, so you could use that for things that would otherwise fall under server-side. They also have a simple "forms" feature for basic data collection.

Their main offering is 0 config static hosting. They also added a CI service to build your frontend for you and then deploy it.

Then they have myriad other value added features, one of which is cloud functions. You can use that for your server side requirements, or you can use your own server.

It’s not what they do that’s special, it’s how easy/magical they make the process (as well as the very generous free tier).

This looks a lot like github pages, but with some additional infrastructure? Where does the backend go?

The same place the backend goes when you use GitHub pages.

As far as I can tell it just automatically runs yarn build an does a copy to S3 whenever something happens in your GIT repo.

Setting up a few scripts and S3/Cloudfront to do this on your own takes a bit of work. With Netlify you just press the button it seems.

Move these to either a client side database like firebase/firestore or to lambda / cloud functions.

Not seeing any bandwidth, storage or other costs so I wonder what their soft/hard limits are for those things. I see their forms have really low limits for the price 1000 submissions and 1GB file upload limits, 2m functions on the $45 plan [1].

[1] https://www.netlify.com/pricing/

They can be found in the TOS (see Quota & Limits section)


Thanks, strange it is in the ToS.

For paid accounts:

- Network bandwidth: 1TB/month - Soft

- Storage: 1TB - Soft

- API requests: 500 requests/minute, 3 deploys/minute* - Hard

For free accounts:

- Network Bandwidth: 100GB/month - Soft

- Storage: 100GB - Soft

- API requests: 500 requests/minute, 3 deploys/minute* - Hard

I wonder if they do overages, or just a hard cut-off, no mention. They probably nudge users that go over soft limits to the enterprise column.

I work for netlify, and yes, we ask you to upgrade, don't just turn you off if you go over.

My concern was that there is no clear upgrade path for static websites, if running out of free bandwidth.

All per-site addons focus on different kinds of dynamic features (Forms, Identity, Functions, ...) I suppose a Team account would work, but that also seems like paying for unneeded features.

The support team just linked me to the pricing page.

Hey Sorry to jump on something unrelated but i have a super tiny personal site on netlify and would love a smaller plan so i can actually pay you.

I know it's probably not worth it for you to do such a thing but an optional pay money for nothing extra compared to the free hosting option would be great

Question to Netlify's founders. Did you really have to raise from VCs? Was the company already profitable?

We started out bootstrapping and were profitable before our first round of funding. However, we always strongly believed that the larger vision of what we wanted to build would be impossible to achieve without outside funding.

How did you decide when it was time to stop bootstrapping and raise a round? Was there a magic number traction-wise (total users, MRR, etc) or was it motivated by the desire to staff up a team and execute on your product vision?

One of the things I love about Netlify is that I have never asked my clients to flush their cache after updating their sites... everything is invalidated and refreshed almost by magic. I suddenly realised this after months of using it, sometimes multiple pushes to live each day and it never skipped a beat, no issues with clients getting edgy because their site hasn’t been updated or because something doesn’t look right (css not refreshed but html has) etc.

It just works. Every time.

Built vote by mail website for Florida (https://www.stampthevote.com) using a single JSON file with 1500 zip codes and Gatsby.js and deployed with Netlify.

Great to be in the future and not have to worry about hosting a server for such a simple site.

Nice work. I did see a small issue...you're getting the string "(undefined)" in some of the page titles:

<title data-react-helmet="true">How to Vote in Clay County (undefined)</title>

Thank you

The pricing seems a bit weird. I'm dubious about hosting something semi-important on the free tier, but the first paid price point is $45, which seems too high for easier static hosting.

On the free tier you're just hosting static files on Netlify, so they can cache very effectively. Also since you're just hosting a set of static files you're hardly "locked in", so if for whatever reason the free tier stops being appealing you can just move on to a different provider.

I've had a site on the free tier for about a month now and have had zero issues. Page speed is great. It was easy to set up. I don't have a need for any of the paid features anytime soon and don't plan on upgrading. I've been recommending them to anyone who will listen.

It almost seems too good to be true but as other people have pointed out when its just static content their costs are so low. Since I don't use anything special on their platform, if anything ever happens migrating away should be a breeze too.

I've been tinkering with Netlify for a year or two now and have two production sites on it for the last ~6 months, and it's amazing. If you have a site built with Vue/React/Angular, there really is no reason to not use Netlify! I've even been playing around with some API endpoints using Netlify Functions (which is AWS Lambda) and it's pretty neat, you can develop the front end and back end in the same repo and have it all automagically deploy with a git push.

This is just marketing pitch. Could someone paste some technical architecture on how this is done?

Also how you manage applications and data across different jurisdictions and countries?

It’s static hosting + CDN + ergonomic tooling.

How is an "Application Delivery Network" different from a CDN (which AFAIK is what Netlify currently is)? Netlify still only handles static content, right?

They run the buildprocess for your static content for you, and have a functions as a service thing integrated, which I think wraps Amazon Lambda.

How does this compare to zeit (zeit.world)? I notice they support functions and identity.

Netlify is great. I have 5 sites there. All for free. My only concern is that it's too good to be true. I hope nothing changes for the worse (i.e. they get bought and cripple the free tier).

I knew nothing about Netlify before this post, so this is a purely generic, rational note: yes it will. You lure in customers with an attractive free tier and then change it so you can monetize at least some of them and be profitable. Choosing the right business model however, is what I think shows the true character of the company’s leadership. Unfortunately greed usually wins. But enjoy the product while it lasts. Might be a good amount of months, or even years before that happens.

On a sidenote: Please be aware that they didn't start free - I used them before their current pricing tiers and happily paid about about 25 € for their entry- or mid-level tier. Sometime after the new plans kicked in, I realized that I'd loose absolutely nothign by downgrading to the free plan.

It still sounds to good to be true, but I just wanted to point out that they charged for their service when they were much smaller.

Netlify is fantastic. It simplifies deployment and delivery of the websites dramatically. What Heroku did for app development, they did for websites. And even though they are nominally static websites, you can wire them with React or Vue and still have apps.

They make my life easy.

Agreed. I've switched out my complicated GitHub+S3+CloudFront+Cloudflare for static hosting to Netlify. Netlify also handles some of the stuff you don't even think about - e.g. partial deploy failure. With my past scripts I might push `index.html`, lose network, error out, etc, and not push the updated `assets/blah.css`.

They also have Functions https://www.netlify.com/features/functions/ for dynamic content, but I haven't worked with those, yet.

Neither of you explained in layman terms what they actually do.

They're a static site web host. You deploy using git, and they handle pulling your site from git and deploying it to a CDN. If you're using a static site engine like Hugo or Jekyll, they'll build the site for you as well.

I think what people are excited about is deploying a JavaScript-based frontend (probably written in React or Vue.js) using Netlify, so the client-side code is quickly distributed and accessible.

Building Javascript-based frontends are already compiling to static assets, which Netlify could already host. JAMstack is about having the javascript front-end call APIs on the backend. This is about creating an environment for all the back-end functions to be in one place, possibly with the front-end deployment. Not sure how it is going to be implemented though.

it means you set it and forget it

I don't quite get this. I'm a long time Heroku user and this seems to be much more limited and not much better in any dimension, why is this so popular?

This is an honest question, I just don't quite get why there's so much excitement in the comments.


Many brochureware websites can be deployed as static sites.

There are many sophisticated static site generators which allow creating and maintaining large complex sites.

There are static site generator CMS apps which provide viable front-ends so that non-technical people can manage content. See netlify CMS.

All content is kept in git with all benefits derived from it.

Netlify hosting is free, simple to set up, secure by default, and provides lightning fast access in a “set it and forget it” manner.

To update your site, push to your github/gitlab/bitbucket repo. To create a preview of changes, push to a branch.

Form processing, logins etc. are inexpensive easy to set up add-ons.

Static websites are a magnitude faster, less hack-able and worry-free.

It’s a really sweet spot.

Heroku could be used for this but the free tier is limited.

Compared to hosting a static site on Heroku, Netlify deal with the CDN setup, cache invalidation on deploys and efficient delivery of static assets, with minimal configuration and a generous free tier. Heroku is much more flexible but you have more to configure yourself.

Ease of use vs flexibility.

Right now, I push for static site solutions over dynamic ones where possible because hosting is an order of magnitude simpler and there's way less that can go wrong.

Really easy to use, I personally don't need anything more than they offer

It has a generous free tier.

I have a few popular HN-launched static sites on Netlify including https://servicelist.io/. Not only do they provide a seamless hosting and CDN (cache-expiring) experience but they also have a wonderful multi-user CMS that eliminates about half of my Rails sites!

I'll reiterate a few other sentiments in this thread, it feels a bit too good to be true. Even with 300k monthly traffic, not paying a dime seems like a precarious situation to be in for a free service.

Is 300k monthly traffic even a big deal when all you are doing is serving static files?

With images it can definitely add up. On S3 + Cloudfront, I was paying about $85/mo for coolbackgrounds.io

I'm in love with Netlify. The product is spot on. The support team is fast and knowledgeable. Things are simple and they just work, and it doesn't feel like it's holding you back.

It's been a year since I last spoke with Netlify staff [^1]. They weren't super keen on the arguments I raised against using their service given you can host Websites that load in 100-200ms on S3 with CloudFront for pennies a month. If course S3 isn't as push-button as Netlify but it's certainly much more extensible and will probably be around longer.

[^1]: https://habd.as/zero-to-http-2-aws-hugo/

Can you push straight to S3 from git? I know you can wire up S3 sync with commit hooks or something similar, but that’s more work.

Also they developed a CMS: https://github.com/netlify/netlify-cms

I love Netlify! In my opinion, it’s not „just“ a great way to host static sites, but also probably the easiest (and cheapest) way to get started with functions as a service/serverless.

You don‘t need your own AWS account to use Lambda functions.

I compiled a landing page example with Mailchimp mailing list signup a while ago:


Imagine that I set up/rent a server with apache or nginx pre-configured for mass virtual hosting.

For instance, servicea.org and service.org are placed into two separate directories with the same names, respectively. As soon as web pages are uploaded the pages are served.

What is the difference between that method and Netlify, aside from the forms function?

The CDN, and the fact that your server is a single point of failure.

Our studio, Marquee (https://www.marquee.studio), has an in-house publishing platform called Proof (https://www.proof.pub) that we started back in 2012 which couples fully customizable editorial tools and content model, a headless CMS, and React/Serverless based SDK to compile static websites specifically for editorial and content marketing teams. An example that was designed by our team and managed through Proof that HN is probably familiar with is The First Round Review (http://firstround.com/review/).

It's a similar approach that Netlify has put together and works great. Can't advocate for it strongly enough.

Having spent the last few days trying to get Cloudfront with Lambda@Edge working, I'm excited to see this. Cloudfront is a mess and clearly Lambda@Edge is "cutting edge" at AWS (where cutting edge means "full of bugs")

You might want to try Cloudflare Workers instead. (disclaimer: I work at Cloudflare)

I assumed they were for service workers with SPAs. Not the case? The AWS landscape is so massive it's hard to understand what everything does. I'll check out CloudFlare workers, thank you.

Funny, I keep getting confused between CloudFront and CloudFlare and assumed this was another AWS product but it obviously isn't.

Do workers somehow operate inside your AWS stack via distributions of CloudFront? If not, that's probably not going to work, we have so much in S3, etc.

But, if that assumption is incorrect, can you point me to a document that suggests a transition path?

Cloudflare is actually a totally different company, yes! Here is more info about Workers: https://developers.cloudflare.com/workers/about/

Netlify has been very tempting these last years, and it looks like they're constantly upping their game, but still, I think will pass.

Why ? Because it's a US company. I am trying very hard to give the least data I can to companies under the Patriot Act, and by subscribing to Netlify, which afaik have their main datacenter in the US, I would be "offering" it all my most precious content. So even if it is more work, I will host my static websites on my personal Gitlab instance (which has lots of workers based on Docker to automatically deploy your Hugo/Jekyll/... website).

Or do you think I am being too paranoid ?

These guys are absolutely great. Well deserve and super glad they will be able to keep growing.

We're running Standups.io frontend ReactJS app with them, and for $0 / mo, which sounds nuts. Sometimes I wish they'd even charge us.

This may be a naive question, but how many websites are actually static these days?

There is a static renaissance happening as people realize it doesn't make sense to serve content that rarely changes from a database. Think of the millions of Wordpress blogs that could benefit from the speed, reliability and security of a static frontend. Here is more in-depth argument for static:


Also check out https://jamstack.org/ for more info on tools and techniques for going static.

We host landing and marketing pages and such on netlify, linking off to the app on a subdomain. It's really convenient.

The model of deploying a single page app that calls serverless endpoints and cloud databases, has architectural reasons to be preferred. Multi-cloud is a great way to be robust to cloud failures, and have better negotiating leverage with your utility vendor. I wrote a blog post about using Netlify with FaunaDB to build multi-cloud serverless applications here: https://fauna.com/blog/survive-cloud-vendor-crashes-with-net...

Not a ton. But the idea here is you use javascript to call an API for your dynamic content. This way your javascript/css/images are all setup on a CDN that you don't have to manage.

But where does the API come from? Dynamic content needs don't go away with static sites and usually it's yet another service to worry about.

In our case, we moved a blog from WP to a static Gatsby.js site. It's hosted on Netlify and all content is driven by Contentful where updates trigger a webhook on Netlify to rebuild the blog (new posts are pulled during this build process).

So now you're using 2 different services to host a site, instead of just using hosted Wordpress (or squarespace, wix, etc). Does Contentful provide the same content editing experience? What are the advantages here?

The advantage is that the resulting website being just static pages will be much faster and secure that your hosted wordpress. And compared to wix etc, you have a lot more control on the appearance and structure of your website, because you can use wathever static website builder you choose

How is it more secure when you're still accessing an API? Wordpress itself might not be the best product but other fully-hosted services are all the same, whether they render the site or just give you an API.

A CDN is equally fast when the content is cached, and if you're building the entire site as static pages then it's not really a dynamic site in the first place and can also be done with HTML or markdown in the same repo.

The fine control seems the be the only real advantage, at the cost of more moving pieces.

> How is it more secure when you're still accessing an API?

It only accesses the API with a read-only token during the build process.

> it's not really a dynamic site in the first place and can also be done with HTML or markdown in the same repo

This is definitely true and was an option we considered, however colocating hundreds+ posts with code made the repo unnecessarily heavy and slowed our build time drastically. Our content creators also didn't want to use git to edit their content (they would have to learn git / or use the web UI which is a suboptimal editing experience), nor did I want content creators in our repos.

> The fine control seems the be the only real advantage, at the cost of more moving pieces.

Lots of other advantages that I won't outline here, but our data is completely decoupled from our frontend now, so we can do cool stuff like crossposting to different properties via webhook, data cleanup via API (I ran all the blog posts from WP through some remark tools so we have a more standard look and feel), etc... Might not be the right setup for you, but it works really well for us!

Good luck getting content editors to commit code to a repo or in markdowns. The contentful + netlify setup is really elegant.

If you're using Contentful then how is that different or better than wordpress or any hosted system that is made for writing posts?

The only 2 advantages of splitting this into separate systems is extra customization (even though hosted solutions are already very flexible) and compiling the entire site into static files. The 2nd seems to be more of a thing for devs to enjoy rather than something that makes a real difference to users, especially when you're already using a CDN.

I think they have a vision of SPAs powered by serverless workers and static assets but they've mostly delivered the static part so far.

I'm sure there will be a lot soon. You can trigger builds anytime content is updated via Netlify CMS/Contentful etc.

Well-deserved -- congrats to Chris, Matt and the whole Netlify team!

Does Netlify support 2FA for paid tiers? Their settings page is really clear about some features being available in certain plans (and btw I love this, it's really clear and it's not very aggressive of an upsell / not obnoxious), but there is no such callout for 2FA.

This is one critical feature that github pages has over Netlify. Github's 2FA is really nice, actually; you can add multiple U2F keys and you can also use TOTP and/or SMS if you want, all at the same time.

I work for netlify. We support 2FA on any tier, since you can auth via git provider and require 2FA there.

We presently don't support REQUIRED 2FA (you can also set a password) under the enterprise account level, since that's what enables SSO using a SAML-based identity provider and enforcing those limits there.

Thanks for the answer from a direct source :)

A core part of Netlify's offering (any SaaS's offering really) is some kind of guarantee that attackers can't get in and vandalize users' sites. When you delegate authentication to an identity provider (whether that's through OAuth2/OIDC or SAML), you're delegating that core feature to a third party. You've assuredly gone through the due diligence of asking them how they manage their own security and authentication, but it's still something that you don't control.

Facebook, one of the most valuable public companies in the world, recently reported a breach where they had to reset any "log in with Facebook" authentications for millions of users. Github has roughly two orders of magnitude fewer employees than Facebook.

Anyway in case you have an internal feature request for U2F on "email" logins, please consider this an external "+1" for it.

Could someone enlighten me how does Netlify differ from Github pages? If I want to put up a static website, what's the advantage of using Netlify over Github pages?

I use Github pages. I'm not a professional web developer so my take is pretty non technical.

The main difference for me seems to be netlify let's you have input forms and do POST requests whereas github pages is more static and only serves static pages via GET.

I've started using Netlify for a lot of my freelance work which lately is mostly static sites. It's been a real treat using it from all aspects. I almost wish their lowest paid tier wasn't so high as I gladly fork over some dollars.

Recent site I built hosted on Netlify: https://www.magnoliasmill.com

Sorry if this is a little offtopic but I use pfSense DNS Resolver ( over TLS) with DNSSEC support and every Netlify page I check fails on DNSSEC. Is this a problem on my side or is the Netlify DNSSEC configuration wrong? It seems like CNAME records at the domain root might be the problem.

Netlify doesn't even require Git - you can just zip some static files and drop it in their uploader.

I've been looking for a service like this and I'm really interested. Too bad the site is choking a bit on extra traffic right now. I'll have to check back later.

By the way, does someone know if Netlify offer their webserver code with an open source license ? I can't find such a repository on their github profile ...

I wonder if Cloudflare has plans to compete in this space. If they added it to the $20/month plan, it might push more conversion from the free plan.

I asked them once, and they seemed pretty adamant about not hosting content. Then again, with the IPFS gateway they just added, you can pretty easily do that.

Their (newish) cache API, and worker-kv API seem to be all the foundation you would need.

Basically, it feels like they would need to make a nice UI and perhaps some connectors for github, etc.

Why will someone use a paid plan of CLoudflare when Netlify is already free?

To compete with Netlify's paid tiers.

Netlify has been a great help in building https://localgov.fyi/ Kudos!

The documentation says it supports NodeJS, Ruby and Python for static site generation. Any other languages/tools supported?

Maybe I've just reached curmudgeon age, but how exactly is this an improvement on: FTP to server, upload files?

I suppose you get a cdn and easier configuration (?) of ssl.

Now the question is do I need a cdn to host my blog made of static files? No. But I will take it if it is free.

Any tips on moving a Node.js based Ghost blog to Netlify. I am open to moving to static blog generators.

it is like firebase?

>“This is where the web is going,” commented Chris Coyier, CSS expert

are you kidding me?

About which part?

CSS """expert"""

Chris Coyier is pretty well known in the front end community. He created CSS-Tricks and co-founded CodePen. If anyone can claim to be an expert it's him. But if you're just trying to have a laugh at CSS - well, that's fine too I guess.

I didn't mean to belittle they guy at all, but the title "CSS expert" looks ironic to me, just like "SEO expert"

What's so wrong with an "Expert" title suffix?

i dont get why i should use netlify over aws? what is the advantage here, i might give it a try.

What part or AWS? Lightsail? S3 pages? Cloudfront? Lambda?

you can do it with cloudformation, although the SSL stuff might need automation but nothing impossible.

where does netlify host my site? with git hooks you can trigger CI and automation on AWS, perhaps even AWS SWF

Replace y with x and shuffle some letters and you have Netflix.

Did I type "netfl" and hit enter a million times the first few months I used it? Probably.

Netlify has a free plan for hosting personal sites. Though I could do things manually, the continuous integration, free SSL, and Hugo integration make deploying my personal site as easy as anything I've ever seen.

Plug for my site: https://www.joshuahu.io/

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