, 3 min read

Hosting Static Content with now.sh

Original post is here eklausmeier.goip.de/blog/2020/05-26-hosting-static-content-with-now-sh.

now.sh, previously known under zeit.co, which has now rebranded as vercel.com, allows to host static content. There is no PHP, MySQL/MariaDB, Perl, CGI, etc. While surge.sh is super simple to use, in contrast now.sh uses the notion of 'environment', which can be either development, preview, or production.

First install via npm install now, then cd to the directory where you have stored your static content. Then, depending on your environment, deployment is as follows:

  1. Development: now dev, no "real" deployment, but rather web-server is started at localhost:3000. Stop with Ctrl-C.
  2. Preview: now or now deploy
  3. Production: now deploy --prod

It is not required to step through all the environments in any order. So you can just always deploy to production. Regardless of the environment, now.sh always creates some additional HTML web area with a generated name. This name might look like now-ll1keyjfk.now.sh.

The now command has the following options:

$ now -h                                                                                                           
> UPDATE AVAILABLE Run `npm i now@latest` to install Now CLI 18.0.0                                                                                
> Changelog: https://github.com/zeit/now/releases/tag/now@18.0.0                                                                                   
  𝚫 now [options] <command | path>                                                                                                                 
      deploy               [path]      Performs a deployment (default)                                                                             
      dev                              Start a local development server                                                                            
      init                 [example]   Initialize an example project                                                                               
      ls | list            [app]       Lists deployments                                                                                           
      inspect              [id]        Displays information related to a deployment                                                                
      login                [email]     Logs into your account or creates a new one                                                                 
      logout                           Logs out of your account                                                                                    
      switch               [scope]     Switches between teams and your personal account                                                            
      help                 [cmd]       Displays complete help for [cmd]                                                                            
      rm | remove          [id]        Removes a deployment                                                                                        
      domains              [name]      Manages your domain names                                                                                   
      dns                  [name]      Manages your DNS records                                                                                    
      certs                [cmd]       Manages your SSL certificates                                                                               
      secrets              [name]      Manages your secret environment variables                                                                   
      logs                 [url]       Displays the logs for a deployment                                                                          
      teams                            Manages your teams                                                                                          
      whoami                           Shows the username of the currently logged in user                                                          

    -h, --help                     Output usage information
    -v, --version                  Output the version number
    -V, --platform-version         Set the platform version to deploy to
    -n, --name                     Set the project name of the deployment 
    -A FILE, --local-config=FILE   Path to the local `now.json` file
    -Q DIR, --global-config=DIR    Path to the global `.now` directory
    -d, --debug                    Debug mode [off]
    -f, --force                    Force a new deployment even if nothing has changed
    -t TOKEN, --token=TOKEN        Login token
    -p, --public                   Deployment is public (`/_src` is exposed)
    -e, --env                      Include an env var during run time (e.g.: `-e KEY=value`). Can appear many times.
    -b, --build-env                Similar to `--env` but for build time only.
    -m, --meta                     Add metadata for the deployment (e.g.: `-m KEY=value`). Can appear many times.
    -C, --no-clipboard             Do not attempt to copy URL to clipboard
    -S, --scope                    Set a custom scope
    --regions                      Set default regions to enable the deployment on
    --prod                         Create a production deployment

  > NOTE: To view the usage information for Now 1.0, run `now help deploy-v1`


  – Deploy the current directory

    $ now

  – Deploy a custom path

    $ now /usr/src/project

  – Deploy with environment variables

    $ now -e NODE_ENV=production -e SECRET=@mysql-secret

  – Show the usage information for the sub command `list`

    $ now help list

now.sh stores your credentials in $HOME/.local/share/now/auth.json.

Added 24-May-2021: Script now is no longer maintained. You have to use vercel instead. Install vercel as usual: npm install vercel. Steps for deployment are

  1. vercel login
  2. vercel deploy --prod

My static site on vercel.com is here: klm.vercel.app/blog.

Added 15-Jan-2024: Vercel imposes a limit of at most 5,000 requests per day, when you use the free plan.