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The benefits of building a serverless website with Contentful and Gatsby

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Published:September 8, 2021
Last Modified:July 20, 2022

Enterprise firms can easily understand the advantages of switching to a headless CMS or decoupled architecture, but now this advantage is more readily accessible to growing businesses.

Tragic Media first started building decoupled websites in 2017. Since then, we’ve researched countless solutions, and implemented a few different ones for our brand and for our clients.

Lately, we’ve talked a lot about why monolithic content management systems (CMS) are being replaced by serverless ones, so we wanted to highlight our favorite way to build serverless content managed websites! In this article, we’ll discuss our favorite serverless platforms, Gatsby and Contentful, their benefits for our clients, and how they’ve made design and development easier at Tragic..

What is GatsbyJS

GatbsyJS is a React-based and open-source framework that makes building, deploying, and hosting websites fast and easy.

The progressive web app generator compiles your site into static assets, allowing you to deploy directly to a content delivery network (CDN) or to cloud file storage in the host of your choice. Once loaded in the browser, the asset is rehydrated into a React application or a decoupled website. A decoupled website separates the front-end and back-end into different entities. You can make the frontend of a decoupled website completely serverless using Gatsby and deploying to a CDN or Cloud File system. By leveraging a SaaS CMS like Contentful, you can then serve a fully content managed website without a server.

One of the key features that make Gatsby flexible and applicable to all devices is its “cloud mesh.” Gatsby’s mesh offers the best in-class solutions like Contentful, Stripe, Algolia, and Cloudinary, eliminating siloed data sourcing. Instead of learning new stacks between projects, developers can string together the pieces they need into a fully cohesive user experience.

What can you build with GatsbyJS?

Some examples of what you can build with GatsbyJS are:

  • Static websites
  • PWA (Progressive Web Apps)
  • Business pages
  • Jamstack websites
  • Headless eCommerce platforms
  • Marketing page

Build something cool and stop worrying about it. - Jason Lengstorf, Head of DevRel at Gatsby

Why we love GatsbyJS

Tragic Media loves GatsbyJS because it is:

  • A leader in the (development/web design) space
  • Intricately documented
  • Future-proof
  • React-based
  • Easy to adopt
  • Super fast (to start, to develop, to deploy)
  • Fun to develop with

What is Contentful

Contentful is an API-driven CMS that simplifies managing, integrating and delivering content for digital experiences. It separates content from code and uses the cloud to centralize functionality into individual components that can scale.

Developers get to focus on quickly building and iterating on the features that matter to them, while offloading the devops – such as server availability and horizontal scaling – to cloud providers. - Tragic Media

With Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a cloud host, data on the platform can be accessed anytime and anywhere, making a flexible, adaptable, and reusable solution for almost any development team.

What content can you manage with Contentful?

Forms of content you can build with Contentful are:

  • Media
    • Videos
    • Music
    • Images
  • Text
  • Code
  • Structured documents

Why we love Contentful

Our team at Tragic Media loves Contentful because it is:

  • Fluid across all services and devices (Microservices, Cloud service, modular)
  • Leader in the space
  • Outstanding administrator experience
  • Growing fast and strongly backed
  • Scales seamlessly as you grow content
  • Fully modular and unopinionated
  • Allows you to reference content from within different spaces, empowering advanced capabilities for large marketing teams
  • GraphQL API

Key benefits of going serverless with Contentful + Gatsby

Lower Cost

With Gatsby and Contentful, you save on support costs. Because it is a software-as-a-service (SaaS), Contentful has no security updates or new system versions. Not only do you save on hosting, expenses for backend and frontend hosting are minimal when compared to traditional servers, but more importantly all of your budget can be focused on feature development.

No more security patches, version updates, or server management. All of your budget can be focused on feature development

Some of our smaller clients that were paying $50 for a Virtual Private Server (VPS) are now paying five dollars a month. If your budget is really thin, Contentful offers a free tier with 48 content types, up to 25,000 records, and up to 2 mil API calls per month. This is a perfect fit for small businesses and startups, while growing businesses are comfortable in their $30/mo plan.

More Secure

Contentful: Security is no longer an ongoing battle because it handles all of your back-end and server security, maintenance, and system updates.

Gatsby: As a progressive web application generator, Gatsby compiles your site into flat files, as opposed to app servers and databases, reducing the attack surface of your site to potential hackers. Additionally, Gatsby obscures the location of admin dashboards so that the bad guys can’t find it.

Improved User Experience

Gatsby: Static sites are lightning fast, providing a great loading experience on mobile / slow networks. Take a look for yourself.

Contentful: A truely modern CMS. Contentful offers a great admin design, flexible content modeling, and many advanced features for your content team.

Better SEO

Gatsby: Because of its faster performance, static sites produce exponentially better in Lighthouse and Core Web Vitals.

Contentful: Contentful offers SEO options depending on need, including guardrails to prevent missing keywords or an overabundance of characters.


Whether you are a small startup or a growing enterprise brand, you can benefit from the serverless architecture of a Contenful and Gatsby website. Startups are able to save on cost, maximize security, and start with an infrastructure that scales. Enterprise firms can benefit from Contentful’s security compliance and decoupled content hub easily letting you repurpose content across multiple digital channels. And everybody can benefit from the insane speed and low cost of a modern serverless architecture.

Have questions about serverless? Contact Tragic and let our expert team help you navigate the world of serverless hosting and SaaS CMS platforms.


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