How to enable Gatsby Incremental Build 2023?

Ok, so we are looking to set our Gatsby site up on Netlify as we are currently on Gatsby Cloud which I assume will be sunset in the not so distant future.

So I’ve set up to sites on our Netlify Pro account one for production one for preview. I’ve been looking at documentation on how to install Gatsby Incremental builds for these sites as currently building the whole site when content changes are made in contentful is not a solution for our Content Editors.

However all the documentation I have come across is out dated and deprecated. So I found a thread on here regarding using the Essential Gatsby Plugin as the solution.

The link to the plugin-gatsby documentation whilst giving you info on how to install it and what it does, mainly related to redirects and headers does not tell you how to set Gatsby Incremental builds up for Netlify. So what I am after is a workflow that is up to date that will walk through the steps to be able to use the incremental builds with Netlify so that when Contentful updates the webhooks only build the entires that have changed.

Is there any current documentation on this?

Many thanks.

Hi @lettie16,

Incremental Builds will wok on Netlify by storing and restoring Gatsby’s cache (using the plugin you’ve found). However, if you’re looking for Gatsby Cloud-level build speeds, that’s not something that will happen (any time soon). Netlify builds are going to remain significantly slower even if it’s an incremental build.

Hi @hrishikesh
Thanks for the response. Seeing as Netlify have bought out Gatsby and the rumours are Gatsby Cloud will be sunset in the not too distant future. What are the plans for Netlify to implement a better experience for content editors with faster preview builds. Waiting several minutes to preview a text change in an entry is a vastly degraded service to what we have already. So prior to sunsetting Gatsby I’d like to know if this is going to be addressed?

In the short term? Unfortunately, not. In the long term, yes, there would be attempts made in that direction, but there are platform limitations that simply can’t be raised without dropping the entire thing and moving to a different solution.

Gatsby Cloud was handling only Gatsby deploys. Netlify is framework-agonistic. Thus, the approach these two systems used to handle site builds is totally different. The underlying primitives and infrastructure is different. If you’re expecting this to change before Gatsby Cloud is gone, sorry to say that’s not going to happen.

Yikes. Huge blow to Gatsby Cloud customers. The incremental build speed was exactly why we switched from Netlify to Gatsby Cloud in the first place. It’s really unfortunate to be forced to migrate while simultaneously introducing a huge regression in performance and experience.


I’m with you here. We moved from Netlify to Gatsby specifically for this feature years ago and losing this is a really significant blow for us. I’d really love to see this functionality work it’s way back into Netlify

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Ultimately, we had to make the extremely difficult decision not to pursue implementing incremental builds, data update builds, or slices into the Netlify platform. This decision was not made lightly, as we know that fast build times are something that many customers have come to rely on. From a purely business standpoint, we were not able to identify paths for including this functionality that were sustainable in the long term.

While these features won’t be available on Netlify in the same way they were on Gatsby Cloud, that isn’t to say Netlify doesn’t support any of the benefits provided to you by the Gatsby Framework. Ensuring that you have the Essential Gatsby Plugin installed helps to improve build speeds on Netlify by maintaining the .cache and /public folders between each build.

There is full support for Build Hooks, which provide you with the ability to trigger a build as a result of an event in the CMS, as well as prebuilt integrations with many popular CMS platforms. I again apologize for any inconvenience caused by this lack of functionality, but we’d also love to help your team explore each of the additional features you’ll get when building on Netlify.

This is a real step back from the Gatsby Cloud experience. And you still have misleading information online making customers believe you are supporting incremental builds:

Enable Gatsby Incremental Builds on Netlify Updated Sept. 2023

As a matter of fact, we still do. The feature itself is supported. Does it work as fast as it used to work on Gatsby Cloud? No. Can we bring that speed here? No. Is there a solution? Yes. You can use Netlify Create. Here’s an example repo: Hrishikesh-K/create-contentful-gatsby (