Vercel vs Netlify: Choosing the Best Serverless Deployment Platform

By Grzegorz Tomaka

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In the world of serverless platforms, two names often come up: Vercel and Netlify. Both of these platforms offer a host of features tailored towards frontend developers and aim to streamline the process of deploying web applications. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into a detailed comparison of Vercel and Netlify, exploring their unique offerings and capabilities. By comparing the two platforms side by side, we hope to make it easier for you to choose the best serverless deployment platform for your needs.

What is Vercel?


Vercel is a deployment platform known for its impressive scalability and developer-centric approach. This hosting platform offers a global CDN, automatic SSL, custom domain handling, and a plethora of other features. Vercel offers comprehensive support for serverless functions and boasts seamless integration with popular development frameworks like Next.js, developed by the same team.

What is Netlify?


Netlify, on the other hand, is a JAMstack hosting platform that facilitates the building, deploying, and hosting of web applications. Netlify provides automatic build processes, global distribution, serverless backend services, and a variety of other features. Netlify offers serverless backend services through Netlify Functions, making it a powerful platform for full-stack applications.

Vercel Netlify Serverless: Deploying Serverless Functions

One of the main features offered by both Vercel and Netlify is the ability to deploy serverless functions. Both platforms offer serverless capabilities, but they approach it differently.

Serverless Netlify Functions

Netlify offers serverless backend services through its feature, Netlify Functions. This allows developers to run server-side code without having to manage a server. With this, Netlify users can build and deploy full-stack applications using only frontend technology.

Netlify Functions are written in JavaScript (Node.js) and support asynchronous functions. They can be triggered by HTTP requests or background events and can interact with any existing APIs or databases.

Vercel's Serverless Functions

Vercel offers similar capabilities with its serverless functions feature. With Vercel, you can write serverless functions in multiple languages, including JavaScript (Node.js), Go, Python, and Ruby.

Vercel's serverless functions are also easy to develop, as they live alongside the rest of your source code. This makes it easy to develop your application locally before deploying it globally on the Vercel Edge Network.

Vercel Netlify Serverless: Performance and Scalability

Performance and scalability are critical when it comes to choosing a serverless deployment platform. Both Vercel and Netlify have robust solutions for ensuring that your web applications perform well and can scale as needed.

Vercel's Performance and Scalability

Vercel utilizes a global Edge Network, distributing your content across multiple points of presence (PoPs) worldwide. This allows for fast load times no matter where your users are located. Additionally, Vercel automatically scales your application to meet demand, ensuring a smooth user experience even during traffic surges.

Netlify Edge

Netlify offers similar performance benefits through its global Application Delivery Network (ADN), Netlify Edge. This intelligent CDN is built for modern web applications and provides advanced routing, instant cache invalidation, and high cache hit rates.

Netlify also offers automatic scaling, accommodating traffic surges without the need for manual intervention. This ensures that your web application is always available and responsive to your users.

Deploying Applications: Feature Vercel Netlify

When it comes to deploying applications, both Vercel and Netlify make the process easy and efficient.

Deploying Applications with Vercel

With Vercel, you can deploy directly from a Git repository. Vercel integrates with GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket, triggering a new deployment whenever you push to your chosen branch. This integration makes version control and collaboration easy for development teams. Vercel also offers zero-downtime deployments and automatic HTTPS.

Deploying Applications with Netlify

Netlify offers a similar deployment process. With Netlify, you can connect your Git repository and automatically deploy changes whenever you push to your chosen branch. Netlify also offers atomic deploys, which ensure that your site's new version goes live instantly and atomically — all at once, with no failed pages.

Feature Vercel Netlify: Developer Experience

A great developer experience is crucial for productivity and efficiency. Both Vercel and Netlify are designed with developers in mind, offering a variety of features to enhance the development process.

Developer Experience with Vercel

Vercel offers an intuitive dashboard that provides an overview of your deployments. You can track changes, view logs to troubleshoot any issues, and manage your custom domains and environment variables. Vercel's integration with Next.js also offers enhanced developer experience, enabling developers to take full advantage of the framework.

Developer Experience with Netlify

Netlify also provides a great developer experience. The Netlify dashboard allows you to manage your sites, functions, forms, and identity services all in one place. Netlify's features like split testing, form handling, and identity services make it a versatile platform for building and managing web applications.

Analyzing Applications: Vercel Offers vs Netlify Offers

Both Vercel and Netlify provide tools to analyze and monitor your web applications, but they offer different features in this respect.

Analyzing Applications with Vercel

Vercel provides real-time visibility into how your application is performing. It offers built-in analytics that provide insights into your application's traffic, performance, and usage patterns. This data can be crucial for making informed decisions about scaling and optimizing your application.

Netlify Analytics

Netlify, on the other hand, offers Netlify Analytics. This feature provides insights into your site's traffic and performance without impacting the load time. Netlify Analytics is run directly on their servers, ensuring accurate data that respects user privacy.

Vercel vs Netlify: Additional Features

Beyond the basic features expected from a serverless deployment platform, both Vercel and Netlify offer additional capabilities that can enhance your web development experience.

Additional Features: Vercel Offers

Vercel offers several additional features, including automatic environment variables and custom domains. Additionally, with its Rewrites and Redirects feature, you can create custom routes for your application, enhancing your site's user experience and SEO.

Additional Features: Netlify Offers

Netlify provides additional features like Netlify Forms, a feature allowing you to manage form submissions without any server-side code. There's also Netlify Identity, a feature offering a comprehensive identity management solution for your web applications.

Conclusion: Vercel vs Netlify

Choosing between Vercel and Netlify often comes down to the specific needs of your project. Both platforms offer a wide array of features that make them excellent choices for hosting modern web applications.

Vercel shines with its strong integration with Next.js, its support for multiple languages in serverless functions, and its global Edge Network. If your project heavily relies on Next.js or requires multi-language serverless functions, Vercel might be the better choice.

Netlify, on the other hand, stands out with its serverless backend services, form handling, and identity management features. If these features align with your project's needs, Netlify could be your ideal choice.

In conclusion, both Vercel and Netlify provide robust, developer-friendly platforms for deploying and managing web applications. Your choice between Vercel and Netlify will depend on your project's requirements, your preferred development experience, and the specific serverless capabilities you need.

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Grzegorz Tomaka

Co-CEO & Co-founder

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