Travis Horn
Travis Horn

Travis Horn

Build & Deploy Serverless Functions in 5 Minutes

Build & Deploy Serverless Functions in 5 Minutes

Travis Horn's photo
Travis Horn

Published on Aug 13, 2019

2 min read

The serverless method promises to take away the hassle of managing servers so you can focus on development. But what does it take to actually get started?

While this article is not sponsored by Netlify, I’ll be using their platform heavily because I find it so much easier to get started versus some of the other available options.

I created a similar tutorial a while back. Since then, Netlify has released some tools that make it even easier to start building serverless lambda functions.

To begin, create a new repository on GitHub.

Clone the repository to your development machine, change into the directory, and initialize a new npm package.

git clone [[your]([your) name]/[your repo].git
cd [your repo]
npm init -y

We’re getting ready to install some Node modules, which don’t need to be tracked under version control. Tell git to ignore them by adding a file called .gitignore with this single line:


Now install the Netlify CLI.

npm install --development netlify-cli

Create a new directory called functions/ and create a file called hello-world.js inside.

exports.handler = (event, context, callback) => {
  callback(null, {
    statusCode: 200,
    body: JSON.stringify({
      "message": "Hello, World!"

Back out in the project root directory, the last file we’ll add is netlify.toml which we can use to tell Netlify where our serverless functions are located.

  functions = "functions/"

We’re ready to run it locally.

npx netlify dev

Our function can be triggered by going to http://localhost:8888/.netlify/functions/hello-world

The server responds with a status of 200 and body:

{"message":"Hello, World!"}

Ready to deploy?

Stage, commit, and push the code changes.

git add .
git commit -m "Add serverless function"
git push

Connect your repository to Netlify by going to and clicking the New site from git button. Select GitHub, then select your repository. Finally, press the Deploy site button.

Your serverless function is online at https://[sitename]


When you have npx netlify dev running and you modify the function’s code, it will automatically re-build and be available the next time you hit the function’s URL.

When you git push to GitHub, Netlify automatically picks up the changes and re-deploys your live site.

To add another function, simply add another file in the functions/ directory.

To access query string parameters in your function, look at event.queryStringParameters. For example if you hit /hello-world?id=1, then will equal 1.

To access the request body, look at event.body.

There’s so much more to cover on this topic. But hopefully you learned a quick way to get started easily.

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