Firebase vs. Netlify: Which one is right for you?

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Firebase vs. Netlify: Which one is right for you?

Businesses are adopting cloud hosting services more and more every day. Especially, because they offer cost-effective solutions with better reliability. Firebase and Netlify are two of the easiest and most powerful tools in this category.

Both of them are packed with features that help us deploy our applications with ease. So, in this guide, we will learn their use cases, pros, cons, and when you should prefer one over the other. We’ll also set up and deploy a project on both Firebase and Netlify. It will help us understand the technical details of how to use each service.

Firebase

Firebase offers a robust Backend as a Service (BaaS). It helps us develop feature-rich apps in no time. It is backed by the tech giant Google so, you can safely rely on their infrastructure.

Features

  • Realtime database
  • Data synchronization
  • Machine learning tools
  • One-click Google Analytics integration
  • Multiple authentication methods (e.g. email/password, social media app, phone, anonymous, etc.)

Pros

  • Firebase is packed with all the functionality for rapid application development. It is highly suitable to create a minimum viable product (MVP)
  • Ability to perform A/B testing
  • Add in-app and cloud messaging with ease
  • Uses artificial intelligence to predict user behavior
  • Handles file uploads and retrieval without writing any significant code
  • Introduced Cloud FireStore which is way faster than the Realtime Database
  • Easily extend any app with Google Cloud Platform

Cons

  • The steep learning curve when it comes to scaling the application and handling database migrations and caching management

Netlify

Netlify became popular due to the massive success of JamStack among the developer community. It is mostly used to host static websites that are generated using static site generators like Hugo, Jekyll, etc.

Features

  • Static website hosting
  • Continuous integration and continuous deployment
  • Integration with source control systems
  • Optimize images, videos, and documents on the fly
  • Deploy with drag and drop feature
  • Built-in support for user authentication

Pros

  • Test new features or different designs with split testing
  • Customize build workflow using plugins
  • Collect form submissions right inside the Netlify dashboard

Cons

  • Cannot display content dynamically
  • Unlike Firebase, it only supports static websites

Create a todo list website using Firebase

to do list with "buy new laptop" task and "hello" task

Set up a Firebase project

First of all, login to your Gmail account and then go to the Firebase console.

Welcome to Firebase

Click the “Create a project” button to proceed.

Create a new project in firebase

You’ll be asked to enter the project name. Type anything you like, but for the sake of this tutorial, I’ll enter the “todo list”.

We made a custom demo for .
No really. Click here to check it out.

turn off google analytics

Firebase can easily integrate with Google Analytics. In the production environment, it is recommended to enable it. But, for now, we don’t really need that. So, simply turn it off as mentioned in the below screenshot.

Create project button in firebase

Now, simply press the “Create project” button to let Firebase set up a brand new project for you.

"Your new project is ready"

Click “Continue” to see the project’s overview.

to do list spark plan , click the code icon

We will be creating a website, so click the code icon.

Register the app

Here, you need to register an app. To do so, enter a user-friendly name and press “Register app”.

add firebase sdk

You will now see a code-snippet that is automatically generated by the Firebase. Copy it on your computer because we will need it later. I have hidden some sensitive details that are unique for each app.

Realtime database page

Once you register an app, open the “Realtime Database” page from the left menu and click the “Create Database” button.

security rules for realtime database

A popup will open, simply select “Start in test mode” and press “Enable”.

noSQL todo list app

At this point, we can easily access this NoSQL database using a source code. So, let’s go ahead and write the source code for our “Todo list” app.

You can find the code here.

Run the project

Simply open the index.html file inside any web browser. You can now try adding/removing todo list items.

Deploy a static website on Netlify

Write the code

In this section, we will create a simple HTML landing page and then deploy it on Netlify. We will be using Bootstrap, jQuery, font awesome, and Google Fonts to improve the UI and UX.

You can find the code here.

Upload project on Netlify

At this point, the source code for our static web page is ready to deploy. Simply create an account on Netlify and verify your email to proceed. After that, you will land on the dashboard where you can upload the project.

upload project on netlify

It is interesting to note that Nelify has made this process even simpler by adding the functionality of drag and drop. You just need to drag the project’s root folder and drop it inside the mentioned section. It will automatically start the upload/build process and then finally your website will be live in no time.

Netlify automatically assigns a subdomain

By default, Netlify will automatically assign you a subdomain.

Site has been deployed

As you can see in the “Production deploys” section, our website is successfully published and can be seen online.

Run the project

Simply open the subdomain we just saved. In this tutorial, I used my own name to set up the subdomain. So, we can visit this URL.

Is Firebase better than Netlify?

Firebase is recommended if you want to create a dynamic website or app. Whereas, Netlify is more suitable to host static websites. A lot of startups use Firebase for rapid application development. It helps them quickly test their idea without writing everything from scratch. Similarly, Netlify is a new hot and trending service that provides a seamless build workflow. We can easily connect it with source control systems like GitHub to automate the deployment of static websites with each commit.

Netlify pricing

Netlify has separate packages according to the size of businesses. For example, it offers these packages.

  • STARTER
    • Price: Free
  • PRO
    • Price: $19 per member /month
  • BUSINESS
    • Price: $99 per member /month
  • ENTERPRISE
    • Price: It usually starts at $3,000/month. But, you need to contact them for a custom plan according to your web application

STARTER package is completely free for everyone. It is mostly suitable for personal/open-source projects. Some of its key features include:

  • Connect with GitHub to automate the build process
  • Change versions with ease

PRO package is specifically designed for small business websites or blogs. It can slightly boost the performance as well as handle a bit more traffic than the STARTER package. You can select this package if you need:

  • Login/signup functionality
  • Notifications support

Similarly, the BUSINESS and ENTERPRISE plans are recommended for well-established websites. They offer a lot more features and control. For example, you can easily add single sign-on functionality using SAML, add role-based access control (RBAC), and even use a self-hosted Git repository.

Firebase pricing

On the other hand, Firebase has a really simple pricing model compared to Netlify. It offers only two plans.

  • Spark Plan
    • Price: Free
  • Blaze Plan
    • Price: Pay only for what you use

As usual, the Spark Plan is there to help you try the features of Firebase for free. It helps you get familiar with this Backend as a Service (BaaS) platform. Later on, you may upgrade to Blaze Plan to access advanced features.

Comparison

Based on the above learnings, let’s compare Firebase with Nelify to determine which one is more suitable for your specific needs.

Use Firebase for:

  • Dynamic websites — for example, when you need to access data from a database to generate the web pages. It could be a login/signup system, question/answer forum, social media app, games, etc.
  • Android/iOS app development
  • Process artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms

Use Netlify for:

  • Static websites or blogs. They could be generated using tools like Hugo, Jekyll, Gatsby, etc.
  • High performance. It is because in static websites there’s no need to generate anything at run-time, we just need to display them
  • Easily deploy or scale static websites. Traditionally, it is very difficult to manage large static websites. But, Netlify makes the whole process simple and easy
  • Version control (upgrade/downgrade to a specific version). Here, you can connect with services like GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, etc.

That’s it for now, I hope you are now familiar with both Firebase and Netlify. If you have followed along with me until the end then you probably know when to use them and how to set up a website with each of these services. Now, it’s your turn to try both platforms and explore their rich set of features.

: Full visibility into your web apps

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In addition to logging Redux actions and state, LogRocket records console logs, JavaScript errors, stacktraces, network requests/responses with headers + bodies, browser metadata, and custom logs. It also instruments the DOM to record the HTML and CSS on the page, recreating pixel-perfect videos of even the most complex single-page apps.

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One Reply to “Firebase vs. Netlify: Which one is right for you?”

  1. Netlify supports a server side rendered dynamic websites.However what you mentioned in the article that “netlify supports only static sites” is not correct.

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