Hosting your React app on the web, using Netlify (via CLI)

Note: these instructions are for React apps that have been created with the command create-react-app.

Getting set up

Install the netlify-cli software, once:

In a terminal, from any directory, run the following to install netlify-cli globally.

npm install netlify-cli -g

If this fails with errors, run it again with superuser privileges, using sudo:

sudo npm install netlify-cli -g

Create a netlify account

Visit and create a free account.

"Build" your React app

First navigate with cd to the directory for your React app that you want to host. (Let's assume it's called cyf-hotel)

cd cyf-hotel

Now, build the app:

npm run build

This will create (or update) a build directory within your current directory. This contains a prepared version of your app, ready to be hosted. (There are many ways to host it.)

Host the app for the first time on netlify

netlify deploy --prod

It will ask some questions.

NOTE: You can only use the keyboard (UP/DOWN arrows, and ENTER) to input the answers to these questions.

First it will try to use your browser to authenticate you. Depending on your computer, it may launch a new browser tab or it may fail to do so.

If told to do so:

  • open the given URL in the browser to authenticate

In all cases:

  • Go to your browser, press "Authenticate" on the netlify tab that has just been opened.
  • Go back to the terminal. It should display that auth was successful, and it should ask you more questions:

  • Choose: Create & Configure a new site

  • Choose a site name like: cyf-ahmet-hotel
  • When asked for team, DON'T select CYF if it is an option. Choose your own user name as a team.
  • When asked for deploy path, enter build.

That's it, all done.

  • Visit the live site URL that netlify reports at the end.
  • Check your app is there and works!
  • Test it on your phone!
  • Share the url with someone in the class!

What if I want to make changes to my app?

After you make changes, you will want to build and deploy again, in order to host your updated app. Here is how:

  • Make changes to your app
  • Test the changes

  • If you're ready to update the hosted version:

npm run build
netlify deploy --prod


Deleting your hosted site

If you decide you don't want your site hosted:

  • log in to
  • select your site from the list
  • click on site settings
  • scroll down and choose delete this site
  • follow the instructions to confirm

Advanced Section: You can ignore this!

To make updating your site easier, you can make some small adjustments (suggested by Jon R Sharpe):

  • You can specify the deploy directory in the Netlify deploy command, by adding --dir ./build. This way, it won't ask you to type it in. Example:

netlify deploy --prod --dir ./build

  • You could make a custom command to do build and deploy together. Here's how:

Edit package.json to add "deploy": "npm run build && netlify deploy --prod --dir ./build" to the scripts object. Then you can just run npm run deploy and the build and deploy step will both be done for you. Be careful when you edit that file, and copy and paste exactly from here!

An alternative approach

In this guide, we've intentionally made you do the deployment manually by typing commands, so you learn to think about deployment as a separate step. In practice, when you're working intensively and iteratively on a project, these extra steps are repetitive.

You can instead configure Netlify to automatically deploy your site every time you push a change to github (e.g. to the master branch), without ever having to type anything on the command-line. This setup is similar to what many professionals use.

We are writing some notes and workshops on this process, here - it's really easy to get started with. If your teacher has told you to work from this document, make sure you practice with the manual approach first, so that you learn, before you experiment with the automation.

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