Create a Next.js App with Contentful and Deploy It with Vercel

Deploy your Next.js and Contentful app with Vercel in a serverless environment.

In this guide, you will discover how to create a Next.js app that displays links to posts from the Vercel blog by utilizing the Contentful client, before deploying with a single command to Vercel.

Next.js from Vercel is a production-ready framework that helps you create fast React apps. Contentful is a powerful headless CMS that allows you to rapidly create, manage and distribute content to any platform you like.

By following this guide, you will create a clone of the example app, a starting point to get you up and running with your own Next.js + Contentful app in minutes.

Step 1: Create your Contentful Content

From your Contentful dashboard, create a new space. Head to the Content Model section and create a new Content Type called Post by clicking the Add content type button.

Creating a Content Model for your Next.js + Contentful project using the Contentful dashboard.

Add the following fields to your Content Model, all of type Short Text, by clicking the Add field button:

  • title
  • date
  • alt
  • image
  • url

Your Post Content Model should look like this:

An example Content Model for your Next.js + Contentful project.

Next, using the Content tab, click the Add Post button to create a post, providing the relevant details.

That's it for setting up you content structure! You can edit both the Content and Content Model at any time, giving you complete flexibility over your content.

Next, you will create a set of API keys for use in your app, this will allow you to connect to the Contentful Client to request your posts.

Step 2: Creating API keys

Click the Settings tab and choose the API Keys option, then click the Add API Key button.

Note: Use separate keys for each platform you need to deliver content to.

With the keys created, make a note of both the Space ID and the Content Delivery API - access token, these will be used later on. The Content Delivery API access token is a read-only token and can be used safely in your frontend applications.

That's all the setup required for Contentful, within just a few minutes you have managed to create a Content Model, add content and generate a set of API keys.

In the next step, you will create your Next.js app.

Step 3: Creating your Next.js App

Firstly, create a project directory and cd into it like so:

mkdir my-nextjs-contentful-project && cd my-nextjs-contentful-project

Creating and entering into the project directory.

Next, initialize your project, creating a package.json file in the process:

npm init -y

Initializing your project with a package.json file.

Note: Using the -y flag will initialize the created package.json file with these default settings.

Next, add the project dependencies:

npm i contentful next react react-dom

Adding contentful, next, react and react-dom as dependencies to your project.

With the project initialized, create a /pages directory with a index.js file inside that uses the following code:

import { useEffect, useState } from 'react'
import Head from 'next/head'
import Post from '../components/post'

const client = require('contentful').createClient({
  space: process.env.SPACE_ID,
  accessToken: process.env.ACCESS_TOKEN
})

function HomePage() {
  async function fetchEntries() {
    const entries = await client.getEntries()
    if (entries.items) return entries.items
    console.log(`Error getting Entries for ${contentType.name}.`)
  }

  const [posts, setPosts] = useState([])

  useEffect(() => {
    async function getPosts() {
      const allPosts = await fetchEntries()
      setPosts([...allPosts])
    }
    getPosts()
  }, [])

  return (
    <>
      <Head>
        <title>Next.js + Contentful</title>
        <link
          rel="stylesheet"
          href="https://css.zeit.sh/v1.css"
          type="text/css"
        />
      </Head>
      {posts.length > 0
        ? posts.map(p => (
            <Post
              alt={p.fields.alt}
              date={p.fields.date}
              key={p.fields.title}
              image={p.fields.image}
              title={p.fields.title}
              url={p.fields.url}
            />
          ))
        : null}
    </>
  )
}

export default HomePage

An example index.js page for your Next.js + Contentful project.

Let's take look at what this file achieves.

Firstly, it requires the contentful dependency and creates a client, this provides access to many useful helper methods for retrieving content from Contentful.

Inside the HomePage function, two asynchronous functions are defined, these are then called in the useEffect hook to retrieve the posts on initial load.

With the posts retrieved, they are then mapped over to be displayed with a <Post> component that you will create next.

Create a /components directory that contains a post.js file with the following content:

function Post({ alt, date, image, title, url }) {
  return (
    <div className="container">
      <a href={url}>
        <img alt={alt} src={image} />
      </a>
      <div className="text">
        <h2>{title}</h2>
        <h4>{date}</h4>
      </div>
      <style jsx>{`
        .container {
          cursor: pointer;
          height: 453px;
          margin-bottom: 48px;
        }
        a {
          border-bottom: none;
        }
        a:hover {
          border-bottom: none;
        }
        .text {
          margin-top: -160px;
          padding: 24px;
          position: absolute;
        }
        h2 {
          color: white;
          font-size: 24px;
          margin-bottom: 0;
        }
        h4 {
          color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.8);
          font-size: 16px;
          font-weight: 500;
          margin-top: 8px;
        }
      `}</style>
    </div>
  )
}

export default Post

An example post.js component for your Next.js + Contentful project.

Now that your page and component files have been created, the next step will show you how to add an environment variable to the project.

Step 4: Adding Environment Variables

Add a vercel.json file at the root of your project directory with the following code:

{
  "build": {
    "env": {
      "CONTENTFUL_SPACE_ID": "@contentful_space_id",
      "CONTENTFUL_ACCESS_TOKEN": "@contentful_access_token"
    }
  }
}

An example vercel.json file for your Next.js + Contentful project.

Now, add the following scripts to your package.json file:

{
  ...
  "scripts": {
    "dev": "next dev",
    "build": "next build"
  }
}

Adding dev and build scripts to your package.json file.

Next, you will make your API keys available to your app during local development by creating a .env.build file.

Create a .env.build file at the root of your project directory with the following code, adding your API keys where instructed:

CONTENTFUL_SPACE_ID=your-space-id
CONTENTFUL_ACCESS_TOKEN=your-access-token

An example .env.build file for your Next.js + Contentful project.

Lastly, to make your API keys available for cloud deployment, create two Secrets with the commands below:

vercel secrets add CONTENTFUL_SPACE_ID your-space-id

Adding the CONTENTFUL_SPACE_ID secret to your project using Secrets.

vercel secrets add CONTENTFUL_ACCESS_TOKEN your-access-token

Adding the CONTENTFUL_ACCESS_TOKEN secret to your project using Secrets.

Step 5: Deploying the App

There are two ways to deploy with Vercel. We recommend using a Vercel for Git Integration for ease-of-use. Alternatively, Vercel CLI can be used to generate a manual Preview Deployment.


To deploy your Next.js + Contentful app with a Vercel for Git Integration, make sure it has been pushed to a Git repository.

Import the project into Vercel using your Git Integration of choice:

After your project has been imported, all subsequent pushes to branches will generate Preview Deployments, and all changes made to the default branch (commonly "master") will result in a Production Deployment.



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Written by mcsdevmcsdev