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Adding an Asset Prefix

Gatsby produces static content that can be hosted anywhere at scale in a cost-effective manner. This static content is comprised of HTML files, JavaScript, CSS, images, and more that power your great Gatsby application.

In some circumstances you may want to deploy assets (non-HTML resources such as JavaScript, CSS, etc.) to a separate domain. Typically this is when you’re required to use a dedicated CDN for assets or need to follow company-specific hosting policies.

This assetPrefix functionality is available starting in gatsby@2.4.0, so that you can seamlessly use Gatsby with assets hosted from a separate domain. To use this functionality, ensure that your version of gatsby specified in package.json is at least 2.4.0.

Usage

Adding to gatsby-config.js

gatsby-config.js
module.exports = {
assetPrefix: `https://cdn.example.com`,
}

One more step - when you build out this application, you need to add a flag so that Gatsby picks up this option.

The --prefix-paths flag

When building with an assetPrefix, you require a --prefix-paths flag. If this flag is not specified, the build will ignore this option, and build out content as if it was hosted on the same domain. To ensure you build out successfully, use the following command:

gatsby build --prefix-paths

That’s it! You have an application that is ready to have its assets deployed from a CDN and its core files (e.g. HTML files) can be hosted on a separate domain.

Building / Deploying

Once your application is built out, all assets will be automatically prefixed by this asset prefix. For example, if you have a JavaScript file app-common-1234.js, the script tag will look something like:

<script src="https://cdn.example.com/app-common-1234.js"></script>

However - if you were to deploy your application as-is, those assets would not be available! You can do this in a few ways, but the general approach will be to deploy the contents of the public folder to both your core domain, and the CDN/asset prefix location.

Using onPostBuild

You expose an onPostBuild API hook. This can be used to deploy your content to the CDN, like so:

gatsby-node.js
const assetsDirectory = `public`
exports.onPostBuild = async function onPostBuild() {
// do something with public
// e.g. upload to S3
}

Using package.json scripts

Additionally, you can use an npm script, which will let you use some command line interfaces/executables to perform some action, in this case, deploying your assets directory!

In this example, the aws-cli and s3 is used to sync the public folder (containing all the assets) to the s3 bucket.

package.json
{
"scripts": {
"build": "gatsby build --prefix-paths",
"postbuild": "aws s3 sync public s3://mybucket"
}
}

Now whenever the build script is invoked, e.g. npm run build, the postbuild script will be invoked after the build completes, therefore making your assets available on a separate domain after you have finished building out your application with prefixed assets.

Additional Considerations

Usage with pathPrefix

The pathPrefix feature can be thought of as semi-related to this feature. That feature allows all your website content to be prefixed with some constant prefix, for example you may want your blog to be hosted from /blog rather than the project root.

This feature works seamlessly with pathPrefix. Build out your application with the --prefix-paths flag and you’ll be well on your way to hosting an application with its assets hosted on a CDN, and its core functionality available behind a path prefix.

Usage with gatsby-plugin-offline

When using a custom asset prefix with gatsby-plugin-offline, your assets can still be cached offline. However, to ensure the plugin works correctly, there are a few things you need to do.

  1. Your asset server needs to have the Access-Control-Allow-Origin header set either to * or your site’s origin.

  2. Certain essential resources need to be available on your content server (i.e. the one used to serve pages). This includes sw.js, as well as resources to precache: the Webpack bundle, the app bundle, the manifest (and any icons referenced), and the resources for the offline plugin app shell.

    You can find most of these by looking for the self.__precacheManifest variable in your generated sw.js. Remember to also include sw.js itself, and any icons referenced in your manifest.webmanifest if you have one. To check your service worker is functioning as expected, look in Application → Service Workers in your browser dev tools, and check for any failed resources in the Console/Network tabs.


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