When it comes to hosting websites, particularly ones built with a headless CMS like Storyblok, two of the most commonly mentioned options are Vercel and Netlify. These two platforms allow you to quickly and easily deploy websites and applications and offer a host of benefits for maximizing the digital experience for your customers.
Yet, many businesses prefer to use something other than Netlify or Vercel and instead choose to use more traditional hosting providers. In this article, we’ll explain why you should consider one of these serverless deployment options for your website instead of a traditional hosting service. But which one is the best choice? Read on to find out.
Problems With Traditional Hosting Options
Traditional hosting services provide server space for hosting websites and applications. Anyone who has launched a WordPress site would be familiar with hosting services like Bluehost or GoDaddy. Some local examples in the German and EU markets would be Strato or 1 & 1.
However, while these services might be sufficient for anyone using a traditional CMS like WordPress to host a blog, resources are limited when hosting robust and customer-centric websites built using a headless CMS. Some of the challenges that can occur with traditional hosting options include the following:
Security Challenges: Traditional hosting options can come with security vulnerabilities that put data at risk.
Hosting Location: With traditional hosting services, the location of the service can play a part in how quickly sites load and the overall end-user experience.
Not Built for Jamstack Sites: Jamstack sites provide blazing-fast speed and an improved browsing experience. However, these services can’t offer what businesses need to properly deploy Jamstack sites and reap the benefits.
Complex Setup: Setting up and managing traditional hosting services can be more complex than serverless options like Netlify or Vercel.
What Is Serverless Deployment?
Serverless deployment is a cloud-native development model that allows developers to build and run applications without managing servers. The servers are provisioned, maintained, and scaled by a third-party cloud provider while the developers write and deploy the code. What’s more, you only pay for what you use, unlike traditional server-hosted options that require you to pay for a certain amount of service and leave you with a lot of unused space.
What Is Netlify?
Netlify is a powerful serverless platform that enables developers to build, deploy and scale modern web applications. Netlify allows developers to combine different tools & APIs to launch high-performance sites, apps, and ecommerce stores. The platform includes an intuitive git-based workflow and features such as automated deployments, shareable previews, and more.
Netlify integrates with a variety of tools and gives teams the ability to collaborate while creating a variety of digital experiences. Netlify is also the one who created and continues to pioneer the concept of Jamstack.
Some of the key features of the Netlify platform include:
Edge Functions: Run code at the edge, so it is closer to your users. This can be useful for custom authentication, personalized ads, localized content, and more.
Deploy Previews: Teams can share automated previews during development. They can also review and manage feedback directly on the project, facilitating faster collaboration.
Forms: Quickly set up, manage and gather form submissions without server-side code.
Build Plugins: Add plugins to projects or build your own as necessary.
Password Security: Netlify allows you to password-protect all site contents as well as non-production deploys.
What Is Vercel?
Vercel is a frontend developer platform that enables them to develop, build and ship web applications. It includes a global edge network that facilitates fast deployment and updating of content worldwide.
Vercel is also the creator of the React-based Next.js and provides regular updates to the framework.
Vercel’s key features include:
Edge Functions: Vercel offers an edge network that requires zero configuration as well as less code shipped to the browser to deliver better performance.
Previews: A built-in CI/CD enables automated workflows, easier collaboration, and feedback sharing.
Frontend Infrastructure: Everything needed to host frontends, including straightforward deployments and edge caching to cope with outages.
Analytics: Valuable insights for your site performance.
A Side By Side Comparison
Now let’s take a look at the two platforms side by side:
Both Netlify and Vercel offer Free starter plans for hobbyists and personal projects. Developers can deploy projects and preview changes before pushing them to Git. Again, Netlify and Vercel offer Pro plans, similarly priced at $19 and $20/month, respectively, with more bandwidth and support available.
However, as we advance, Netlify offers a bit more flexibility for businesses with a $99/month Business plan that Vercel doesn’t offer. This business plan includes features such as SAML single sign-on, role-based access control, more edge functionality and improved analytics. They both provide custom enterprise plans with enhanced security features that large enterprises would require.
Serverless functions enable developers to deploy logic to endpoints on the Edge Network without worrying about scaling, security, or monitoring issues. Essentially, these functions operate like HTTP API endpoints.
Both Vercel and Netlify utilize AWS Lambda to power their serverless functions. Vercel’s serverless functions are synchronous, meaning that once the endpoint returns a response, the server stops any processing related to that request. This means you can’t run any background tasks or long-running asynchronous jobs. The free plan has a timeout limit of 10 seconds, while the Pro plan extends it to 60 seconds.
Netlify, on the other hand, offers “Background Functions” for such use cases but only for its Pro plan (starting at $19 per month). With this feature, you can deploy serverless functions that run from 10 seconds to 15 minutes. This allows you to run asynchronous heavy jobs such as batch processing and scraping.
For large enterprises in particular, security will be a major concern. Vercel offers firewall protection, access control as well as 99.99% uptime SLA, SOC2 Type 2 certification, and is GDPR compliant. Netlify also offers this functionality, including TLS encrypted traffic and tokens and ISO 27001 certification.
Netlify is an ideal platform for hosting high-performance static websites and forms for collecting data. With Netlify, you can automate emails, access current API data, retrieve dynamic images, and validate user input.
Vercel is also suitable for building frontend frameworks and utilizing static site generators. It can be also used for creating online store applications, and hosting headless sites.
Vercel offers a robust list of integrations with tools for Commerce, Logging, Databases, CMSs, Monitoring, DevTools, Analytics, Security, Code Repository, and Messaging. Netlify goes further with these integration categories but also with more tools available per category. They also offer additional categories that could be particularly useful for those building content-driven websites, including Digital Asset Management, Search and Personalization, and more.
Netlify vs Vercel: Which One Is Best For Jamstack Sites
To see which serverless deployment option would be better for launching a Storyblok website built using Jamstack, we consulted real reviews from G2.com.
Many reviewers enjoy that Vercel is the creator of Next.js, so when they have to use the framework, it offers speed and flexibility. One reviewer mentioned, “We use Next.js (React Framework) for our website and frontend and deploying them is the easiest task in our application development cycle.”
However, the lack of upgrades is a notable con since Vercel seems to focus most of its time on the Next.js framework, with one reviewer noting: “There are so many upgrades for Next.js but not many big releases in Vercel.”
Netlify is a perfect platform if you want to launch Jamstack sites. “Netlify is everything you need to deploy a static site, whether HTML only or based on a framework like Hugo or Gatsby.” said one reviewer.
One con a reviewer mentioned is that Netlify could do with more flexibility when it came to configuration.
Pick the Best Hosting Option For Your Storyblok Site With Help From Take It_
The beauty of working with a headless CMS like Storyblok is that both Netlify and Vercel fit into the technology stack and make great options for launching websites.
However, Netlify edges it in this battle and is the best choice due to how closely they work with Jamstack. After all, as the creators, Netlify offers additional support, backend functionality via integrations, pricing options, and even security.
One thing’s for certain: serverless deployment options are better than traditional hosting options. If you have the right partner, you can learn more about how to deploy your Storyblok site best. Take it_ is a Storyblok partner with years of experience working with Storyblok, Netlify, and Vercel.
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