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Firebase vs Netlify: What are the differences?

Developers describe Firebase as "The Realtime App Platform". Firebase is a cloud service designed to power real-time, collaborative applications. Simply add the Firebase library to your application to gain access to a shared data structure; any changes you make to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds. On the other hand, Netlify is detailed as "Build, deploy and host your static site or app with a drag and drop interface and automatic delpoys from GitHub or Bitbucket". Netlify is smart enough to process your site and make sure all assets gets optimized and served with perfect caching-headers from a cookie-less domain. We make sure your HTML is served straight from our CDN edge nodes without any round-trip to our backend servers and are the only ones to give you instant cache invalidation when you push a new deploy. Netlify is also the only static hosting service with integrated continuous deployment.

Firebase belongs to "Realtime Backend / API" category of the tech stack, while Netlify can be primarily classified under "Static Web Hosting".

Some of the features offered by Firebase are:

  • Add the Firebase library to your app and get access to a shared data structure. Any changes made to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.
  • Firebase apps can be written entirely with client-side code, update in real-time out-of-the-box, interoperate well with existing services, scale automatically, and provide strong data security.
  • Data Accessibility- Data is stored as JSON in Firebase. Every piece of data has its own URL which can be used in Firebase's client libraries and as a REST endpoint. These URLs can also be entered into a browser to view the data and watch it update in real-time.

On the other hand, Netlify provides the following key features:

  • Global Network
  • Global Network
  • Instant Cache Validation

"Realtime backend made easy" is the primary reason why developers consider Firebase over the competitors, whereas "Fastest static hosting and continuous deployments" was stated as the key factor in picking Netlify.

According to the StackShare community, Firebase has a broader approval, being mentioned in 859 company stacks & 997 developers stacks; compared to Netlify, which is listed in 85 company stacks and 104 developer stacks.

Advice on Firebase and Netlify
Needs advice
on
Socket.IO
Firebase
and
Apollo

We are starting to work on a web-based platform aiming to connect artists (clients) and professional freelancers (service providers). In-app, timeline-based, real-time communication between users (& storing it), file transfers, and push notifications are essential core features. We are considering using Node.js, ExpressJS, React, MongoDB stack with Socket.IO & Apollo, or maybe using Real-Time Database and functionalities of Firebase.

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Replies (3)
Timothy Malstead
Junior Full Stack Developer at Freelance · | 7 upvotes · 183.6K views
Recommends
Firebase

I would recommend looking hard into Firebase for this project, especially if you do not have dedicated full-stack or backend members on your team.

The real time database, as you mentioned, is a great option, but I would also look into Firestore. Similar to RTDB, it adds more functions and some cool methods as well. Also, another great thing about Firebase is you have easy access to storage and dead simple auth as well.

Node.js Express MongoDB Socket.IO and Apollo are great technologies as well, and may be the better option if you do not wish to cede as much control to third parties in your application.

Overall, I say if you wish to focus more time developing your React application instead of other parts of your stack, Firebase is a great way to do that.

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Recommends
Ably

Hello Noam 👋,

I suggest taking a look at Ably, it has all the realtime features you need and the platform is designed to guarantee critical functionality at scale.

Here is an in depth comparison between Ably and Firebase

See more
Recommends
8base

Hey Noam,

I would recommend you to take a look into 8base. It has features you've requested, also relation database and GraphQL API which will help you to develop rapidly.

Thanks, Ilya

See more
View all (3)
Decisions about Firebase and Netlify
Howie Zhao
Full Stack Engineer at yintrust · | 7 upvotes · 96.8K views

We use Netlify to host static websites.

The reasons for choosing Netlify over GitHub Pages are as follows:

  • Netfily can bind multiple domain names, while GitHub Pages can only bind one domain name
  • With Netfily, the original repository can be private, while GitHub Pages free tier requires the original repository to be public

In addition, in order to use CDN, we use Netlify DNS.

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Pros of Firebase
Pros of Netlify
  • 361
    Realtime backend made easy
  • 263
    Fast and responsive
  • 234
    Easy setup
  • 207
    Real-time
  • 186
    JSON
  • 127
    Free
  • 121
    Backed by google
  • 81
    Angular adaptor
  • 63
    Reliable
  • 36
    Great customer support
  • 26
    Great documentation
  • 23
    Real-time synchronization
  • 20
    Mobile friendly
  • 17
    Rapid prototyping
  • 12
    Great security
  • 11
    Automatic scaling
  • 10
    Freakingly awesome
  • 8
    Chat
  • 8
    Angularfire is an amazing addition!
  • 8
    Super fast development
  • 6
    Awesome next-gen backend
  • 6
    Ios adaptor
  • 5
    Built in user auth/oauth
  • 5
    Firebase hosting
  • 4
    Speed of light
  • 4
    Very easy to use
  • 3
    It's made development super fast
  • 3
    Great
  • 3
    Brilliant for startups
  • 2
    Great all-round functionality
  • 2
    Low battery consumption
  • 2
    I can quickly create static web apps with no backend
  • 2
    The concurrent updates create a great experience
  • 2
    JS Offline and Sync suport
  • 1
    Faster workflow
  • 1
    Large
  • 1
    Serverless
  • 1
    .net
  • 1
    Free SSL
  • 1
    Good Free Limits
  • 1
    Push notification
  • 1
    Easy to use
  • 1
    Easy Reactjs integration
  • 41
    Easy deploy
  • 40
    Fastest static hosting and continuous deployments
  • 20
    Free SSL support
  • 20
    Super simple deploys
  • 14
    Easy Setup and Continous deployments
  • 9
    Faster than any other option in the market
  • 8
    Free plan for personal websites
  • 7
    Deploy previews
  • 6
    Free Open Source (Pro) plan
  • 4
    Great loop-in material on a blog
  • 4
    Analytics
  • 4
    Easy to use and great support
  • 3
    Fastest static hosting and continuous deployments
  • 2
    Great drag and drop functionality
  • 1
    Tech oriented support
  • 1
    Supports static site generators
  • 1
    Canary Releases (Split Tests)
  • 1
    Custom domains support

Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

Cons of Firebase
Cons of Netlify
  • 28
    Can become expensive
  • 15
    Scalability is not infinite
  • 14
    No open source, you depend on external company
  • 9
    Not Flexible Enough
  • 5
    Cant filter queries
  • 3
    Very unstable server
  • 2
    Too many errors
  • 2
    No Relational Data
  • 8
    It's expensive
  • 1
    Bandwidth limitation

Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

What is Firebase?

Firebase is a cloud service designed to power real-time, collaborative applications. Simply add the Firebase library to your application to gain access to a shared data structure; any changes you make to that data are automatically synchronized with the Firebase cloud and with other clients within milliseconds.

What is Netlify?

Netlify is smart enough to process your site and make sure all assets gets optimized and served with perfect caching-headers from a cookie-less domain. We make sure your HTML is served straight from our CDN edge nodes without any round-trip to our backend servers and are the only ones to give you instant cache invalidation when you push a new deploy. Netlify is also the only static hosting service with integrated continuous deployment.

Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

What companies use Firebase?
What companies use Netlify?
See which teams inside your own company are using Firebase or Netlify.
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What tools integrate with Firebase?
What tools integrate with Netlify?

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Blog Posts

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What are some alternatives to Firebase and Netlify?
MongoDB
MongoDB stores data in JSON-like documents that can vary in structure, offering a dynamic, flexible schema. MongoDB was also designed for high availability and scalability, with built-in replication and auto-sharding.
Parse
With Parse, you can add a scalable and powerful backend in minutes and launch a full-featured app in record time without ever worrying about server management. We offer push notifications, social integration, data storage, and the ability to add rich custom logic to your app’s backend with Cloud Code.
Heroku
Heroku is a cloud application platform – a new way of building and deploying web apps. Heroku lets app developers spend 100% of their time on their application code, not managing servers, deployment, ongoing operations, or scaling.
Auth0
A set of unified APIs and tools that instantly enables Single Sign On and user management to all your applications.
Realm
The Realm Mobile Platform is a next-generation data layer for applications. Realm is reactive, concurrent, and lightweight, allowing you to work with live, native objects.
See all alternatives
Reviews of Firebase and Netlify
Review of
Netlify

To start off, check this out: https://perfwars.com/netlify.com/vs/godaddy.com/

If you are new to Netlify, it will take you less than 5 minutes to get your site up and running, 3 minutes if you are fast. To get started simply go here: https://app.netlify.com/

Choose one of the following options to sign up: GitHub, BitBucket, GitLab, or you can use your email address.

If you sign up with your email address, it will ask you to enter a 4 digit verification code that they sent to your email address.

Once signed in, you will be shown a quick intro:

  1. SIMPLY PUSH TO DEPLOY
  2. FREE ONE-CLICK HTTPS
  3. NEVER HAVE TO LEAVE TERMINAL

These are three huge benefits of Netlify over most other hosting platforms.

OK, now that you have signed up and gone through the highlights, you need just select new site. From there you can either link a Git repository or just drag and drop your site folder into the browser window. Your site will be uploaded and available for browsing within a minute or so.

Once your site is on Netlify, you can setup a custom domain by selected the settings tab, if you are not already there, then click edit next to domain. Simply put your domain in, save and then follow instructions on Netlify's documentation page on how to set up your DNS: https://www.netlify.com/docs/custom-domains

So easy! You are done setting up your site! Now for making changes and adding features. You no longer have to do crazy manual set ups to get SSL installed on your site, with Netlify even my grandma could do it! You can still use your own certificate if you prefer, but if you wanted it even easier, all you have to do is select "Lets Encrypt Certificate" from the SSL tab on your site in Netlify.

When you select "Lets Encrypt Certificate", Netlify shows a dialog entitled "Automatic TLS Setup" and asks you to ensure that your DNS is set up properly before you provision the certificate. This is important, and it will be fine so long as you set up your DNS properly according to their custom domains documentation that I shared earlier. All you need to do here is click save. The SSL will start to work shortly and all http URLs will automatically be redirected to https! And the best part is, it is free!

Recap of the setup process: 1. Sign up and verify your account 2. Link repository or drag and drop site folder 3. Change domain and setup DNS 4. True One-click SSL 5. Upgrade your site for more awesome features (Optional)

That's it! You are done! Takes less than 5 minutes!

Before I came across Netlify, I would often use drag and drop web builders because the complication of managing servers and setting up configurations to handle forms and SSL were too complicated. With Netlify however, all you need to do for form handling is to put in a little call out to Netlify to say, hey, this is a form I want you to handle. It is so easy! You already know how easy it is to set up SSL now too. I now have no fears in launching a site, setting up form handling and SSL.

If you are interested in setting up the form handling, you can go here: https://www.netlify.com/docs/form-handling

Netlify also has amazing and simple documentation. I have never had a problem figuring something out. If ever I have had a question, I have found a resolution with in 1-2 minutes in their documentation. They have thought of everything!

My favorite tools in Netlify are the notifications! You can set up your form handling to automatically notify you via email or even Slack. I love Slack too by the way, and being able to get updates about my deployments or form handling via Slack is a huge plus.

The notification integrations are my favorite, however, I still cannot get over how easy it is to set up SSL and form handling. They are by far the most useful features for me. Another very useful feature is being able to see a history of your builds and having the ability to restore to a previous build or download it. I have been unable to find any of these features in their simplicity anywhere else. Netlify is literally the easiest to use, most reliable and overall best hosting platform out there.

One more mention, the founder of Netlify is involved in the JAMStack Revolution. Here is a quick blurb from their site (Looks Awesome!):

JAM stands for JavaScript, APIs and Markup. It's the fastest growing stack for building websites and apps: no more servers, host all your front-end on a CDN and use APIs for any moving parts.

Learn more about JAMStack here: https://jamstack.org https://github.com/jamstack/jamstack.org

Review of
Firebase

Firebase is great, cheap and very flexible. Their docs are very helpful and so is the customer support, but the one thing that is so awesome about firebase is that everything is done in realtime!

Review of
Firebase

We were looking for a solution to find out about all the errors our customers experienced but never informed us about.

How developers use Firebase and Netlify
Instacart uses
Firebase

We use it for a few things. We use it internally for a few dashboards because it’s actually really nice to have real-time dashboard data with Firebase. We also use it extensively for live order updating. For example, when a shopper is picking your items, you'll be able to go on your order screen. There will be live showing like found or not found or whatever. You'll have live position updating of your shopper on the map. You will have live information of the status of the order like “Nicole is now picking up your order,” and all these kind of things, so you don’t have to reload the page or pull or anything. Just live updates happen natively through Firebase API, which is nice.

Instacart uses
Firebase

We use it for a few things. We use it internally for a few dashboards because it’s actually really nice to have real-time dashboard data with Firebase. We also use it extensively for live order updating. For example, when a shopper is picking your items, you'll be able to go on your order screen. There will be live showing like found or not found or whatever. You'll have live position updating of your shopper on the map. You will have live information of the status of the order like “Nicole is now picking up your order,” and all these kind of things, so you don’t have to reload the page or pull or anything. Just live updates happen natively through Firebase API, which is nice.

ttandon uses
Firebase

Used for storing results of users (malaria predictions) and displaying to user in the app. Although the realtime aspect wasn't huge in this project, it was much quicker to push data elements for each user as firebase elements since they were purely numerical and very small. And again, the idea of familiarity - I've worked with Firebase at previous hackathons, so no need to spend time going through docs, just straight to the coding.

Addo uses
Firebase

Still in development, but we will soon (January 2016) be releasing a version that uses Firebase to keep the front end up to date in real time. Certain data are synchronised across RDS and Firebase to optimize the user experience.

Lee Munroe uses
Firebase

Firebase made it really easy to do two things. 1) Store the shared code developers were sharing 2) Make it real-time simply by including some of their JS libraries. The reason I built CodeShare was to try out Firebase.

ioi0 uses
Netlify

Serves the main site through CDN. Provides super easy password protection and third-level domain for staging. Uses web hooks from Contentful and Github to know when to trigger new build and update the site. Perfect.

MassTimes uses
Netlify

Netlify makes it super-easy for various team members to deploy whenever there's a push to our Git master branch. Automatic build, deployment, and setup on CDN.

GitDocs uses
Netlify

It's free and has so many features - just perfect for open-source projects like GitDocs.

Loog uses
Netlify

We use Netlify to host all of our Hugo sites with continuous deployment.

doodledudes uses
Netlify

Super easy to setup to have your prototypes deployed with CI.