Deploying a recently completed static website usually comes with challenges, and it can be tedious. Netlify exists solely to help you deploy and maintain your site or web app. You write your website’s frontend code, push it, then fold your arms and sit back as Netlify takes care of the rest. It is free to use, but additional features can be purchased for a fee. Nonetheless, the free version suffices for both personal and commercial projects.
Deploying your site to Netlify is extremely easy. I will demonstrate how easy the process is and explore other power features in Netlify here as well. The site we are about to deploy does nothing, apart from displaying the current price of Bitcoin (thanks to a widget). You can fork it from my GitHub and register for a Netlify account.
- From your account panel, click on New Site from Git.
- Select a Git provider: GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket.
- Choose the repository with the site (it must have an index.html). Then, hit Deploy site.
Done! Simple and easy. Netlify should give you a .netlify subdomain for your site. The domain can be changed, and usually this will be the case, as the ones generated for you are pretty random. A custom domain can be used if you have one.
Once you deploy a site to Netlify using Git, Netlify configures and updates your site anytime you push to Git. No need to manually initiate any process to get your updates deployed. This is a distinguishing feature of Netlify, and one that reduces the amount of work in maintaining your website.
To prevent publishing every Git push, the site can be locked to a deploy and revert back at any time. The Deploy Preview feature allows you to view how changes look on the site before deploying—That way, you catch any visual “error” before it goes live.
Instead of deploying from Git, a folder with a static site can be dragged and dropped in the account area for an instant deploy. All tasks—from creation to setting up continuous deployment—can be accomplished entirely via the command line as well.
# install the CLI npm install netlify-cli -g
… And much more
Netlify offers the ability to set up HTTPS security for a site once a custom domain is configured. HTTPS protects the site and its visitors. It also boosts the site’s SEO performance. With the support for Webhooks, event notifications can be delivered to a URL, Slack channel, or email. Branch split testing makes it possible to split traffic between various deploys. Analytics tools can be used to easily monitor the performance of all the various site versions.
The list of features Netlify offers keeps growing. Quite a number of promising features are in the beta phase. You can find a long list of Netlify features on this page.
Overall, Netlify makes deployment seamless. It eliminates the need to learn a completely new, complex interface just to maintain a site by providing a simple, intuitive one. I hope it becomes a regular tool for deploying your websites or web apps.