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How To Add Netlify Redirects To A Gatsby Site

Either choose the Netlify-like way via _redirects file or stick with the Gatsby approach which uses the createRedirect action.

Konstantin Münster Avatar
Konstantin Münster
23 December 2019
5 min read
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How To Add Netlify Redirects To A Gatsby Site
Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

Hosting your Gatsby site with Netlify is a perfect pairing. The whole development workflow gets so smooth using both. However, redirects, for instance, don’t work out of the box yet, or at least not the way you would expect it to work. Therefore, this article should show you two ways how you can add redirects to your Gatsby site hosted on Netlify.

Option 1 Adding redirects via _redirects file

Option 2 Adding redirects via createRedirect action

Which one you choose is up to you, whatever you prefer. However, since both don’t work out of the box in Gatsby, we, first of all, have to install a plugin called gatsby-plugin-netlify. It is an official Gatsby plugin and will handle the redirects we set up during the build process. You can check the link for more information. To install the plugin, use the following command: npm install gatsby-plugin-netlify

After the installation has finished, don’t forget to add the plugin to your gatsby-config.js file. Simply add `gatsby-plugin-netlify` to your array of plugins. Having that done, you are ready to start with one of the options.

Option 1 — Adding redirects via _redirects file

Make sure you have installed gatsby-plugin-netlify (see here)

The first option we have is to add redirects via a _redirects file. If you have worked with Netlify before, this is most likely familiar to you. It is the most common way to handle redirects with Netlify. Usually, you would add this file to your build directory. But since Gatsby creates this directory dynamically during the build, there is no way of putting anything in it before.

To bypass this problem, we can use the static folder Gatsby offers. Everything we put into that folder will be copied into our build directory during the build. Therefore, we can create a _redirects file, place it in the static folder, and the previously installed plugin will handle everything else. So, what we need to do is the following:

  1. If you haven’t done yet, create a folder named static at the root of your Gatsby site (so directly next to the src folder).
  2. In the static folder, create a file named _redirects
  3. In the _redirects file, you can write all of your redirects. These redirects should follow the redirect syntax Netlify uses. You can check if your redirects are correct on the Netlify playground.
  4. Deploy your project to Netlify and enjoy your redirects!


A common use-case for redirects on Netlify is forwarding all visitors from your default Netlify subdomain to your custom primary domain. If you would like to do something like that, your _redirects file should look like this:

# Redirect default Netlify subdomain to primary domain
https://yoursubdomain.netlify.com/* https://www.yourcustomdomain.com/:splat 301!

Option 2 — Adding redirects via createRedirect action

Make sure you have installed _gatsby-plugin-netlify_ (see here)

Typically in Gatsby, client-side redirects are created via the createRedirect action during the build process. But with our previously installed plugin, we can use that same action to create server-side redirects too. Hence, you can use the same Gatsby-like syntax to create Netlify redirects.

To start creating redirects, we need to do the following:

  1. Navigate to your gatsby-node.js file. Code in here is run once in the process of building and hence a perfect place for creating our redirects.
  2. Generally you create redirects while creating pages. Therefore, we must first call the createPages action inside the gatsby-node.js file with exports.createPages = ({ actions }) => {}
  3. Inside the createPages function, we can then destruct the actions argument and thus access the createRedirect method.
  4. By using the createRedirect method, we can finally create redirects!


What may sound complicated is actually pretty straightforward. Let’s stick to the example we already used in option 1. There, we created a redirect to forward all visitors from our default Netlify subdomain to our custom primary domain. We want to do the same with the createRedirect action now.

exports.createPages = ({ actions }) => {
  const { createRedirect } = actions;
    fromPath: 'https://yoursubdomain.netlify.com/*',
    toPath: 'https://www.yourcustomdomain.com/:splat',
    isPermanent: true,
    force: true,

As you see, we can access the createRedirect method inside the createPages action. The createRedirect method takes an object as an argument with the following properties:

  • fromPath : The old URL to redirect from
  • toPath : The new URL to redirect to
  • isPermanent : Sets the status code to 301
  • force : A Netlify-specific property which we need here in order to create a domain alias redirect

If you like to dive deeper, the createRedirect action has a couple more properties that you can check out in the Gatsby docs.

In conclusion, Netlify redirects in Gatsby don’t work out of the box yet but are straightforward to implement anyways. You can either choose the Netlify-like way via a _redirects file or stick with the Gatsby approach which makes use of the createRedirect action in gatsby-node.js.

I hope this brief tutorial has helped you and you could follow along. If you have any further questions or found some mistakes, please let me know!