First launch: Firebase

June 30, 2017

I relaunched my blog on Firebase Hosting. The free tier on Firebase is perfect for single page web apps, like my Gatsby blog.

I’m going to be using Firebase to host my blog initially. The free tier on Firebase is perfect for a project like this — I’m using Gatsby, which generates a single page React app. Firebase Hosting is tailor made for single page web apps.

Static site hosting competitors:

There are several other competitors for static web hosting. I chose Firebase mostly because I had a good experience with their documentation. I pulled this list from the Gatsby docs.

Create an account, get started

I already had an account. You can create one for yourself: https://firebase.google.com/

  • Create an account
  • Start a new project (I named mine “blog”)
  • Make sure you have firebase tools installed
  • Initialize your project
# from an empty folder
npm install -g firebase-tools
firebase login
firebase init

If you already have a project, firebase may cause you some troubles and throw errors because of existing files. I created an empty test folder, initialized my project, and then copied the firebase.json and .firebaserc files into my Gatsby root (where your package.json lives).


The ultimate goal is to create a firebase.json file.

Note: I got stuck on firebase init (it just froze without any errors). Turned out that I needed to update my Node because of a regression.

I ended up with this firebase.json file:

  "hosting": {
    "public": "public",
    "rewrites": [
        "source": "**",
        "destination": "/index.html"

First deploy

Without configuring Firebase at all you can deploy it to the generic URL very easily. Presuming you have firebase and Gatsby configured correctly, this should work.

# build gatsby and deploy it
yarn build && firebase deploy

Better deploys

Gatsby initializes projects with a few scripts in the package.json file. We need to update the deploy script to use firebase deploy instead of gh-pages.

  "scripts": {
    "deploy": "gatsby build --prefix-links && firebase deploy"

Where does it deploy?

Because I haven’t changed any firebase settings from the default, it publishes the public/ folder to a funky URL. My default firebase site is https://blog-7e7a6.firebaseapp.com/. If you want a custom domain you need to configure it in the Firebase Hosting console and update your DNS records.

Fixing the URL

I need to get my new blog hosted on my website. Because I’m migrating my blog, I will set up a temporary subdomain. Later I will replace the current heygrady.com with the new site.

Note: If you are viewing this blog post on heygrady.com you are living in the future — hello from the past!

For now I need to create new.heygrady.com and point it to my firebase hosting. I recently switched my domains from Godaddy to Google Domains to make managing my domain much simpler.

  • In Firebase, choose to ”connect domain
  • In Google Domains, configure DNS, add an A record for new with the two addresses specified by Firebase
  • At first your site will throw a security error
  • In an hour or so the security settings will propagate and everything will work as expected

What’s next?

Now my blog is live! But not on the final domain. I need to set up some redirects for the old site.

Grady KuhnlineWritten by Grady Kuhnline. @heygrady | Github