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Deploy a Gatsby site with Firebase Functions and Cloud Build

  • avatar
    Shay Kennedy

For a few years I was making all of my client websites on a Gatsby frontend and Firebase backend, with a React component library for inline content editing. This was before Gatsby Cloud, and I ended up writing my own little server to build and deploy the Gatsby sites to Firebase hosting.

Overall it was a pretty great setup and it allowed me to offer clients a fast and secure website that they could edit and publish themselves, with zero hosting costs. For me, the developer experience was pretty great as I liked working in React and having total design freedom, and Firebase offered all the backend infrastructure I needed for those projects.

Then Next.js came along, and Webflow came along, and I decided to move on from Gatsby. But I still had that pesky server hanging around to build the old Gatsby sites, needing to be maintained, costing me money every month.

So I decided to move all the builds to Google Cloud Build. It's pretty straightforward, but it did take a bit of fiddling so I'm documenting it here.

What are we working with here?

For the project this tutorial is based on, it's a Gatsby v2 site with a Firebase backend: I'm using Firestore, Authentication, Functions, and Hosting.

1. Set up a Cloud Build Trigger

You'll need a Google account with billing enabled. The first 2,500 build minutes per month are free, so if even if you're doing a couple builds a day you shouldn't incur any costs.

  • In Google console, enable the Cloud Build API
  • Go to Cloud Build > Triggers and create a new trigger
  • In the form to create the trigger, select "Webhook event" for the Event. You'll need to generate a secret or add your own.
  • Copy the webhook URL preview
  • Connect the repository for your Gatsby site
  • Create a cloudbuild.yaml file. For example:
  - name: node:12.22.12
    entrypoint: yarn
    args: ["install"]
  - name: node:12.22.12
    entrypoint: yarn
    args: ["build"]
  - name: "node:12.22.12"
    entrypoint: "./node_modules/.bin/firebase"
    args: ["deploy", "--project", "$PROJECT_ID", "--token", "$_FIREBASE_TOKEN"]

  • In the Advanced section, add a substitution variable called _FIREBASE_TOKEN and save your Firebase token there - you can generate one with the Firebase CLI command firebase login:ci.
  • Create the trigger!

Create a Firebase function to securely invoke the trigger

  • If you haven't already, install the Firebase CLI (globally) and log in:
npm install -g firebase-tools
firebase login
  • create a directory for your Firebase functions
  • in that directory, run firebase init
    • select functions
    • select existing Firebase project

In the new functions directory that has been created, go into the index.js file and write the function to call the Cloud Build webhook.

This is what my function looks like:

const {onCall, HttpsError} = require("firebase-functions/v2/https");
const {setGlobalOptions} = require("firebase-functions/v2");

const logger = require("firebase-functions/logger");
const {defineString} = require("firebase-functions/params");

const {initializeApp, applicationDefault} = require("firebase-admin/app");
const {getFirestore} = require("firebase-admin/firestore");

const webhookUrl = defineString("WEBHOOK_URL");

const app = initializeApp({
  credential: applicationDefault(),
  projectId: process.env.PROJECT_ID,

exports.triggerBuild = onCall(async (request) => {
  // Checking that the user is authenticated.
  if (!request.auth) {
    throw new HttpsError("failed-precondition", "The function must be " +
            "called while authenticated.");

  try {
    const db = getFirestore(app);
    // Authentication / user information is automatically added to the request.
    const uid = request.auth.uid;
    const doc = db.doc(`/users/${uid}`);
    const user = await doc.get();
    const userData =;

    // Authorization 
    if (!userData.isAdmin) {
      throw new HttpsError("permission-denied", "You do not have " +
        "sufficient permissions to publish the website");

    const url = webhookUrl.value()`URL: ${url}`);

    const res = await fetch(url, {
      method: "POST",
      body: {"data": null},

    return {response: res};
  } catch (error) {
    throw new HttpsError("unknown", error.message, error);

Don't forget to create an .env file at the root of the functions directory with your variables:

WEBHOOK_URL=<the webhook URL from the Cloud Build trigger>
PROJECT_ID=<your Firebase project id>

Deploy your function:

firebase deploy --only functions

You can then head over to your Firebase console to grab the request URL for the function!

Credit goes to Crowdform for their tutorial that got me on the right track: