Five years ago, Netlify launched and changed the way developers build for the web. Today we are thrilled to celebrate that one million developers and businesses have joined us so far.
Netlify co-founders Matt Biilmann and Chris Bach share their views on the past, present and future of Netlify and the Jamstack, here. And in this post, we dive into a more detailed roadmap of our history. If you haven’t yet, check out our visual interactive roadmap of the Netlify milestones on the road to one million devs. Note: each “view milestone” on each milestone within the interactive microsite will link you back here.
You can authenticate with your account on that interactive microsite to see where you started with us along the road (reppin’ dev no. 70,178 myself – woohoo). Be sure share your number with us on social media!
Not yet on Netlify? Become one of the next million to try Netlify.
In this post
Netlify’s Milestones on the road to 1 Million Devs
Netlify officially launches
On Apr 07, 2015 Netlify Co-Founder Chris Bach wrote, “Woohoo! We’ve launched. Netlify.com is now live, with hosting of static sites and apps (as you knew it from bitballoon.com) and our continuous deployment service…”.
This article goes on to explain how the founding team was still buzzing from Netlify being number one on Hacker News, Chris shares more about his decision in going “100% Netlify”, alongside some notes on the future of “static web-tech” – witness the roots of Jamstack as we now know it.
Netlify launches smarter redirects
On Oct 26, 2015 Netlify Co-Founder Matt Biilmann wrote, “We just made Netlify’s redirect engine smarter. Now redirect rules that would lead to a chain of subsequent redirects will always be flattened into one efficient redirect rule…”. No more redirect chains means a better experience and optimizations for all – visitors, bots/crawlers, and on. Setting up a redirect with Netlify takes less than one minute, to boot!
Netlify first hosting provider to offer free SSL through Let’s Encrypt
On Jan 01, 2016 Netlify Co-Founder Matt Biilmann wrote, “Starting today, we’re offering Free SSL to all our users. As the first hosting service in the world, Netlify offers full integration with Let’s Encrypt…”.
The timing of this could not have been any better, as browsers were starting to display security-related messages to end-users when a web property was not served on
https:// with an SSL. The one-click setup within the app makes things seamless to get an SSL and Netlify automatically handles renewals.
Added GitLab integration (in addition to GitHub and Bitbucket)
On Jul 13, 2016 Netlify CTO David Calavera wrote, “We are very excited to announce that you can use GitLab [in addition to GitHub and Bitbucket] to authenticate and deploy repositories in Netlify…”. Adding the GitLab OAuth connection makes Netlify an obvious mainstay in any developer’s CI/CD pipeline.
Raised seed funding and joined Heavybit accelerator program
On Aug 16, 2016 Netlify Co-Founders Matt Biilmann and Chris Bach wrote, “We almost can’t believe the fortune we’ve had in bringing together some of the greatest people in the space, who have now joined us for the next chapter of this adventure…”.
The “greatest people in the space” is completely accurate and included folks like Adam Wiggins (founder of Heroku) Tom Preston-Werner, (founder of GitHub), Todd Morey (founder of Rackspace Cloud) and several other prominent founders. Netlify gets rocket fuel to continue reaching new heights!
Introduced deploy previews
On Aug 30, 2016 Netlify CTO David Calavera wrote, “Today, we’re very excited to introduce our solution to these problems [manual CI and CD limitations], Deploy Previews. This will allow you and your team to see what changes will look like in production, without having to deploy them in your existing site…”. Truly a groundbreaking feature, the launch of this made Netlify a clear pioneer in developer workflow and efficiency.
As Phil Hawksworth, Principal Developer Experience Engineer, more recently wrote: “Making Deploy Previews and their corresponding build logs visible has proven to be popular and empowering.”.
Introduced Deploy to Netlify button
On Nov 29, 2016, just on the heels of Deploy Previews, Netlify CTO David Calavera wrote, “If you thought deploying new projects to Netlify could not be more simple, you might have been right, but we always like to surprise you. The new “Deploy to Netlify” button helps you launch a new site from a template right away, just one single click required…”.
Since then, we’ve logged millions of interactions and projects being shipped via the “Deploy to Netlify” button. Netlify’s Cassidy Williams, Principal Developer Experience Engineer, more recently wrote: “…just click the handy “Deploy to Netlify” button, and it will clone the project for you and you can customize and tweak it to your heart’s content…”. It truly removes any barriers to entry!
Introduced a new design system for the app
On Mar 14, 2017 Netlify Senior Staff Product Designer Rafael Conde wrote, “As our user base and team grows, it’s natural our product would as well. Today we are rolling out the first of many iterations to our app‘s user interface…”. Zeroing-in on introducing more flexibility into how Netlify App’s UI can grow, going forward, Netlify’s Design team went into a deep-dive on optimizing its organizational structure, hierarchy, and much more. What came is the App’s fluid and consistent design system.
Introduced split-branch testing
On Jun 28, 2017 lots of new features, plans for teams, and more were introduced. Netlify Co-Founders Matt Biilmann and Chris Bach wrote, “When Netlify integrates with your Git repository, we don’t just build and deploy a single branch, we integrate far deeper into your existing Git-centric workflow. Our new Branch-Based Split Testing allows you to divide traffic for your main domain between two or more branch deploys. Since this logic takes place on the CDN, as opposed to your server or client-side, you experience zero performance loss…”.
As teams work on sites together, optimizing webpages around certain KPIs and/or running tests to prove your hypothesis right or wrong through A/B tests is fun and good for business, to boot. The fact that this was introduced as a free feature within Netlify is a game-changer. Be sure to spin-up some tests if you haven’t yet!
Launched audit logs for teams
On July 27, 2017 more features for Teams (now Business) were released. Netlify’s Bret Comnes wrote, “Today we are introducing a new feature within Teams: Audit Log. Audit Log provides transparency into the different actions taken by team members on various team and site settings…”. Keeping your finger on the pulse of Team setting changes, site property setting changes, and more was another critical add for leaders running a team on the Netlify platform.
Smashing Magazine migrates from WordPress to Jamstack & Netlify
On No 21, 2017 Netlify Co-Founder Matt Biilmann wrote, “Smashing Magazine, the largest online publication for web developers and designers, is now live on Netlify. Now, Smashingmagazine.com is the most advanced JAMstack site we’ve ever seen…”.
Smashing, isn’t it!? Truly though, Smashing Magazine’s migration off of WordPress and onto the Jamstack architecture proved to be one of the most monumental moves of its time. Their team of developers and ours really expanded the limits of what’s possible with their advanced use-case.
Netlify CMS is released
On Dec 07, 2017 Netlify Engineering Manager Shawn Erquhart wrote, “Today we shipped Netlify CMS 1.0, the production-ready update to our open source project that allows developers to implement Git-based content management for static sites and single page apps…”. Another core piece of Netlihistory (Netlify history) in-the-making here, Shawn and the team’s hard work and launch of Netlify CMS has positively impacted so many developers! The CMS has been an open source project from day one.
Launched Netlify Functions
On Mar 20, 2018 Netlify Co-Founders Matt Biilmann and Chris Bach wrote, “Today we’re officially releasing Functions, which make deploying serverless AWS Lambda functions on Netlify as simple as adding a file to your Git repository…”.
If you’re reading through things chronologically here, you’re likely beginning to see the pattern of how every new feature, each new improvement to Netlify, is shaping the entire Jamstack ecosystem and architecture along the way. Netlify Functions have proven to be massively useful for countless use-cases and we’re proud of our early adoption and support of serverless functions.
Launched Netlify Drop a simple drag-n-drop way to launch sites
On Aug 14, 2018 Netlify Principal Developer Experience Engineer Phil Hawksworth wrote, “Today we are delighted to announce the launch of Netlify Drop — the simplest way to get started hosting a site on the web. Netlify Drop is the natural evolution of BitBalloon, which has been providing simple drag-and-drop website deployments for years…”.
Netlify Drop is another feature “drop” that takes away any barriers to entry for getting a static site live. Drop any folder at netlify.com/drop with your site’s codebase (HTML, CSS, and JS files) and Netlify publishes them live and gives you a link to share it. If you’re unsure what BitBalloon is and are curious about Netlify’s history, read through the article to gain more information on its history.
World’s First Jamstack Conf
On Oct 10, 2018 Netlify Co-Founders Matt Biilmann and Chris Bach wrote, “With this next round of funding, we’ve never been in a better position to bring more features and capabilities to the development community. You can also join us this month at JAMstack Conf in San Francisco. And if you are really committed to the cause, we’re hiring and we’d love you to apply to join our team…”. Netlify gets more rocket fuel to continue reaching new heights and announces the first JAMstack Conf!
Netlify Large Media is born
On Feb 26, 2019 Netlify Principal Developer Experience Engineer Phil Hawksworth wrote, “Today we are happy to announce Netlify Large Media — a service built on top of Git LFS to allow you to remove heavy binary assets from your repositories and let Netlify take care of their versioning, storage, and resolution…”. This feature announcement introduced a seamless way to add larger assets like media and other files into static sites built on the Jamstack. All of these large media assets are backed by Netlify’s Edge – our robust and redundant cloud storage.
Netlify Dev public beta at Jamstack Conf NYC
On Apr 09, 2019 Netlify Principal Developer Experience Engineer Phil Hawksworth wrote, “At Netlify, we have embraced the challenge of providing tools for developers to simplify the work of building, deploying, and serving sites on the web. Netlify Dev is our next step on the road to making the experience of developing for the web as productive, simple, and predictable as possible…”.
Writing, testing, and viewing code locally prior to shipping to production, is key. Netlify’s developer experience advanced even more when we announced (live from Jamstack Conf NYC) our extension of our command line interface (CLI) with
netlify dev – a development environment that respects all redirects, has live rebuilding and reloading, shareable public URLs, and provides a safe zone for QA’ing and testing your code before going live.
First O’Reilly Jamstack Book
On Jul 31, 2019 Netlify’s Co-Founder Matt Biilmann and Principal Developer Experience Engineer Phil Hawksworth co-authored and published an incredible resource with O’Reilly. “Written by Matt Biilmann and Phil Hawksworth with considerable help from the Netlify team, in particular Todd Morey and Chris Bach, this O’Reilly report covers many aspects of the Jamstack architectural approach…”.
What is a Jamstack site? What are the benefits of the Jamstack? What are common tools and services in the Jamstack ecosystem? This book addresses these points and many more – get your free copy here.
Launched Netlify Analytics from Jamstack Conf London
Server logs as a service! Following the live, on-stage introduction of Netlify Dev at Jamstack Conf NYC, the team followed suit with another on-stage launch and announcement at Jamstack Conf London, this time introducing Netlify Analytics. Data without the downsides – Netlify Analytics offers filterable views for monitoring pageviews, visitors, incoming traffic sources/referrals, and much more.
Jamstack SF, Jamstack at Scale Nike, Popeyes, Longos speaking
On Oct 15, 2019 Netlify hosted Jamstack Conf SF. Afterwards, Netlify Principal Developer Experience Engineer Phil Hawksworth wrote wrote, “We all left the event feeling confident that the word was getting out about this approach to modern web development. And that more clients, agencies, developers, and vendors than ever before are discovering the huge potential in this stack and applying it with impressive results…”.
Each Jamstack Conf event keeps on getting bigger and better, as does the adoption of the Jamstack. This event in particular held some amazing presentations and many industry experts shared their insights with attendees, all recapped for future viewing on video here.
New and Improved Docs Site
On Oct 16, 2019 Netlify Documentation Engineer Jessica Parsons wrote, “We’re pleased to announce the release of our new and improved Netlify docs! This represents a huge team effort that took place over the course of a year, moving all of our docs content from a subdirectory in our main site at www.netlify.com to a brand new, separate site at docs.netlify.com…”. A product is only as good as its design, functionality, and documentation. Docs are a such key resource for SaaS users and Netlify’s improved Docs Site launch was nothing short of monumental. Read more about the technical details of this initiative, outlined by Jessica, below.
Jamstack Conf Virtual
On May 27, 2020 Netlify VP of Marketing Lauren Sell wrote, “Jamstack Conf Virtual is the place for frontend and full stack developers to learn all things Jamstack, the modern web architecture. This special edition of Jamstack Conf will explore the current pandemic and the role of the web, in addition to case studies, demos, lightning launches and hands-on workshops…”.
As much as we looked forward to continuing to see everyone in-person for Jamstack Conf 2020, this year has had a different (and quite surreal) plan for us all. Our first foray into virtual events came together via amazing support and collaboration from our team, sponsors, speakers, and attendees. Jamstack Conf 2020 video recaps are available for viewing here.
Launched Build Plugins
On May 27, 2020 Netlify Senior Developer Experience Engineer Tara Z. Manicsic wrote, “We are excited to announce the release of Netlify Build Plugins today! Build Plugins allow you to automate build tasks, customize your build process, and make your development process even easier…”. Publicly announcing the general availability of Build Plugins at Jamstack Conf was exciting, to say the least! And you, the community, have been rallying behind this launch ever since. The use-cases and possibilities that Build Plugins add to web properties are truly amazing – check out the documentation and repository.
Thanks a million!
A big thank you to our community and larger Jamstack ecosystem that has worked together with us over the years!
We celebrate this milestone with you and encourage you to check out our visual interactive timeline, and share your experiences with us. Today we also launch our new Netlify swag store. We are offering a free “1 Million Developers” sticker giveaway to the first 100 people that request it in our store. To redeem, head to the new Netlify swag store and add the 1M Devs sticker to your cart. Redeem this giveaway offer with promo code MILLION. Shipping is included.
Here’s to the next million!
New to Netlify? Get started for free.
Are you a business looking for the right fit as you grow and transform your modern web projects? See Netlify’s pricing and plans.