What is Netlify and Why Should You Care as an Editor?

Benefits of Netlify for Web Developers and Content Editors

Joel Varty
Joel Varty
August 4, 2020
netlify

There are hundreds of static website hosts companies out there today; however, our favorite is Netlify. Why do we prefer Netlify over its competitors might you ask? Netlify makes it super easy for developers to host websites responsibly, a way that is scalable and secure.  

Trusted by Facebook, Citrix, and Verizon, Netlify leverages serverless functions and continuous deployment to deliver sites faster than other configurations. The hosting platform bets on JAMstack and unifies JavaScript, APIs, and Markup, creating an infrastructure that’s well suited for both developers and content editors.

What is Netlify?   

First, let's start by identifying who Netlify is and what they provide. Netlify is a web hosting infrastructure and automation technology company based in San Francisco.

In fact, JAMstack was initially brought to life by Netlify's Co-founder, Mathias Biilmann. Netlify provides next-generation web hosting and automation that's very affordable. They also offer web hosting infrastructure for JAMstack websites.  

Netlify simplifies the process for developers to deploy and host a website. It does all the work for them that they probably don't want to spend too much time or effort on. Not just that, but it also provides several benefits for editors too! Let’s explore those benefits and more below. 

How Does Netlify Work and What is it Used For?

Netlify works by connecting to your GitHub repository to pull your source code, then it typically runs a build process to pre-render all of your pages in static HTML.

In a nutshell, Netlify creates its own kind of repository that pushes both to a Github repository and its own microservices. Then, it executes and distributes content across a wide CDN to deliver pre-built static websites to visitors. 

The best thing about Netlify is that it selects the best CDN and distributes content, which results in pre-built websites that load faster than on traditional hosting networks. Instead of loading the site each time the visitor goes to a page, the visitor gets a pre-loaded version straight from the nearest geographical server, sharply reducing load times.


That means that the resulting HTML, CSS, and JS are then deployed and distributed across a large number of content delivery networks. When a visitor tries to access your website, it automatically chooses the data center closest to you and serves you the static files.  

Take advantage of all their products such as:  

  • Netlify Build - Build, deploy, and manage modern web projects using a Git workflow for web development
     
  • Netlify Dev - Imagine the productivity boost of being able to locally test your site generator, API integrations, serverless functions, and edge rules, all in a single development server. That’s Netlify Dev: a powerful way to build and test modern web apps on your local machine.
     
  • Netlify Edge - A new type of application delivery network custom-designed for blazing-fast sites and modern workflows. On top of that, you can also include powerful add-ons such as analytics, functions, identity, forms and more. Netlify makes it easy to build and deploy a feature-rich site at the click of a button! You don’t need to be an experienced developer or architect. 

The Top 3 Benefits of Netlify for Editors and Digital Marketers

Netlify Is Less Expensive, and You Get a Faster Site

Building and hosting a static website will help you save money in the long run. Also, with Netlify Edge, your website and applications will be super-fast using global distribution and automated pre-rendering.

Netlify Build Enables Developers to Build With Any Integration

Any time you (as an editor) want to change content or add new functionality to your site, it lets you create unlimited branches of your website. 

What this means is if your website is hosted through Netlify, it allows you to spin a unique URL and have multiple ways for your editors to test changes they make in different views. Every single change of your content allows you to easily preview in different environments. 

It's Easier to Launch a Site Using Netlify

Netlify has a built-in DNS management & SSL certificates (and it's FREE, no expiry). This means less complexity in launching your website and it’s all hosted in one place. 

Tech lead Luís Sousa from Marzee Labs has shared:

  • "It’s incredibly simple to learn and use, first setups are barely more than three clicks away, most is through the portal UI, but even in-code configs are well-documented and straightforward to use. our own site, It helps with staging environments to preview changes."

3 Reasons Why Developers Love Netlify Too

Netlify appeals to developers because it focuses on website performance. It enables you to build blazing-fast static sites and integrate with the tools you want within the JAMstack ecosystem. 

It Allows You To Adopt Modern Workflows and Tools

Netlify enables you to set up your software faster and ship better products more often with Netlify’s modern developer workflows. You can use it to build a winning experience in any templating engine or frontend framework.

Designed For Frontend Developers

Netlify supports continuous delivery and continuous integration. You just have to connect it to a git repo and every time a developer pushes a commit, it will automatically build the site, run plugins, and deploy.

"I use it for hosting my personal website and frontend side projects. Netlify abstracts away a lot of complexity. I can see changes immediately on a git push thanks to it's git integration therefore I rarely need to visit the dashboard to deploy etc. Changes are live as soon as I push to git. It also helps to test out experimental changes as I can create a branch and it'll deploy a preview for me!" Arpit Batra shared, Product Engineer at Getpostman.

Developers Can Bring Their Tools With Them

Netlify Dev bridges the gap between your Netlify production environment and your local machine, enabling you to create custom elements and environment variables that you can live share with anywhere in the world. 

Netlify and Agility CMS

All sites built on Netlify are pre-built for performance and deployed directly to our global edge network. In fact, sites built on Netlify don’t require you to manage, scale, or patch them, setting the groundwork for a JAMstack development.

In Agility, we support Netlify because it’s one of the hottest hosting platforms that’s available right now and it’s also the preferred choice for Gatsby and other static website generators. Using Netlify for your hosting and CDN and Agility as your headless CMS, you give your teams everything they need for modern development, all in one place. 

Agility CMS and Netlify give you the infrastructure and the power you need to build beautiful static sites using your preferred generator. Also, if you want to leverage their capabilities as a hosting platform, they will still give you a solid value and give you the ability to build a process and control your builds automatically. 

Netlify Use Cases

For Online Campaigns

Let’s say that you’re building an online campaign for a website. Netlify can help you support thousands of visitors a day with its serverless backend capabilities. Also, Netlify enables developers to build websites from the ground up quickly, allowing teams to stay nimble and ready to change content live. 

For Distributed Content Teams

If you have a distributed team of contributors, Netlify can be a good choice as it enables every member of their team to contribute to the website regardless of their location and then push updates to the CDN whenever content needs to be edited. 

For DevOps

Netlify gives developers a birds’ eye view of what’s happening in the project. With Netlify, developers can regain control over their processes and site architecture, effectively streamlining development and giving teams visibility. 

If you want to learn how to launch your website using Netlify and Agility CMS, watch our webinar:

Currently, AgilityCMS.com website is fully hosted on Netlify!

You can sign up for Agility CMS license and try it yourself FOR FREE

Keep Reading  

Make sure you read these articles:

Learning JAMstack? So, this eBook is for you!

eBook JAMstack for Beginners - Agility CMS and Ikius
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