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The Nimbella add-on for Netlify is a Netlify Build Plugin that extends Netlify Sites with portable and stateful serverless functions using Nimbella. The add-on enables developers to deploy sites to Netlify's CDN, or to use Netlify as a proxy to sites hosted on other clouds. With this plugin, developers can build APIs using serverless functions that can be hosted on a cloud of their choice using the Nimbella portable serverless cloud.

The Nimbella add-on provides the following benefits.

  1. More runtimes: implement APIs in numerous languages including Python, Rust, Swift, Ruby, PHP, Java, Go, Node, and Deno. You can even use Docker containers.
  2. Resource customization: run APIs for longer durations, and with more memory.
  3. Integrated key-value and object stores: build stateful APIs, and handle images or files with no additional resources to provision.
  4. Easier packaging: skip the hassles of web packing and working with dependencies.
  5. Cloud portability: repeatable deployments that work across clouds.

Learn more about the Nimbella add-on for Netlify on our website.

Add-On Setup

  • Netlify Build Plugins are not available on the legacy "Ubuntu Trusty 14.04" build image. Update your Netlify build image to "Ubuntu Xenial 16.04".
  • Node 12 or newer is required. You can set a Netlify Build environment variable to request a compatible Node runtime. For example set variable NODE_VERSION to 14.

New to Nimbella

Add the Nimbella add-on for Netlify to connect your Netlify site to Nimbella. You can do this in two ways: from the Netlify Site UI or from your terminal.

  • Netlify UI: Select Plugins from your Site management toolbar, and search for Nimbella in the "plugin directory" and click "Install".

  • Command Line: Run the following command from the base of your local project directory which is linked to your Netlify site.

netlify addons:create nimbella

The add-on will create a Nimbella namespace where your resources are allocated. Your Nimbella namespace includes your serverless APIs, a dedicated key-value store, and access to an integrated object store.

Existing Nimbella Developer

You can use the Nimbella add-on for Netlify with your existing Nimbella account. This is accomplished by creating a Netlify Build environment variable so the plugin can deploy the resources to the Nimbella namespace of your choosing.

  1. Use the Nimbella CLI nim or the Nimbella Workbench to export a login token. If you want to sign up for a free Nimbella account or to login, visit to get started.
nim auth export --non-expiring
  1. Next, create a Build environment variable named NIMBELLA_LOGIN_TOKEN and provide the token you just obtained as its value. You may do this from the Netlify Build UI or run the following command in your terminal netlify env:set NIMBELLA_LOGIN_TOKEN <token>.

You can optional set another Build environment variable NIMBELLA_API_HOST to indicate which Nimbella cloud you are using.

Minimal Netlify TOML Configuration

Once your add-on is configured, you can start using it by appending the section below to your netlify.toml file.

package = "netlify-plugin-nimbella"

You may provide additional configuration in the netlify.toml file. The plugin input configuration is optional, however you will want to at least set the API path to avoid CORS issues between the frontend and backend components of your cloud application.

package = "netlify-plugin-nimbella"

path    = "/api"   # The prefix path to access your deployed packages.
web     = false    # Deploy frontend and proxy domain to Nimbella (allowed values are true or false).
env     = []       # Environment variables to export to serverless APIs.

Understanding your Nimbella Project

The Nimbella add-on for Netlify allows you to use Nimbella projects to automate packaging and deployment. We suggest reading the documentation about Nimbella projects at some point. We provide a quick introduction here.

Nimbella projects inspect a directory named packages at the base of your repository. The contents of this directory dictate the serverless APIs that are deployed. The plugin will automatically deploy each API inside the packages directory. We use the term action to be synonymous with serverless API (or serverless function). Each API can accessed using the following pattern:<path(default="api")>/<packageName>/<actionName>.

For example, for the following project structure:

├── netlify.toml
├── packages
│   ├── auth
│   │   ├── login
│   │   │   └── index.js
│   │   └── logout.js
│   └── todos
│       ├──
│       ├── delete.php
│       ├── list.go
│       └── update.swift
└── web
    └── index.html

The APIs are auth/login, auth/logout, todos/create, and so on. An API may be a single file, or built from a set of files within an enclosing directory. You may mix languages, and deploy functions as source, without even building languages that require compilation. To API end point for any of the actions is constructed in the same way. For example the serverless API implemented by auth/login/index.js is invoked with the REST end point

Your Nimbella project may also include a web folder which can be deployed to the Nimbella cloud as well. The web folder represents the frontend assets for your projects (e.g., HTML, CSS, JavaScript). In a typical deployment of a Nimbella project using Netlify, you will use the Netlify CDN to serve your web assets.

There are however some use-cases where you want to deploy the entire project to Nimbella, and proxy to your Nimbella domain from your Netlify site. A motivation for doing this is to use a custom domain name and automatically managed SSL certificate but host your project entirely on a cloud of your choice otherwise.

To do this, you need to enable the deployment of the web portion of your project by setting an option web = true in the plugins.inputs section of your netlify.toml file.

# Deploy the web folder and proxy your site entirely to your Nimbella deployment.
web = true

Cleaning your Nimbella Namespace

The Nimbella project configuration (project.yml) allows for cleaning your namespace, or deployed API package. See the documentation for more details on sanitizing the namespace between deployments.

Exporting Environment Variables to Serverless APIs

If your serverless APIs require environment variables, you have to export the variables explicitly in the plugins.inputs section of the netlify.toml file. This is to avoid exporting the entire environment to your APIs, and instead selecting exporting only the variables the actions need access to.

# Export specified environment variables to the serverless APIs
envs = ['ENV_ONE', 'ENV_TWO']

Deploying Netlify Functions as Nimbella APIs

The plugin supports deploying your existing Netlify functions as Nimbella APIs. The plugin will automatically build your Netlify functions, and then deploy each function as an API.

Functions implemented in Node.js are deployed using Nimbella's AWS Lambda compatibility runtime so that you may not need to make any changes to your code. This will not always work. So if you encounter issues, please let us know.

If your functions directory contains files that are not in Node.js, the plugin will attempt to deploy those functions as well.

You can enable this feature by setting the plugins.inputs properties as illustrated below.

# Specify the path containing your Netlify functions
functions = 'functions'
timeout = 3000 # (optional) max duration in milliseconds
timeout = 512  # (optional) max amount of memory per function

Example Projects

These are few sites that use netlify-plugin-nimbella to deploy frontend content to Netlify and functions on Nimbella.

Look at netlify.toml of these repositories to get an idea on how the plugin is used.


We welcome your feedback, and we are happy to help you with any issues you encounter. You may want to join our Slack community to engage with us for a more rapid response. Otherwise, open an issue and provide us with details about your situation so we can respond adequately.


Apache-2.0. See LICENSE to learn more.

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