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Deploying to Netlify

Netlify is a very interesting service that combines a continuous deployment system with a powerful CDN optimized to host static websites. It's probably the easiest solution out there if you're exploring the world of static websites for the first time; furthermore, their free plan is perfectly compatible with DatoCMS and allows you to publish high-performant static websites.

Warning: this guide assumes you have a working static website project on your machine integrated with DatoCMS. If it's not the case, you can return to the previous sections of this documentation to see how to properly configure the DatoCMS administrative area and how to integrate DatoCMS with your favorite static website generator.

Step 1: create your Git repository

Create a new repository on GitHub. To avoid errors, do not initialize the new repository with README, license, or gitignore files. You can add these files after your project has been pushed to GitHub.

$ git init
$ git add .

Commit the files that you've staged in your local repository.

$ git commit -m 'First commit'

At the top of your GitHub repository's Quick Setup page, click the clipboard icon to copy the remote repository URL. In Terminal, add the URL for the remote repository where your local repository will be pushed.

$ git remote add origin YOUR_GITHUB_REPOSITORY_URL

Now, it's time to push the changes in your local repository to GitHub.

git push -u origin master

Now that your project is up and running on GitHub, let's connect it to Netlify.

Step 2: connect your repo to Netlify

Creating a new site on Netlify is simple. Once you've logged in, you'll be taken to If you're just starting out, there's only one option:

Create new site on Netlify

Clicking "New Site" brings you to this screen:

New site screen on Netlify

Once you click on the "Link to GitHub" button, it will present the following screen:

Authorize Netlify on Github

Click the "Authorize Application" button to let Netlify read the list of your Github repositories. Like it says in the image above, Netlify doesn't store your GitHub access token on their servers. Once you've connected Netlify and GitHub, you can see a list of your Git repos. Select the one we just created:

Pick a repo from Github

The next screen is extremely important: it's where you instruct Netlify to build your static website:

Setup build settings

Depending on your static generator the Build command and Publish directory field need to be filled with different values:

SSG Build command Publish directory
Jekyll bundle exec dato dump && bundle exec jekyll build public/
Hugo dato dump && hugo public/
Middleman bundle exec middleman build build/
Metalsmith dato dump && node index.js build/
Hexo dato dump && hexo generate public/
Gatsby gatsby build public/

In the Site Settings, make sure you add your DatoCMS read-only token as a DATO_API_TOKEN environment variable:

Add API token as environment variable

You can find your API token in the Settings > API tokens section:

Retrieve API token in DatoCMS settings

Once everything is ready, press the Build your site button. Netlify will run the build process for the first time and you can watch the progress of the operation.

Deploy in progress

Once the build process if finished, Netlify will publish under a temporary domain the directory specified earlier. Now everytime you push some change to GitHub, Netlify will repeat the build process and deploy a new version of the site.

Project page on Netlify

Step 3: connect Netlify to DatoCMS

There's only one last step needed: connecting DatoCMS to Netlify, so that everytime one of your editors press the Publish changes button in your administrative area, a new build process (thus a new publication of the final website) gets triggered.

To do so, go to the Settings > Environments, add a new one and select Netlify as build method:

Authorize DatoCMS in Netlify

On the new window that pops up, click on "Grant Access" to allow DatoCMS to setup the auto-deploy meachanism for you:

Add new deployment environment in DatoCMS

Select the Netlify site that you want to link to DatoCMS, so that a number of bi-directional hooks willl be configured for you:

Select an existing Netlify site to link

You can specify which branch of your Git repository you want to link and build with the deployment environment that you are creating:

Pick Git branch to build

When everything is done, confirm the integration pressing the Save Settings button:

Save settings

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