Netlify: 4 Business Considerations Before Buying

As Netlify grows, enterprises find that it wasn't the right tool for their needs. This will help you assess if Netlify is right for your enterprise. 

Netlify: 4 Business Considerations Before Buying

Randy Apuzzo 10.08.2021

Netlify is a cloud computing company whose main offer is hosting and serverless services for static websites. It features continuous deployment from Git across a global content delivery network (CDN). Due to their heavy involvement in the Jamstack community, Netlify has become a household name in the website development space. Not to mention that Matt Billman, Netlify's CEO, is a co-creator of Jamstack.

With the rise to prominence of the Jamstack community, Netlify has also become synonymous with building a fast, and reliable site. While this isn't wrong in itself, not everybody needs it. Enterprise companies looking to scale need simplicity. They don't need to add more complexity such as other software to their already complex infrastructure. 

Netlify, however, is great for developers. Enterprise businesses, though, need to think about the business impact of using Netlify with an enterprise headless CMS. Using Netlify requires developers to manage the infrastructure. If your whole infrastructure is heavily reliant on your devs, issues will arise when they're not around. 

As Netlify grows, enterprises sadly get sucked into the hype, only to find out that it wasn't the right tool for their needs sooner than later. This article helps avoid that It will help you assess if Netlify is a good choice for your enterprise. 

An Overview of Netlify

netlify-logo.pngNetlify helps developers build, test, and deploy websites using Git. By connecting a Github repository to a website's source code, enabling websites to pre-render as static HTML in the web browser, sharply improving a website's load speed each time a visitor loads. Netlify also offers a CDN, automatically routing visitors to the nearest data center so the website loads equally fast regardless of the user's location. 

Undoubtedly, this all sounds great, but not everything is rosy for Netlify's users. With such an infrastructure, you require developers to maintain your pipeline. You’ll need to hire new developers. 

Let's take a glance at the pros and cons of Netlify for enterprise users:

Pros

  • Easy to deploy for developers

  • Seamless integration with Github

  • Faster website development compared to other options

Cons

  • Maintenance issues

  • Potential for misconfiguration if you don't have an IT team

  • Many moving parts

4 Considerations Before Buying Netlify

Before buying Netlify, take a stock of the following four major aspects of using the software in your infrastructure. 

You Need to Build Your Own Development Workflow

Development workflows aid developers in creating and committing changes to a shared codebase, which works great if your team is using Git or Github. In the case that your operations team is used to simpler development workflows or works using less code-intensive tools,  Netlify will be too much for them to handle. Wth Netlify, you need to build your own development workflow for dev, stage, and production environments. That entails more complex workflows and code-intensive tools. 

Netlify Requires That You Hire an IT Team

With a solution like Netlify, you’ll need to increase your IT headcount. This includes hiring specialist developers as well as IT people responsible for the architecture, deployment, backend, frontend, and DevOps. While this may be expensive, this lowers business risks. 

On the other hand, if you don't split out your staffing skills, and you get one person that can manage the full stack, end to end —from setting up the CMS, endpoints, building backend and frontend— your business ends up relying on a singular person. Thus, increased risk. 

Risky From a Business Perspective

When you use Netlify with a headless CMS like Contentful, you're assuming a series of risks for your business right off the bat. For starters, you lose control over your development pipeline because you're handing the responsibility of your entire development pipeline to a developer or team of developers. When you do that, your deployment processes cease to be part of your business operations. That being said, once the deployment process is out of your hands, when something happens, you don't have control over it. It is the developers’ responsibility to fix any issues. 

Doesn't Come With a Page Builder

While Netlify has a CMS offer called Netlify CMS, it's not as robust as other CMSs in the same category. While most headless CMSs out there don't come with page builders, enterprise users can definitely benefit from one as it enables enterprise companies to start building digital experiences that require little to no developer involvement, freeing the developer's hands to do higher-value tasks like creating and improving the business logic and less time maintaining the infrastructure.

When is Netlify a Good Choice?

Despite its drawbacks, Netlify can still work for some use cases. Take a look:

  • Startups that need a quick proof of concept

  • Companies with a sizeable IT infrastructure

Using Netlify or not isn't really a matter of cost for enterprise companies. It's more about flexibility. It can be a great choice for early-stage startups because it gives them the tools to build a fast website quickly, but as you scale, Netlify becomes much more resource-hungry and requires more IT muscle. 

Plus, as what happens with other tools that stem from the Jamstack ecosystem, Netlify introduces yet another tool to already bloated tech stacks, and you know the saying; with more moving parts, more complexity. 

The Alternative to Netlify: Zesty.io + WebEngine

WebEngine is Zesty.io's tool that builds, renders, and delivers webpages at 99.99% uptime. Zesty.io, in addition to providing all of the benefits of a headless CMS, offers a unique hybrid approach that handles the complete content delivery process from database to destination.

WebEngine comes integrated with every Zesty.io instance, and it enables users to render views for any page or page group created in Zesty.io. We handle everything on the backend to serve web pages optimized for search engines that load fast. The best thing about WebEngine is that you don't have to worry about the infrastructure as you would with other PaaS-based CMSs.

With Zesty + WebEngine, the developer has fewer moving parts to worry about. With fewer moving parts to worry about, developers can focus on other, higher-value tasks. Similarly, you don't need developers with specialized knowledge as you would with Netlify, which reduces IT-associated costs and makes it easier for the company to hire and retain talented developers. 

Another important point that sets WebEngine apart is that your team doesn't have to build a workflow or developer pipeline, reducing the need for extra tools and enabling enterprises to do more with fewer tools. 

WebEngine automates all the workflows needed to deploy new content.  It also automates the code hosting and CDN workflows needed to deploy global-scale websites or application endpoints. That's a lot of time saved for developers and a lot of knowledge that your devs no longer need to have. 

Hence, they can focus their time and knowledge elsewhere. That doesn't mean that Zesty.io can't do that. You still have the option to build a custom workflow if you need to; Zesty doesn't stop you. 

How Rocket League Built a Multibillion-dollar Product with a Single Developer

rocket-league-background.jpgWith over 25 million unique players and 1.1 million players a day on average, the team at Rocket League is fostering and growing a huge community. All of that with one single developer. This is possible thanks to Zesty.io's WebEngine. 

However, if that same developer used Netlify and had to do the same thing she does for Rocket League using Netlify only, she would have to think about at least six different Netlify deployments, a CDN, marketer-facing interfaces, and countless other maintenance-related issues that they don't experience when using Zesty.io's WebEngine. WebEngine enables the team at Rocket League to build and maintain the site with a single developer and focus the rest of their IT muscle on building a better game experience for the community.

If you want to learn more about Zesty.io's WebEngine and how it compares to the Jamstack, read more here:  Jamstack vs. WebEngine.

Development workflows aid developers in creating and committing changes to a shared codebase, which works great if your team is using Git or Github. In the case that your operations team is used to simpler development workflows or works using less code-intensive tools,  Netlify will be too much for them to handle. Wth Netlify, you need to build your own development workflow for dev, stage, and production environments. That entails more complex workflows and code-intensive tools. 

Netlify Requires That You Hire an IT Team

With a solution like Netlify, you’ll need to increase your IT headcount. This includes hiring specialist developers as well as IT people responsible for the architecture, deployment, backend, frontend, and DevOps. While this may be expensive, this lowers business risks. 

On the other hand, if you don't split out your staffing skills, and you get one person that can manage the full stack, end to end —from setting up the CMS, endpoints, building backend and frontend— your business ends up relying on a singular person. Thus, increased risk. 

Risky From a Business Perspective

When you use Netlify with a headless CMS like Contentful, you're assuming a series of risks for your business right off the bat. For starters, you lose control over your development pipeline because you're handing the responsibility of your entire development pipeline to a developer or team of developers. When you do that, your deployment processes cease to be part of your business operations. That being said, once the deployment process is out of your hands, when something happens, you don't have control over it. It is the developers’ responsibility to fix any issues. 

Doesn't Come With a Page Builder

While Netlify has a CMS offer called Netlify CMS, it's not as robust as other CMSs in the same category. While most headless CMSs out there don't come with page builders, enterprise users can definitely benefit from one as it enables enterprise companies to start building digital experiences that require little to no developer involvement, freeing the developer's hands to do higher-value tasks like creating and improving the business logic and less time maintaining the infrastructure.

When is Netlify a Good Choice?

Despite its drawbacks, Netlify can still work for some use cases. Take a look:

  • Startups that need a quick proof of concept

  • Companies with a sizeable IT infrastructure

Using Netlify or not isn't really a matter of cost for enterprise companies. It's more about flexibility. It can be a great choice for early-stage startups because it gives them the tools to build a fast website quickly, but as you scale, Netlify becomes much more resource-hungry and requires more IT muscle. 

Plus, as what happens with other tools that stem from the Jamstack ecosystem, Netlify introduces yet another tool to already bloated tech stacks, and you know the saying; with more moving parts, more complexity. 

The Alternative to Netlify: Zesty.io + WebEngine

WebEngine is Zesty.io's tool that builds, renders, and delivers webpages at 99.99% uptime. Zesty.io, in addition to providing all of the benefits of a headless CMS, offers a unique hybrid approach that handles the complete content delivery process from database to destination.

WebEngine comes integrated with every Zesty.io instance, and it enables users to render views for any page or page group created in Zesty.io. We handle everything on the backend to serve web pages optimized for search engines that load  fast. The best thing about WebEngine is that you don't have to worry about the infrastructure as you would with other PaaS-based CMSs.

With Zesty + WebEngine, the developer has fewer moving parts to worry about. With fewer moving parts to worry about, developers can focus on other, higher-value tasks. Similarly, you don't need developers with specialized knowledge as you would with Netlify, which reduces IT-associated costs and makes it easier for the company to hire and retain talented developers. 

Another important point that sets WebEngine apart is that your team doesn't have to build a workflow or developer pipeline, reducing the need for extra tools and enabling enterprises to do more with fewer tools. 

WebEngine automates all the workflows needed to deploy new content.  It also automates the code hosting and CDN workflows needed to deploy global-scale websites or application endpoints. That's a lot of time saved for developers and a lot of knowledge that your devs no longer need to have. 

Hence, they can focus their time and knowledge elsewhere. That doesn't mean that Zesty.io can't do that. You still have the option to build a custom workflow if you need to; Zesty doesn't stop you. 

How Rocket League Built a Multibillion-dollar Product with a Single Developer

With over 25 million unique players and 1.1 million players a day on average, the team at Rocket League is fostering and growing a huge community. All of that with one single developer. This is possible thanks to Zesty.io's WebEngine. 

However, if that same developer used Netlify and had to do the same thing she does for Rocket League using Netlify only, she would have to think about at least six different Netlify deployments, a CDN, marketer-facing interfaces, and countless other maintenance-related issues that they don't experience when using Zesty.io's WebEngine. WebEngine enables the team at Rocket League to build and maintain the site with a single developer and focus the rest of their IT muscle on building a better game experience for the community.

If you want to learn more about Zesty.io's WebEngine and how it compares to the Jamstack, read more here:  Jamstack vs. WebEngine.

Experience a Headless Content Management System, Join Zesty.io.


Start a Sandbox Now

More from Mindshare: Headless

Placeholder image

How to Build a Website with a Headless CMS

Every system is different, but in this article we’ll walk you through the average headless CMS tutorial for building a

Read Article
Placeholder image

What Is a Headless CMS?

How can content producers and developers be freed up, with a powerful and scalable solution to push content out wherever

Read Article
Placeholder image

State of the Union Address:
How Headless Fits Into the Enterprise Technology Landscape in 2019

Headless CMS is an excellent developer tool, but it still takes a "head" and other features to truly support enterprise

Read Article
Placeholder image

Hosted Platforms Not Ideal for Multisite Setups

Just because a software is well recognized, does not mean it fits for every solution.

Read Article
Randy Apuzzo photo

Randy Apuzzo

Founder & CTO, Zesty.io

Randy has had a penchant for computer programming from an early age and started applying his skills to build business software in 2004. Randy's stack of skills range from programming, system architecture, business know-how, to typographic design; which lends to a truly customer-centric and business effective software design. He leads... Learn More

Exploring content solutions? Looking to replatform?