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Deploying To Vercel: Step-by-Step Tutorial

January 31, 2024 by Daria Andrieieva
  • User Experience
deploying to vercel

In today's fast-paced digital world, deploying a website has become crucial in getting your online presence up and running. It is a powerful and user-friendly platform among the many options available for web hosting and deploying to Vercel. 
 

Join Kapsys as we guide you through deploying your first site to Vercel, whether you're a seasoned developer or just starting your journey in web development.

 

What is Vercel?

Before we dive into the deployment process, let's briefly understand what Vercel is and why deploying to Vercel is a popular choice among developers.
 

Vercel is a cloud platform designed for front-end and full-stack developers to build, deploy, and host websites and web applications. It offers a seamless and automated deployment process, ensuring your projects are live on the Internet with minimal effort.
 

Here are some key features of Vercel:

  • Automatic Deployments: Vercel seamlessly integrates with Git, automating deployments when you push changes to your repository.
     

  • Global CDN: Utilizing a global content delivery network (CDN), Vercel ensures fast loading times for your site worldwide.
     

  • Serverless Functions: Deploy serverless functions alongside your static website for dynamic functionality without server management.
     

  • Environment Variables: Vercel offers secure management of environment variables, which is crucial for configuring your site for various environments (e.g., development, production).
     

  • Custom Domains: Easily associate your custom domain with your Vercel-hosted site for a professional, branded appearance.

Now that you understand why Vercel is an excellent choice, let's move on to the steps for deploying your website.
 

Read: Getting Started With Vercel App: A Guide For Beginners

Vercel app

Prerequisites

Before you start deploying your website to Vercel, make sure you have the following prerequisites in place for deploying to Vercel:

  • A Vercel Account: If you don't have one, sign up for a free.
     

  • Git Repository: Your website's code should be hosted in a Git repository, such as GitHub or GitLab. If you still need to do this, create a repository for your project.
     

  • Node.js: Ensure you have Node.js installed on your local machine for deploying to Vercel. 
     

  • Vercel CLI (Command Line Interface): Install the Vercel CLI by running the following command in your terminal to enable deploying to Vercel:
     

    npm install -g vercel

Now, it's time for deploying to Vercel!

Here's How to Start Deploying to Vercel

To embark on your journey of deploying to Vercel, let's walk through the initial steps to set up your project and prepare it for seamless deployment. Follow these essential steps to get started:

Step 1: Initialize your project for deploying to Vercel

Start by navigating to the root directory of your project in your terminal. If you haven't already, initialize a Git repository for your project using the following commands for deploying to Vercel:
 

git init


Next, create a package.json file if you still need to create one. You can generate it by running:
 

npm init -y


This file will contain essential information about your project, such as its name, version, and dependencies necessary for deploying to Vercel.


Read: Vercel Deployment With Git Commits

Step 2: Install the required dependencies 

To deploy your website to Vercel, you may need specific dependencies like a static site generator (e.g., Next.jsGatsby, or VuePress) or a build tool (e.g., webpack). Install these dependencies using npm or yarn based on your project's requirements.
 

For instance, if you are using Next.js, you can install it like this while deploying to Vercel:
 

npm install next


Ensure all necessary dependencies are installed, and your project builds correctly on your local machine before being deployed to Vercel.


Read: Boosting Website Performance with Gatsby.js: Tips and Tricks

Step 3: Connect your Git repository

Vercel offers seamless integration with Git repositories for deploying to Vercel. To connect your project, navigate to your project's root directory and run the following:
 

vercel


This command will prompt you to log in to your Vercel account and authorize the Vercel CLI to access your Git repositories, a vital step for deploying to Vercel.
 

Once authorized, select the Git repository containing your project's code and proceed with the deployment configuration.

Step 4: Configure deployment settings

After selecting your Git repository, Vercel will ask you for deployment settings, which is critical when deploying to Vercel. You can choose the following options:

  • Framework Presets: If your project is built with a popular framework like Next.js, Vercel will automatically detect it and configure the settings accordingly. Otherwise, you can specify the framework manually.
     

  • Branch to Deploy: Select the Git branch you want to deploy to Vercel. Typically, this is your main or production branch, which is crucial for deploying to Vercel.
     

  • Build and Environment Variables: Define environment variables required for your project, such as API keys or configuration settings. This is important when deploying to Vercel.
     

  • Production Deployment: Choose whether you want to create a preview deployment for each pull request (useful for testing changes before merging) and whether you want to deploy to production immediately after merging changes into your production branch. This choice is significant when deploying to Vercel.

vercel deployment

Step 5: Deploy your website to Vercel

Once you've configured your deployment settings, Vercel will take care of the rest. It will clone your Git repository, install dependencies, and build your project. This process may take a few moments, depending on the size and complexity of your project, which are all relevant when deploying to Vercel.
 

Once the deployment is complete, Vercel will provide you with a unique URL where your website is live. 

Step 6: Custom domain configuration 

Vercel allows you to associate a custom domain with your deployed website, giving it a more professional and branded appearance. To do this, follow these steps when deploying to Vercel:

  • Go to your Vercel project dashboard.
     

  • Select the project you just deployed.
     

  • In the project settings, click on "Domains".
     

  • Click the "Add Domain" button and follow the on-screen instructions to configure your custom domain for deploying to Vercel.

Once configured, Vercel will automatically handle the SSL certificate, ensuring that your website is served securely over HTTPS, a crucial step when deploying to Vercel.

Step 7: Continuous deployment 

One of the great features of Vercel is its support for continuous deployment. This means that whenever you push changes to your Git repository, Vercel will automatically detect them and trigger a new deployment. This is a fantastic time-saver for updating your website without manual intervention, a significant advantage when deploying to Vercel.
 

Read: Exploring The Key Vercel Features And Their Benefits

Best Practices for Deploying to Vercel 

Deploying to Vercel is a straightforward process, but some lesser-discussed best practices can help you optimize your deployment and enhance your overall experience. Here are a few of these valuable practices:

Optimize image and asset sizes

While deploying to Vercel, ensure your images and assets are optimized for faster loading times. Compress images without compromising quality and consider using tools like sharp for Node.js to reduce file sizes. This can significantly improve user experience.

Set up redirects and rewrites

Properly configure redirects and rewrites in your vercel.json or now.json file. This helps manage URL changes, legacy URLs, and SEO by ensuring clean and consistent URLs.

Implement caching strategies

When deploying to Vercel, use cache headers to specify which resources should be cached and for how long. Effective caching can reduce server load and improve website speed, enhancing user experience.

Custom headers and security headers

Customize HTTP response headers to improve security and performance. Implement security headers like Content Security Policy (CSP) and HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) to protect your site from attacks.

Documentation and collaboration

While deploying to Vercel, maintain comprehensive documentation for your project, including deployment processes, environment variables, and configuration settings. Collaborate effectively by inviting team members to your Vercel project for seamless development and deployment workflows.


Implementing these best practices when deploying to Vercel will help you create a high-performance, secure, well-documented website or web application while streamlining collaboration within your team.


Read: Vercel CMS: A Comprehensive Guide To Deploy Hooks

how to deploy a website

Conclusion

Deploying to Vercel is very straightforward, and with Vercel's user-friendly platform and these step-by-step instructions, you can have your website live on the internet in no time.
 

Remember that Vercel offers a variety of advanced features and options to enhance your website's performance, security, and functionality. As you gain more experience, you can further explore these options to improve your web projects.
 

So, whether you're launching a personal blog, showcasing your portfolio, or creating the next big online platform, Vercel's deployment platform has you covered. 
 

Stay tuned with Kapsys to learn all about Vercel and more!