Building this blog: Hosting on Netlify

Building this blog: Hosting on Netlify

The era of static sites has seen a rebirth, with modern web technologies and static site generators like Astro, Jekyll, Hugo, and Gatsby enabling developers to build lightning-fast, highly secure websites. As a result, the search for the best hosting solution for these static sites has become more relevant than ever. Two of the most popular hosting solutions are Netlify and GitHub Pages. While both are excellent in their own right, I found Netlify to offer a simpler and more streamlined experience for hosting static blog sites. Let’s dive into the reasons why.

1. Simplicity in Deployment

Netlify offers a direct integration with GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket. In my case, their UI walked me through connecting my Github hosted repo and deploying it in just a few steps.

While GitHub Pages also offers a fairly straightforward deployment process, it is tightly coupled with Jekyll. If you’re using another static site generator, the process can get more complicated.

2. Continuous Deployment & Build Automation

Netlify provides continuous deployment right out of the box. Once connected to a Git repository, Netlify will automatically build and deploy your website every time you push a new commit. This includes running build commands, processing assets, and more.

GitHub Pages does provide some automation, but it’s limited to Jekyll-based projects unless you integrate third-party tools or set up GitHub Actions.

3. Custom Domain Setup & SSL

Netlify simplifies the process of setting up a custom domain. Just add your domain, and Netlify will guide you on the necessary DNS changes. Even better, Netlify provides free automatic SSL certificates through Let’s Encrypt, ensuring your site is secure.

On the other hand, while GitHub Pages does offer custom domain support, I found the SSL setup for custom domains a bit trickier. There was plenty of documentation for the manual configurations, but the ordering of the steps and the meaning of some error messages I came across were a bit unclear.

4. Branch Deploys & Preview URLs

One unique feature of Netlify is the ability to create deploy previews for branches in your repository. This means for every pull request or branch you push, Netlify generates a live preview URL. This is especially useful for previewing changes before they go live.

While GitHub Pages supports multiple environments (like staging and production), it doesn’t natively provide the per-branch preview functionality that Netlify offers.

5. Serverless Functions & Redirect Rules

Netlify isn’t just a static hosting provider. It offers the ability to write and deploy serverless functions easily. This makes adding dynamic features to your static site a breeze. Plus, with the _redirects file, setting up redirects, proxies, and custom headers is straightforward.

GitHub Pages, being purely a static hosting service, doesn’t natively support these features.

6. Integrated Forms Handling

One of the challenges of static sites is handling forms. Netlify provides an integrated form handling solution, which means you can simply add an attribute to your HTML form, and Netlify will manage the submissions for you.

GitHub Pages doesn’t offer this feature, so you’d typically need to rely on third-party services.


While GitHub Pages is a robust and reliable platform for hosting static sites, especially those built with Jekyll, Netlify stands out for its simplicity and a rich set of features that cater to a broader range of static site generators and use cases. The continuous deployment, serverless functions, and integrated form handling make Netlify an appealing choice for those looking for a hassle-free, feature-rich hosting experience. If simplicity and extended features are your priorities, Netlify is an excellent choice for your static blog site.