So.. What is Netlify?

Netlify is a service that lets you launch websites in a matter of minutes. New things can always be daunting and scary.. Netlify however is not.

So.. What is Netlify?

Netlify is a service that essentially lets you launch a website in matter of minutes. In their own words it's "... a better way to deploy web projects".

Maybe I can remove some of the ambiguity around that phrase.

Netlify is particularly useful for setting up static sites quickly.. Here's the basics of how it works:

  • First, (assuming you've created a Netlify account) you can start hosting a static site directly from one of your own Git repos.. (GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket) or alternatively by dragging and dropping a folder from your computer into the netlify web app.
  • You can specify which branch to reference for hosting when using a git repo and even designate a run command if needed.. i.e. gulp build, npm i, whatever.
  • After setting that up your site will be live at a generated netlify domain, for example.. (you can change this later if you want). You'll also get free SSL on that via Let's Encrypt.

Who uses it?

Lot's of people use it in different ways..

Gatsbyjs and Hugo are often used with Netlify and probably Jekyll as well. These are all great tools for building static websites and blogs.

Sidenote: Hopefully, in time, you'll be able to host Ghost 2.0 blogs as well... but that doesn't look to be the case as long as Netlify uses Ubuntu 14.. but hey, give em' a nudge here: old version of Ubuntu · Issue #189 · netlify/build-image · GitHub

In more advanced use cases, Netlify also supports built-in applications that make it possible to work with HTML forms and Lambda functions (<– Check that out).

Some developers user Netlify with their git repos to automatically host docs/deploy previews.. which is pretty neat.

Should you use Netlify?

There are other options out there for sure and it ultimately depends on what you're looking to accomplish. Netlify is great if you want to learn something new that you can really dig into and works just fine for small projects or large projects. Use it for sandbox development or something more substantial.

Perhaps you're familiar with Heroku and want to be a little less involved in what you're working on, Netlify might be a great choice for you.

Or if you just want something ridiculously simple, you might want to check out Github Pages specifically for hosting a static site straight from a Github repo.

And..... that's a bird's-eye view of Netlify.
Hopefully this was helpful to someone! New things can always be daunting and scary.. Netlify however is not.