How to set up a Netlify build using the UI or a config file

Why use a config file

You don’t need a config file. You can configure values in the UI including build command and output directory.

But for repeatable builds (across Netlify accounts or sites) and for keeping the value in version control, a config file in your repo is great. It will override the UI options.

Note that either way you don’t need to specify an install command or caching dependencies - Netlify will do this for you based on the presence of a package file - Gemfile or yarn.lock file for example.


See Netlify’s docs:

Netlify config file

Netlify’s config file is netlify.toml.

It should be at the root of the repo. Indentation should be two spaces. Just push your master branch from your machine or edit on GitHub and a Netlify build will run using your config settings.

For Jekyll, make sure to add it to exclude in your config, to avoid adding it to your _site directory.

  - Makefile
  - netlify.toml

The minimum config two params under [build] as below.

  • command - what shell command to run to build the app (dependencies are already installed by then)
  • publish - which output directory to serve as a site. This directory is usually unversioned in git.

Sample configs


  command = "tool build_cmd"
  publish = "out_dir"

Note you could use ./foo as the publish directory if you want to be more verbose

Jekyll prod build

You can also just run jekyll build.

  command = "bundle exec jekyll build"
  publish = "_site"

  JEKYLL_ENV = "production"

Or simply this, assuming your build command then using a prod environment.

  command = "make build"
  publish = "_site"

Node app

Your output directory might be something than build, such as dist or out. You might also build testing and linting into your build command.

Using NPM.

  command = "npm test && npm run build"
  publish = "build"

Using Yarn.

  command = "yarn test && yarn build"
  publish = "build"


Build command

Use any shell command or commands for the build parameter.


  • jekyll build
  • npm run build && jekyll build
  • ./ && cp foo bar/ && make build


For Node, define tasks in package.json otherwise you can use a Makefile.

It is a good idea to use a make command so that what you run locally to test a prod build and what you run on Netlify are the same. You could even include running unit and integration tests, fetching data and actually doing the build, all in a single command.


$ make build-prod

For a simple Jekyll project, it could be this, using the trace flag for verbose errors.

    JEKYLL_ENV=prod bundle exec jekyll build --trace

Headers format

There is a lot you can specify in the config. Here are some header settings which allows doing cross-origin requests to use JS to get data from an API.

  for = "/*"
    Access-Control-Allow-Origin = "*"


Access-Control-Allow-Origin = ""
Access-Control-Allow-Origin = ["", ""]