Conditional Page Builds

If you have a large site, you may be able to improve build times for data updates by enabling an experimental feature called “conditional page builds”. While this is not as fast as true Incremental Builds available in Gatsby Cloud, it can save time on the HTML-generation step by not re-rendering HTML for pages with unchanged data. This feature is experimental, but may improve build times for sites with a large number of complex pages. Test it thoroughly with your site before deploying to production.

For more info on the standard build process, please see the overview of the Gatsby build process.

❗ Conditional page builds do not currently account for static queries. Any query result differences will not trigger pages to rebuild.

How to use

To enable conditional page builds, use the environment variable GATSBY_EXPERIMENTAL_PAGE_BUILD_ON_DATA_CHANGES=true in your gatsby build command, for example:


This will run the Gatsby build process, but only build pages that have data changes since your last build. If there are any changes to code (JS, CSS) the bundling process returns a new webpack compilation hash which causes all pages to be rebuilt.

Reporting what has been built

You may want to retrieve a list of the pages that were built. For example, if you want to perform a sync action in your CI/CD pipeline.

To list the paths in the build assets (public) folder, you can use one (or both) of the following arguments in your build command.

  • --log-pages parameter will output all the file paths that were updated or deleted at the end of the build stage.
  • --write-to-file creates two files in the .cache folder, with lists of the changed paths in the build assets (public) folder.

    • newPages.txt will contain a list of new or changed paths
    • deletedPages.txt will contain a list of deleted paths

More information

  • This feature works by comparing the page data from the previous build to the new page data. This creates a list of page directories that are passed to the static build process.

  • To enable this build option you will need to set an environment variable, which requires access to do so in your build environment.

  • This feature is not available with gatsby develop.

  • You should not try to use this flag alongside Incremental Builds in Gatsby Cloud, as it uses a different process and may conflict with it.

  • You will need to persist the .cache and public directories between builds. This allows for comparisons and reuse of previously built files. If .cache directory was not persisted then a full build will be triggered. If public directory was not persisted then you might experience failing builds or builds that are missing certain assets.

  • Any code changes (templates, components, source handling, new plugins etc) will prompt the creation of a new webpack compilation hash and trigger a full build.

Note: When using the GATSBY_EXPERIMENTAL_PAGE_BUILD_ON_DATA_CHANGES flag it is important to do so consistently when building your project. Otherwise, the cache will be cleared and the necessary data for comparison will no longer be available, removing the ability to check for incremental data changes.