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Can anyone explain the elevator pitch of Netlify to me? I know it's become quite popular in the last couple of years and I can't figure out why. I don't doubt that it's good at what it does, but it seems to do the same thing as any number of services.

For example, I see a lot of people talk about it for static sites. But you get free static sites through GitHub, nearly free static sites on Amazon S3. What does Netlify do special that these others don't? I'm not attempting to bash the service, I just want to understand what its killer features are.




One feature I haven't seen in the comments here is the ability to just drag and drop an entire website folder from your harddisk to Netlify and it's live within seconds. Which worked great for a couple of older personal websites I had.

Second feature that is great is that you can use the cli to perform a draft deploy, which generates a unique public URL which you can share with your testers/marketeers/writers/translators etc. It's a great and easy way to quickly share test versions without having to set up auth (the draft URL's are a hash, so pretty long and unguessable).

Third useful feature is that Netlify can capture form submits. It's quite basic but works great if you have to whip up a quick page to gather email addresses, RSVP's etc.

It's also great that they have integrated Lets Encrypt, but Netlify did experience a bad outage a couple of weeks ago where wrong certs were served (for a different domain) causing a big scary warning for our visitors. Luckily this was resolved pretty quickly, but you do feel pretty powerless when something like that happens.

At Mailhardener we run most of our static content from Netlify and we are very pleased with the service that Netlify offers.


Welcome to 1997! This is how Geocities, Tripod etc worked back then (I think geocities.ws has FTP access too, for the complete experience). Amazing to see the web coming full circle even on this.


Heh, I'm old enough to remember that experience!

But yeah, it's basically like that but with some more modern features like being able to do this from a browser (no filezilla required!) and better control over HTTP headers and such.


All of that could be done in Geocities as well =)


Geocities was enormously popular for good reasons.

However, I don’t think it had the ability to preview a deploy or roll it back with 100% certainty that it will be exactly as was before, which is something you really need when deploying is (too) easy.


I have seen those exact words to describe Netlify - it's like Geocities, but for the modern web. I have yet to try it out for myself, but I'm thinking I may use it to get a personal site up and running since I have a tendency to take the power of running my own site on my own VPS a bit too far by changing it up (and usually breaking it) frequently...


There's also Neocities as an acceptable replacement for Geocities. It's also free, unless you want to use your own domain, which requires a $5/mo "donation" to become a Neocities supporter and unlock that and a few other features.


I wonder how they are doing. I hope they don't share the same fate as Geocities.


The guy who runs the site gave a talk a while back about how crazy cheap it is to host it, and why cloud vendors like Amazon and Google are making suckers out of people.

"High Volume, Bandwidth Heavy Infrastructure On The Cheap"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-i6wvix6buI

And I'm pretty sure he's also cryptocoin-rich, anyway.


If they have but a few supporters I suppose they get all the running costs out of it.


> One feature I haven't seen in the comments here is the ability to just drag and drop an entire website folder from your harddisk to Netlify and it's live within seconds. Which worked great for a couple of older personal websites I had.

How is this different than `aws s3 sync local/ s3://your-website.com`?


1. With Netlify you don't need to install any command line tool. For non-technical users it's a must.

2. Netlify is a CDN, so "dragging and dropping" would be equivalent to setting up S3 + Cloudfront.

3. You have to create the bucket before running this command. With Netlify you just drag and drop and it takes a couple seconds (if the site is small enough to be built that fast).

4. Netlify is also able to run a build phase before deploying. With S3 you have to do it locally or setup a remote machine.


npm install netlify-cli -g

The big win for me, and the reason I use Netlify, is that it gives you atomic deploys without any effort. `aws s3 sync` works fine in most cases, but its not atomic, so if you want to make sure what you're deploying is going to work for 100% of users all the time you end up having to build something more complex - at the simplest that involves adding a hash to all your files, making sure they're deployed, and only then pushing index.html (and any other entrypoints).

With Netlify I can just hook it up to Github and they'll handle running any build scripts, and then smoothly flip from the previous version to the new one in single action.


Usability is a killer feature. It’s possible to build a website without understanding how to use the command line. I know I managed it when I was younger!


It's just as easy with Netlify's tool too

netlifyctl deploy --publish-directory local/ --site-id site_id


You're missing out on the brave new future! netlifyctl is dormant, upgrade to netlify-cli: https://github.com/netlify/cli


seems to be similar, but with some nice add-on features for not that much.


> But you get free static sites through GitHub, nearly free static sites on Amazon S3.

I've been really happy using Netlify (with Jekyll) for https://www.checkbot.io/ - I didn't have to think about server admin at all when I got traffic spikes from Hacker News and Product Hunt traffic, and development features make working on the website really straightforward.

Features I like:

- Git based deploys automatically when you make a commit

- Git based rollbacks if there's a problem with the latest commit

- non-master Git branches are automatically deployed for preview

- automatic CDN + HTTPS setup

- no servers to admin i.e. they deal with security, scaling and configuration for you

- they do instant cache invalidation of images/CSS/JS files for you so there's no stale files being served after deploys

- before deploying you can run complex build scripts on Netlify to generate files to be deployed e.g. any static site generator you want to use, run arbitrary NPM scripts, you can download data that to be rendered on to a page

- you can use Netlify CMS as a friendly web interface to edit blog posts, articles and FAQs. It's easy enough for non-technical people so it's possible to use for standard business websites that would normally require something more complex to admin like WordPress.

You can cobble together something like the above yourself but Netlify makes it simple and robust so you can get on with more important things.

People that say you can do something similar with e.g. a Digital Ocean droplet are missing the point and are for sure paying with their time. If you've worked in web dev for a while you've probably tried to automate many of the above features yourself but it's just never going to be as robust as a service that has a dedicated support team behind it.


Obvious to everyone except me, it seems, so obvious that it's never mentioned by anybody, is: What about databases?

The answer could be, "Well, obviously, it's not for database-backed websites", or "Obviously it's perfect for database-backed websites, because now you can use their X feature for your database", or "Obviously, you use some other company to host your database but Netlify for everything else, which is a great improvement because...", or whatever.

What am I obviously missing?


Honestly? Most internet sites don't _need_ a database. You could probably replace most* wordpress/squarespace/wix sites with a statically generated site.

You can call api's from JS and host your database separately, also possible that people use some kind of "serverless" database like google firebase.


Most internet sites don't _need_ a database.

Right, and the rest of them—a very significant portion—do. And yes, I realize that it's possible to use JS to fetch from anywhere, but what I'm wondering is what people are thinking when talking about Netlify.

Are they thinking that this isn't really for database-backed websites but can be used if some other Netlify advantage justifies putting your database and the server code that uses it in different timezones? Or is it the opposite, that this is actually a better way of managing a database-backed website?

What is the positioning of this new type of managed hosting with respect to websites that depend on databases full of, say, customer data? It seems as though that would be a FAQ, not an exotic niche.


I guess they're going after the people who don't need a db first, then add features to support some kind of "db-lite" functionality later. They're competing with wordpress/squarespace, not gcloud or aws (mostly..) :)

See addons: https://www.netlify.com/products/

Also services like this allow you to have a "cms" which is the typical use of a db for _most_ websites: https://www.contentful.com/.

You are correct, heavy db users probably wouldn't go with a service like this :)


If you're not aware, you get most of that for free with GitHub pages:

https://pages.github.com/

It deploys when you push, is based on Jekyll, and GitHub handles all of the hosting/HTTPS/caching themselves.


You're forced to use Jekyll, though, and you're forced to use Github. Netlify lets you generate your site however you want and doesn't tie you to a git provider.


You're not forced to use Jekyll. You just get some nice things if you do. As long as you have a pages repo with an index.html in the root, GitHub can serve it for you. How you generate the repo is completely up to you. I have my own custom static site generator that I use to publish my blog, I use that with a script that does some git dance to keep things clean and it just works.


If you don't use Jekyll (let's say, e.g Hugo) you have to commit the content/artefacts to be published to the repo. Committing artefacts to a repo, even if it's a dedicated branch with a separate root, always seemed like a glorious hack to me with consequences such as CI needing push access to the repo. GitLab CI+Pages doesn't need such a hack but then, competing with that would mean GitHub would basically have to allow running arbitrary process during the publish pipeline, which means they'd enter CI space.


Github pages are limited for 50k views per month.


Gitlab too does this, along with free unlimited private repos & published static sites; html n Jekyll n all. Just a happy user.


Glad to hear that you enjoy using GitLab! Here's a link if anyone wondered https://about.gitlab.com/product/pages/


Gitlab also lets you generate them with whatever you want as it just publishes a result from CI to the pages system


Great summary!

Out of the box support for prerendering is also fantastic too – https://www.netlify.com/docs/prerendering/


Just wondering does zeit also does the same ? http://zeit.co/


Zeit is more about full applications rather than mostly static sites but yes you can do the same thing with both.


From one perspective it’s web hosting from the 00’s using git repos instead of FTP, and adding a couple of neat APIs as add-on products. Your build process can also be codified into Netlify instead of doing it all locally and pushing your final assets.

But that would be missing the point. It’s the promise that they’ll handle things for you. You don’t need to know how to configure a web server, ha proxy, systemd, firewalls, set up network topology or failover, nagios, collect logs, update servers, pay attention to security announcements. You just need to write your thing and commit it to git, and they got you from there.

You may want that for a bunch of different reasons. Maybe you legitimately have no idea how to do all of that yourself and don’t want to learn. Maybe you can do all of that yourself, but you don’t want to… there can be a bunch of reasons for that from cost/benefit to not wanting to bother maintaining a server for a one-off project.

This space isn’t really new, dotCloud in 2010-2011 I think I did the same thing — they supported a lot more backend languages, there had been some Ruby on Rails ones that were similar ‘git repo to production site’ hosting services, but I forget their names.

One feature they have that particularly made me go, “Oh… you guys are smart,” is https://www.netlify.com/docs/form-handling/ Any random small site usually wants some kind of contact form, and they’ll capture some POST endpoints for you and handle that. I imagine over time more and more things along that line will be added.

I don’t normally do JS stuff, but I’ve been learning recently. My friend, John, records videos for YouTube where in one recording session they make a half-dozen episodes. He’s been going on about wanting an app that has a global timer aligned with the video recording, and then a sub timer aligned with the episode with play/pause/flag/comment/delete functionality. I made it to learn VueJS and give him a good birthday present.

I got it set up and deployed in under 15 minutes with Netlify, it has SSL, is speedy, and with Netlify I don’t have to maintain anything or think about it any more: https://timer.onthebranch.com/ so it was a big win for me there.


> I got it set up and deployed in under 15 minutes with Netlify, it has SSL, is speedy, and with Netlify I don’t have to maintain anything or think about it any more: https://timer.onthebranch.com/ so it was a big win for me there.

The crazy thing is that app is basically all client side, and yet you need a whole managed server infrastructure just because there's no P2P way for you to share the code with your friend and for him to be able to run it.


So it's shared hosting without the PHP?

I'm sold.


It's hard to explain. Unlike any other product I've ever used it just works. It's like hosting + CI/CD + CMS features all in one. Deploying just works, there's hardly any configuration you have to do. I used to put all of my static sites and simple applications on DO droplets, but Netlify just makes things much easier way easier (if you can believe it). It's like a PaaS for static sites on steroids.


I like to think of these things as "removing the sand".

It's coarse, rough, irritating and gets everywhere. It's the stuff that makes each tiny step that little bit more annoying. Checking how to set permissions on S3, looking up how to make sure things are redirecting to HTTPS properly, setting up a pre-live stage, etc. Each thing is pretty minor, each tiny interaction not a major deal, but together it's annoying. Netlify has not been annoying.


Basically - once you have the toolchain for generating sites on your local environment, Netlify automates all of the toolchain in the cloud by just hitting 'git push'. It then has ancillary services for more "functional" components that often static sites lack (functions, forms, etc).

It's one of my favorite platforms because of its simplicity.


It's basically Github.io but if you need a more serious operation on top of it. Such as a company marketing website, rather than a personal blog.


AFAIK Github.io does nothing for the build process...it just hosts static files, which means you need to build them somewhere first (locally first).


Github.io can build jeckyll for you, iirc. Netlify does the same thing, with more features.

One Netlify feature I like is that if you host a domain with them, you can deploy branches to subdomains via git naming. This is good way to set up dev/test/prod environments with very little hassle.

Something I see in a lot of threads like this is "What's so special about that? I can do all that stuff myself while self-hosting!" Yeah, but should you? Setting all this stuff up is a bunch of schlep that has no productive value, and I'm quite happy to outsource it to someone who makes it easy and obvious.


It does run builds if you’re using Jekyll, though you’re restricted to a narrow set of whitelisted plugins.

There’s no such limitation with Netlify.


It does have built-in support for Jekyll: https://help.github.com/en/articles/using-jekyll-as-a-static...


I get this experience on my own VPS with Dokku, mostly. I thought Netlify’s big bonus is their CDN and pricing?


Hmm, you right. You could also build a Dropbox clone yourself quite trivially by getting an FTP account, mounting it locally with curlftpfs, and then using SVN or CVS on the mounted filesystem.


Lol I walked into that, I admit it.

But Dropbox is something for laymen and casual consumers, it had a massive convenience quotient — Dokku and Netlify (and surge.sh and Heroku, etc) are for developers specifically, and git pushing to website generator is more or less the same experience with all of those services. There isn’t a gulf of difference between using Netlify and creating a Dokku droplet on DigitalOcean...

Edit: comment below helped me too, CDN, SSL, pretty URLs. All good value with Netlify. Thanks.


> There isn’t a gulf of difference between using Netlify and creating a Dokku droplet

There absolutely is.

There might be one click deployment for tools as DO droplets, but if you're the target user for that kind of thing, you're probably taking on more responsibility than you're even understanding. It might even be that the one click setup has good security defaults and automatic updates set up. It might continue to work without any issue and any intervention for a long time, but by luck/coincidence. On netlify it will continue to work because someone is taking care of the things that need to be taken care of, not because of luck/coincidence.

Another perspective: You're a JS/HTML/CSS developer. Heartbleed happens. On netlify, you don't even need to pay attention. On DO you at the very least need to understand how to check that all your servers are updated.

Another perspective: I've managed linux servers before. I know how to do it. I don't enjoy it.


Yes, you could do all of that or just sign up for a Netlify account, create a site, add your shared key and hit "git push". SSL, CDN, etc. all included.


Not to degrade the mention... I've done a lot of the same with Dokku on DO before. There's plugins for Let's Encrypt and some other bids. CDN, haven't worried about it too much, have used Cloudflare in front of a few sites, ymmv though.

Netlify is definitely on my todo/reading list... I just tore down my personal website and blog, with the intent of getting it running elsewhere. For my blog, I exported all the details into markdown files with front matter, but hadn't done anything to get it re-published anywhere. So, who knows.

I have a genuine interest in exploring a lot of this, but motivation + time have been limiting factors for me.


I had the same issue with motivation + time but I already had my site setup/building via hugo. One day I said enough and I looked into it. In about 10 minutes I had it all setup with ssl, my custom domain, etc.


I get this experience using non-netlify-specific tools and processes already. I've also been doing this type of work professionally for 15+ years. If I was just starting out today, netlify would be a huge time saver, at the cost of a ton of knowledge you gain doing it yourself.

"But wait...there's more". If you're a new to development or operations, you might be tempted to use something like netlify. If your project has a high probability(>75%) of generating real income, then DEFINITELY use netlify. Anything that stands between you and deployment is costing you money. But... if your project is a hobby or non-serious-revenue-generating endeavor: please please please do it yourself. Learn apache syntax, learn nginx syntax, explore why `setenforce 0` is for hacky amateurs. You'll learn marketable skills, that will help you in your future career endeavors.

Netflify creates a skilled "user of netlify". Doing it yourself creates an "engineer". Which of those two would you rather be?


As someone who works in the amorphous realm of "digital strategy", I was pursuing this exact "learning path" by deploying my personal website on Digital Ocean, where your droplet is a blank slate, and you have to configure everything.

Given the number of help threads and spotty documentation I had to look through to deploy a simple Wordpress site, I'd say it was more of a hassle than anything else. Unless you plan on doing this several more times, at which point you'd likely have worked the kinks out, stick with deepening your knowledge in an existing area of proficiency.


Not to turn a Netlify topic into a DigitalOcean topic, but when you created your droplet did you select the pre-built Wordpress option? May have helped you a bit. (I used dokku-wordpress[0] on my dokku imaged server, personally.)

--

0. https://github.com/dokku-community/dokku-wordpress


I did not, specifically because I wanted to learn how DO worked, without any "Wordpress 1-click wizard" stuff. Bluehost has the same "Instant Wordpress" thing that I avoid, as I write my own CSS and page templates and I wasn't planning to use an off-the-shelf theme.

On DO, I learned that you have to set up everything yourself, like SSH, Apache, MySQL, PHP, SFTP. I haven't found good documentation on how to set up a Git workflow from my local dev environment, so that's the next step. I have a non-database PHP site I plan to use for that.


> But... if your project is a hobby or non-serious-revenue-generating endeavor: please please please do it yourself. Learn apache syntax, learn nginx syntax, explore why `setenforce 0` is for hacky amateurs. You'll learn marketable skills, that will help you in your future career endeavors.

One of the many hats I wear is to do a lot of those things[0]. I setup nginx inside a docker container to act as a reverse proxy for an http api living in another container, and now that's done but it's time to put on another hat and train users on the new core platform we're using, but now it's time for the legacy maintenance hat, but this hat is on fire, and...

If I'm working on a project for fun, I want to have as few barriers as possible, because I'm already facing an uphill motivational battle after a long day at work, or on a weekend where I just want to relax.

[0]: I did have to lookup `setenforce`, because I've never had reason to disable SELinux.


Hey if it works for you :)

It almost worked for me with s3 buckets and then I hit a wall with SSL, and Netlify setup was quick, painless and lets-encrypt compatible :)


Echoing what a few other people have said, but a few things I've noticed Netlify does really well: - Their builds on popular front end frameworks that use say webpack are really good out of the box, but can be tweaked and configured as well. I have run into odd bugs going from CRA to a production build on my VPS that for some reason just deploys seemlessly on Netlify. Not that I couldn't have fixed the VPS with a little effort, but it just works™ - The CDN also works on your static assets out of the box and serves so much faster than some of my VPS boxes that have a decent number of xeon cores running nginx. - While I haven't used it, apparently they put a veneer layer on Lambdas and MSFT Functions that make it less of a pain in the ass to deploy, ie abstracting away all the security groups, scaling etc details - It's free for everything I've thrown at it. It worries me slightly that if I ever outgrow their free tier the pricing will be really steep since you are enabling all the free tier infrastructure, but for now it's been amazing for JAMstack type apps.


I jumped to Netlify after I had my static site on s3 and thought to myself "securing it through letsencrypt could be nice" and after 3 hours I couldn't get it working, so I ported the site over to Netlify in ~15 mins including the lets-encrypt integration and pointing the domain over.


For reference you need to use Cloudfront to back S3 static sites (kinda sucky) to get SSL - We do that on prod but we also use netlify for dev (we could for both, but AWS existed before in out estate, accounting etc)


I faintly remember some weird edge-cases, like I could enable cloud-front only for S3 buckets hosted in us-west-1, but I had it setup in eu-central or something like that?

I don't mind AWS, but Netlify was just painless.

In similar fashion I use now.sh, I could upload a thing to s3 and fiddle with permissions and settings, or I could `now` :)


If you want to set up HTTPS with CloudFront, it's your certificates in AWS Certificate Manager that must be in us-east-1.

There is no restriction on S3 bucket regions.


Yeah it was super fast for me to set up a static site for my company on Netlify. 15 minutes and it was live with HTTPS.


Both of those services you listed are generic tools.

Netlify is for one use case - front end developers deploying websites.

That means things like automatic asset compression and minification, feature support for things you’d normally need to setup a backend server for (login, form capture, etc), automatic SSL certs, CMS, etc.

Yes, most of their features can be replicated with other tools, but the point of Netlify is that you don’t need to with them, because they understand your perspective (hosting a static website as a front end developer) and they handle things for you.


I'm a devops engineer and I use Netlify for my personal site. I daresay there are more use cases than you think.


Not just front end developers!


Netlify does the whole static thing better, by being extremely focused on all things static, which makes setting up a static site on netlify way less stressful than on github and amazon, there is also the market knowledge factor, I mean github is known for hosting code repos and S3 is known for hosting files(videos and pictures), netlify meanwhile is known for static pages.


Can you point anything specific in which it is better, instead of vague things like them being more “focused”?


Automatic form handling (by just adding a "netlify" attribute the <form>) is a good example. It's a pain having to set up a whole dynamic infrastructure besides your static site just to record a few form submissions by visitors.


That focus 'thing' is a good advantage all on its own,Netlify is also way easier for non developers to quickly set up their page on than other services, i mean check out just how easy it is ;https://www.netlify.com/blog/2016/09/29/a-step-by-step-guide...


I moved from github pages because github pages didn't do 302s.


After logging into netlify drag and drop a folder and you have a new site. Or deploy with a git push. Setup netlify cms to push changes to the git repo. Setup a build command to run hugo etc on netlify. Push lamda functions. Setup rewrite rules in a config file. Mirror their setup locally with the new dev feature.


Hosting on GitHub personally worries me because it isn't their core business.

Hosting on S3 is cheap and I know there are tools to help me, but it's complicated to set up.

Netlify hits the sweet spot by being integrated with git, so you still have to be somewhat technical, but taking care of of a bunch of devopsy stuff. Things that their customers either don't know to do or don't want to. For example I thought about setting up let's encrypt for my personal site, but netlify has that figured out.


It's basically Heroku for the static generated site ecosystem.

I'm currently building a Gatsby/React site for a small grocery store chain, Netlify makes the process easy with hooks, cli, and many things I found on Heroku. Sure, I could host it elsewhere that has an S3 service but then I have to worry about configuration.


I’m a hardware engineer, I’ve done some web development in my free time but I’m not nearly up to date to set up something good looking without missing critical stuff.

I’ve tried looking around an AWS account, it wasn’t pretty. I got it to run in the end, but I’m almost certain that some configurations were either problematic (as in I’m probably missing test cases) or downright insecure.

I had a blog with all the features (write in markdown, latex rendering, code highlighting with themes) and the looks I wanted in very little time, at zero cost with Hugo & Netlify.

I do have a github account, but I don’t really use it that much, so it makes no sense to me to become a paying user just to be able to host a site.

The other option involves making the repository public, so I lose the ability to meaningfully have drafts.


I use Netlify, but GitHub does not require paying to host a public site.


I don't like to use the term "static" site, even as a provider of a static site hosting service. I think when people say "static" they imagine a small site that does not change.

I prefer to see it as a build environment for your code, data, and assets. The data can change all the time, but it either changes as part of a build process or pulled from an external API.

Here's a good summary of a team choosing this approach for their data-heavy site: https://revenuedata.doi.gov/blog/homepage-revamp-part-two/


I think most people understand ‘static’ as meaning it doesn’t use a CMS or database server. Content is managed in the same way as code.

It is confusing for non IT people who often think static means it can’t have any user interaction.


In Netlify's case, does that mean there is no backend? No DB or node server?


Well, all the front-end code is precompiled and published to CDN. So at least from that perspective, there is continuously running server. Node would compile, publish, and cease to exist. The DB would have to be hosted elsewhere and made available via an API.


Github Pages or Amazon S3 are good tools, with a few features that may or may not suit your use-case, but in practice it's pretty easy to find one small detail that ends up being a dealbreaker (eg. you want to use Jekyll but you can't run custom plugins).

Netlify by contrast has the vibe of a swiss army knife or maybe a unix shell: a lot of very sharp tools that you can use to set up static sites in a lot of different ways and that compose nicely. I haven't done a ton with it, but you just get the feeling of a high power to weight ratio.


I'm using it from https://superjavascript.com and the reason I picked them:

1. It's free.

2. Deployment steps are just push to git and you're done. Since I am using git anyway this is as easy as it gets.

3. Fast edge CDN (get's 100% on Google Speed Check).

4. https is taken care of.

5. DNS cname stuff is taken care of. and they didn't screw me over here, and let me use a different provide for email.


Netlify for me:

- I get free & automatic build, deploy and hosting of my JS app just by pushing to git.


Plus an SSL cert from LE — all in the click of a few buttons or commands.


> I just want to understand what its killer features are.

It's convenient. It understands a lot of static website generators, runs the build, makes a preview, manages domains, DNS, https via let's encrypt. All in a single package. Nothing in that package is impossible doing by yourself, but it's just well executed.


I wonder if using Netlify's DNS with a subdomain only would work properly if you delegated only the subdomain and not the top level name to Netlify's DNS servers...


> But you get free static sites through GitHub

GitHub doesn't support a build process, right? So you would have to do that yourself and commit that.

> nearly free static sites on Amazon S3

You'll have to manage the build and deploy here yourself then.

Netlify is great because its easy, and free (if you're under their bandwidth cap). They have really cool features like automatically deploying a preview environment for pull requests, or a/b testing different branches.

I run an open source video game companion site DestinySets.com where I have a lot of data in JSON files in my repo. Github + Netlify means I can take PRs for changes to the data, sometimes from non-programmers (or beginners), preview, merge and deploy from my phone, all for free (both money and time) Its pretty easy.


GitLab does support free static websites and a build process, see https://about.gitlab.com/product/pages/


It also integrates with Netlify now.


> GitHub doesn't support a build process, right? So you would have to do that yourself and commit that.

GitHub builds your site with Jekyll.


I don't use Jekyll.


for Amazon S3 i setup the s3, cloudfront & cert manually (should put it in terraform, but it takes just a second). here's a nice article to walk you through that (says it's for hugo, but you could use it for any ssg): https://agop.me/post/https-enabled-portfolio-hugo-s3-cloudfr...

then i build and deploy with a bash tool i made called NanoCD: https://github.com/tkjef/NanoCD

has lots of helpful options. easy to wrap your head around. easy to add whatever workflows,tests you'd like.


The point is not that one can/can't do it elsewhere, but Netlify makes it easy. You are less likely to run into that one frustrating problem that takes you hours to solve (like writing a build and deploy tool in bash) - Netlify does it for you.

I've done a static site from Terraform, and I've done it more recently in Netlify - Terraform was exponentially harder, end to end.


or use netlify.

the whole point is that I don't want to futz around and use terraform, or read a tutorial, or build a bash tool or whatever.

It's literally like 3 clicks in Netlify and it'll handle _everything_ for me. I point my DNS to Netlify and then I've got HTTPS for free as well.

I used to deploy to S3 as well, and I had a small little `yarn deploy` script that did the webpack build and upload to S3 - its not that hard https://github.com/joshhunt/destinySets/blob/ae08807e3d23de9.... But Netlify is so much easier, especially when working from multiple machines.


I've been using Netlify for a while on https://0xtracker.com and absolutely love it.

A few things that I love:

- Extremely cheap (i.e. free for my needs)

- Deployment previews for every PR. Coupled with Renovate, this is a fantastic way to manage dependencies. Especially useful since it's a hobby project, making me time constrained.

- One click support for prerendering

- Managed SSL. One less thing I need to do.

- One click rollbacks for when I screw up.


I'm currently using it for my website https://vidcap.co (its on beta). There are three things that I'm using it for, but I'm sure other features goes pretty deeply.

1. Pairs the domain with the file server - I can buy a domain on Godaddy and then have it pair to my Netlify fileserver. Its pretty easy to get started. In the past I used Godaddy for everything, but now I do not have to.

2. Deployment mangement. If you have Github, you can setup automatic deployments to the production server. So, when you save some code and push it to Github, it will then push that code to your live server. In the past I would have to manually copy those files over. Now, I'm not sure exactly how to push manually through Netlify (I really need to brush up on it), so I turn it off if I'm working on some items that shouldn't get pushed quite yet.

3. It comes with security certificate (https) without any additional cost. In fact what I'm using is the free tier. I'm able to deploy an entire site for free (well my Azure server is costing me money, but still).

Hope that helps!


Mostly unrelated, but instead of turning off automatic deployment when you're working on something that isn't ready to deploy, why not just work on a branch other than master?


It seems you're now experiencing the HN hug of death.

Is it a quota issue or Netlify not able to handle the load?


Considering that Netlify is handling the #1 HN traffic just fine, I’d guess something else is at play.


Indeed. My connection coincidentally happened to slow to a crawl, allowing me to submit a comment, but not load a page!


IPv6 support. For some reason Github pages is trailing badly on this aspect, and Netlify fills the gap (also for free).


One of the things I'm using it for is their form processing

Form filled -> Pass submitted data to Zapier -> Chuck data into a Google Sheet

Basic usage for sure, but once it's in Zapier you can do with the data anything Zapier can do with data


Netlify’s offering seems to be a more polished experience for frontend devs. A dashboard to configure stuff like build commands etc is neat. The feature that i personally like is the ability to select any branch of the repo to be deployed by clicking a few buttons. Helps me immensely during dev/staging deployments. IMO, These tiny little features and UX differentiates Netlify from other static site hosting providers or DIY hosting


It's extremely easy if you're not a developer. You can drag a folder from your desktop and have it live with a CDN and SSL cert in seconds.


To me, it's that it packages up best-practices in a way that is useful for all developers from enterprise to hobbyist. By following Netlify's easy path you'll end up with a solution that would take much effort to duplicate. And Netlify's solution has enough of the same functionality with very little effort.


I chose to rewrite my portfolio site in Gatsby and deploy it to Netlify with my custom domain pointed to it. It's a big improvement in ease of use versus how I used to do it with a Node server hosted on DigitalOcean, as good as I found their service to be. Do those other services allow you to hook up a custom domain?


It’s simple, fully-featured and insanely fast. Doing this with AWS requires gluing a bunch of stuff together, even with Amplify it’s still clunky and slow.


Gatsby website that gets built and deployed live when I push to a git repo. It does CDN too, which puts it above the competition. For free


I think it removes a lot of the friction of launching single page apps.

It does more than that, but that's an easy pitch from my perspective.


advanced CDNed wordpress from your github source.


wait you can run wordpress on netlify? That would be so useful


No you cant run wordpress directly on netlify since it requires a server with php and mysql. But you can use a plugin that creates a static version of your wordpress site and host that on netlify. Another approach is doing a headless wordpress setup, where your front end code is on netlify but the wordpress admin and database is on an actual server somewhere else.




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