May 07, 2020 // Tutorial

Add Serverless Functions to Any Static Site

#netlify #serverless #node

Adding just a bit of backend functionality to your Netlify-hosted static site is a perfect use-case for serverless functions. Let's get up and running!


Whether you want to keep a third-party or proprietary API key or secret from being shipped to the browser, or you just need a little server-side functionality, a serverless function can bridge the gap.

Prepare Your Project

First, we need to make sure our project is hosted on Netlify.

Let's connect our project to a Netlify and get set up using Netlify Dev, which will allow us to test our functions locally:

  1. Create a Netlify account if you don't have one already.
  2. Ensure you have the Netlify CLI installed locally. You can do this by running npm i -g netlify-cli. If you run into a permissions issue, check out the NPM docs on the issue.
  3. Authenticate with Netlify by running netlify login.
  4. Initialize your Netlify project by running netlify init. This will create a site on Netlify and associate your project with that new site.

Configure a Functions Directory

Now that we're set up with a Netlify project, we need to tell Netlify where to find our functions.

  1. Create a new directory at the root of your project. I typically name this directory something like, /api.
  2. Create a config file to tell Netlify where to look for your functions:
# netlify.toml

    functions: '/api'

Create a Function

Now that Netlify knows where to look for our functions, we can write our first one!

Create a new file in the /api directory:

// testy.js

exports.handler = async (event, context) => {
  return {
    statusCode: 200,
    body: JSON.stringify({
      message: 'yup, it works'

Test Locally Using Netlify Dev

With our function created, let's make sure it works!

  1. Start your dev server by running netlify dev. You may need to choose or configure a start command.
  2. Visit http://localhost:8888/.netlify/functions/testy


If your local function is working correctly, go ahead and deploy it to Netlify with netlify deploy!

Thanks for reading! Need some help? Feel free to reach out.