Build serverless functions with JavaScript

To add a serverless Lambda function to your project, create a JavaScript file in your configured functions directory. The file can be stored directly under the functions directory or in a subdirectory dedicated to the function. The function endpoint is determined by its filename or the name of its dedicated parent directory.

For example, with a configured functions directory of my_functions, and a target function endpoint name of hello, you could save the function file in one of the following ways:

  • my_functions/hello.js
  • my_functions/hello/hello.js
  • my_functions/hello/index.js

Any of the above formats would deploy a serverless function that can be called on the following endpoint, relative to the base URL of your site: /.netlify/functions/hello.

Reserved names for event-driven functions

Certain function names are reserved as triggers initiated by various built-in events on your Netlify site. You can find a list of these function names and how they work on the page about event-driven functions.


Each JavaScript file to be deployed as a serverless Lambda function must export a handler method with the following general syntax:

exports.handler = function(event, context, callback) {
    // your server-side functionality

Netlify provides the event and context parameters when the serverless function is invoked. You provide the callback parameter, which is optional, but recommended.

When you call a serverless function’s endpoint, the handler receives an event object similar to what you would receive from the AWS API Gateway:

    "path": "Path parameter",
    "httpMethod": "Incoming request's method name"
    "headers": {Incoming request headers}
    "queryStringParameters": {query string parameters }
    "body": "A JSON string of the request payload."
    "isBase64Encoded": "A boolean flag to indicate if the applicable request payload is Base64-encode"

The context parameter includes information about the context in which the serverless function was called, like certain Identity user information, for example.

The callback works much like the same parameter in an AWS Lambda function. Your handler should use the callback to return either an error (as the first parameter) or a response object, such as:

    "isBase64Encoded": true|false,
    "statusCode": httpStatusCode,
    "headers": { "headerName": "headerValue", ... },
    "body": "..."

Here’s a simple example serverless function, hello.js:

exports.handler = function(event, context, callback) {
    callback(null, {
    statusCode: 200,
    body: "Hello, World"

This serverless function would be called from your site at /.netlify/functions/hello, and on success, would return the 200 status code and the string, “Hello, World”.

Runtime settings

For all sites created on or after December 4, 2019, Netlify uses Node.js 12 as the default runtime for serverless functions written in JavaScript.

You can specify a different runtime version with an environment variable in the Netlify UI. For example, to use Node.js 10 for all future serverless functions deployed, set the variable AWS_LAMBDA_JS_RUNTIME with the value nodejs10.x.

This variable accepts any valid AWS Lambda runtime name for JavaScript.

Deploy to apply changes

Environment variables and runtime settings are applied to functions at deploy time. Always re-deploy your functions to apply new settings.

Deprecation notice

Sites created before December 4, 2019 use the Node.js 8 function runtime by default.

Node.js 8 reaches end of life on December 31, 2019, and AWS Lambda discontinues support for new functions using Node.js 8 on January 6, 2020. At that time, all sites not explicitly set to Node.js 10 or above will use the default Node.js 12 version for all deploys of new or updated functions. Previously deployed functions will continue to operate with the runtime set at the time of deployment.


We’ve made a few tools to help with writing, testing, and deploying your serverless JavaScript functions on Netlify:

  • Netlify Dev – Netlify CLI includes tools for local function development and streamlined deployment.
  • netlify-lambda – An optional build tool for Netlify Functions. The repository README includes a comparison between Netlify Dev and netlify-lambda.