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Quick Thoughts On Netlify Build Plugins

If you hadn't noticed from previous posts, I'm a big fan of the Jamstack approach to building websites and web apps. I'm also a big fan of Netlify, who originally coined the term "Jamstack."

One of my favourite "features" of Netlify Platform - for want of a better word - is Build Plugins. I'm hesitant to call Build Plugins a feature, because Build Plugins are a growing ecosystem of open source plugins that can be installed and used with 1-click.

The best bit? They're completely unopinionated. Whether you're building with static site generators like Next.js, Gatsby.js or Hugo, or use Contentful, Airtable, or Forestry as your CMS, build plugins will work with any combination of anything.

Which makes sense - Portability is one of the main benefits of the Jamstack approach.

Build Plugins run at build time (hence the name), and quickly make common features available to Jamstack websites and web apps, so you don't need to mess around with config files or npm.

Here's a few of my favourites:

  • Algolia Crawler: Automatically index your website to Algolia when deploying your project to Netlify.

  • Gatsby cache: Persist the Gatsby cache between Netlify builds for huge build speed improvements.

  • Image Optim: Optimize images as part of your Netlify build process. Optimizes PNG, JPEG, GIF and SVG file formats.

  • Lighthouse: generate a lighthouse report for every deploy.

  • No more 404: Check that you preserve your own internal URL structure between builds.

  • Sitemap: Automatically generate a sitemap for your site on PostBuild in Netlify.

  • Submit sitemap: Automatically submit your sitemap to Google, Bing, and Yandex after every production build.

Because they're open source they're free to use, across all Netlify Plans (including the generous free Starter plan). Check out the full list of plugins here.