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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 :)

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