Netlify

Netlify Features: A Clear and Concise Review

Written by Anastasiia Zubkova

Last update: 6/3/2024

Introduction

Being the pioneer of Jamstack, Netlify provides a seamless way to build, deploy, and manage modern web apps. It blends industry-standard features like atomic deploys and instant rollbacks with unique tools like form handling and large media support, all to streamline and enhance the web development process.

Current state

A flexible pricing model ensures Netlify can grow with its users, meeting a wide range of needs for all business sizes. At some point in Bejamas, it was our go-to hosting solution for many clients, including, for example Alpro. Starting from the free plan, you get access to most of the features expected on a modern web hosting platform like serverless functions and built-in HTTPS. However, Netlify truly shines at the larger enterprise level, offering full access to a great variety of platform-specific features and products. Among such features are Identity (authentication tool), Large Media storage, Forms, Analytics, Log Drains, and so on.

Future

Following the release of Next.js 13, there were initial challenges deploying apps using the latest version of Next.js on Netlify due to a lack of support for key features like middleware and revalidation. For some time, that was the primary reason why we at Bejamas were preferring Vercel over Netlify. However, with the recent launch of Next.js Runtime v5, these issues seem to have been addressed, ensuring full compatibility with the latest Next.js functionalities. Also, last year Netlify acquired Gatsby Inc., the company that created one of the leading SSG frameworks of the same name and a hosting platform Gatsby Cloud. According to Gatsby officials, that would mean that key features from Gatsby Cloud, such as performance improvements for large sites and collaboration tools, will be integrated into Netlify, which should be beneficial for the platform’s users.

Recommendation

If your project is built on Next.js 13+, it’s worth first assessing if all the features you need are fully supported by Netlify’s newest Next runtime, cause it has just been released and may need some finalizations. For other cases, it is probably a good idea to give it a try first on a lower-scale project to ensure that the pricing model suits your needs.

Look & Feel

[@portabletext/react] Unknown block type "video", specify a component for it in the `components.types` prop

Vendor Lock-in & Migration

One of the advantages of modern hosting platforms is that to migrate to another provider, all you need to do is take your deploy settings and build files and move them to the next place, or, more commonly just link your source code repo to some other product. There are many alternatives on the market, the most prominent of which is Vercel, but there are also Cloudflare, AWS Amplify, Digital Ocean, and many more - you can check the related section of our Hub’s page here. Another alternative could be running your own cloud infrastructure, which will possibly allow you to cut your monthly budget but will require much more dev effort to set up and maintain.

Pricing Structure

Netlify pricing strategy implements a pay-as-you-go model that has different start offerings depending on your chosen plan. For example, the free plan offers 100GB bandwidth a month while the pro plan offers 1TB. However, no matter what plan you have, free or pro, when your traffic exceeds the given limit, you will be charged another $55 for every 100GB of that extra traffic. This model poses certain risks of unexpected spending in case of some abnormal spikes of visitors either organic or due to DDoS attacks. Although Netlify claims to have DDoS protection in place and not charge any customers who still end up being victims of such attacks, these risks still have to be taken into account. The features that make Netlify unique among competitors, like Identity and Analysis are either only available on the Entreprise plan or provide limited tiers on lower grade plans.

Support

The documentation is very thorough and up-to-date for most popular use cases, for example, the process of adding a custom SSL certificate is described in much detail and could easily be understood by a person with no previous experience with hosting platforms. On a free tier you only get access to a Community forum, which is helpful, but, due to its forum nature, the answers (even coming from so-called Netlify Pilots - authorized users) could simply be wrong. That can be a drawback, especially in cases when you deal with less common and less documented features, as we often do in Bejamas to provide our clients with highly customized solutions. It is possible to spend hours trying to figure out, for example, how to properly configure include files for a Netlify function where all you have is an old blog post and contradicting forum answers. With a first paid plan (”Pro”), you get access to support tickets sent via email, but it is debatable that it adds a lot of value, since the reply time is quite long and the tech support mostly tries to redirect you to some Community forum post. Enterprise-level support provides some sort of SLA for the helpdesk, but the actual levels are not revealed on the pricing page.

Conclusion

From a developer's standpoint, Netlify offers a comprehensive set of features and a user-friendly interface that simplifies the web development process. The platform is dynamically developing following all the main trends in Jamstack ecosystem. The starter Pro tier should be good enough for small and medium teams that don't expect traffic spikes and just need easy-to-use, reliable, and scalable hosting for their static websites.

[@portabletext/react] Unknown block type "prosCons", specify a component for it in the `components.types` prop