Getting Started with Netlify

Codecademy Team
Create a Netlify account and learn how it can be used to easily share your websites with the world.

What is Netlify?

Put simply, Netlify is an all-in-one platform that makes it incredibly easy to deploy static web applications to the world in record time.

Netlify explains that “1,000,000+ developers and businesses use Netlify to run web projects at global scale—without servers, devops, or costly infrastructure.” As you’ll soon see, so many people rely on Netlify because it takes care of much of this complexity associated with developing, deploying, and hosting web applications.

Netlify is perfect for many projects because of the following:

  • Deploying Minimum Viable Products and Proof of Concepts can be accomplished in a matter of minutes.
  • Many site configurations are already handled, so you can avoid unnecessary details and instead focus on creating your actual projects.
  • Continuous Deployment enables you to auto-publish every time you push a commit on GitHub.

Now that you know the basics of Netlify, it’s time to sign up for a free account so that you can deploy websites!

Signing Up

To create a free account, navigate to the Netlify website and click the Sign up button in the upper-right corner. You should be redirected to a page that includes the following options to create an account:

Screenshot of the sign up options

For the purpose of this article, the Email sign up option will be used. However, you can create an account using any of the OAuth methods (in fact, signing up with GitHub may save you time later on).

After clicking the Email option, you’ll be asked to enter the email and password that you want to use for your Netlify account:

Screenshot of creating an account with the Email option

After you sign up and verify your email, you’ll have access to your new personal dashboard. Your dashboard won’t have any projects yet and should look similar to:

Screenshot of the Netlify dashboard

It’s that simple to create an account! You’re ready to deploy websites through Netlify, but let’s first learn more about the various services and plans that are available.

Plans and Services

Netlify offers many plans and services to fit each project’s needs and empower developers like you to effortlessly share them with the world.

What’s more, Netlify provides a generous free “Starter” plan, which is perfect for personal projects, hobby sites, or experiments. When you create an account by following the steps above, you’re automatically enrolled in this plan. Specifically, you’ll have access to the following services with the “Starter” plan:

  • Automated builds from Git so that your sites auto-publish when you push commits on GitHub (built-in Continuous Deployment).
  • Deploy to the global Edge network, an extremely fast and resilient network for handling complex tasks and running custom logic.
  • Site previews for every push to test and verify changes before putting them into production.
  • Instant rollbacks to any version so that you can easily reverse any changes.
  • Deploy static assets and dynamic serverless functions, which provides greater flexibility when building and scaling sites.
  • And so much more!

However, if you need even more functionality, you can look into the paid plans.

Even More Capabilities

As you work more with Netlify, you’ll find that it has so many other services to offer, such as:

  • Various ways to monitor your websites through real-time logs, notifications, and analytics that provide trends of in site activity.
  • The ability to easily add custom domains and set up HTTPS for free.
  • Pre-built form handling, which eliminates the need for implementing APIs or extra JavaScript to create forms on your websites.
  • Visitor access mechanisms that enable you to control which parts of your website are public and even authenticate users.

Wrapping Up

You’ve created an account and learned about some of the capabilities of Netlify, along with seeing how it can be incorporated into your development process. However, these are just the basics — you’ll soon learn how to deploy websites right from your Netlify account.

If you wish, you can get a head start and explore the various tools that you now have access to in your Netlify dashboard! Head over to Netlify’s documentation to learn more about deploying websites, or click “Next” to follow our tutorial.