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[Tutorial] Building a serverless website for free

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juan917

Silver Contributor
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Speedway Pass
Jul 27, 2015
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Hi guys,

In this post I want to tell you how I went about and built a fully functional website with no servers and for free too! (Well, its free until you get thousands of users). Managing servers and having to worry about downtime is a massive stress. Isn't it better to not think about managing traffic/load balancing, server maintenance/upgrades, domain management package updates, SSL certificates etc.

I think so.

I found a service called netlify.com which allows you to write a webpage / webpages in HTML/CSS/Javascript and it handles all of these operational things for you as well as deploying a site to a random url.


OK well, what if your use case requires you to use a server because you want to run a backend operation because you are doing something like data manipulation or getting data from a third-party source on a 24/7 basis. Netlify will fall short for you here since the life time of your HTML/CSS/Javascript is however long your last active user has an open browser tab open to your site.

Introducing webtask (webtask.io). Webtask allows you to create API endpoints without needing a server. There is an option to run webtasks as a command line tool, but lets leave that for more advanced users. Instead, I recommend using webtask's built in cloud IDE which you can find at

Sign In with Auth0

After you login. You'll see this window.

KxoJoO4.png


Here's where you can run your business logic. If you look down you can see there's a url that you can copy. That URL gives you an API endpoint which you can make requests to from your Netlify webpage using Javascript.

Ok.. now what if you need persistent data / storage. In this case I recommend using Amazon Web Services. Either S3 or DynamoDB, or some SQL database to store your data. You will use the webtask API functions to manipulate the data that lives in your AWS cloud.

If there is enough interest I can pull together code samples demonstrating things in more detail. All these services are free until your website starts to scale up.
 
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