Next.js vs React.js: 2 Free Choices For Powering Web Apps

What pops into your mind when you see these two images?

Next.js vs. React.js: Exploring the Frameworks

Let’s give a brief intro of what each other is so we can set a ground-base to delve into this.


The Ultimate React Framework for Building Modern Web Applications. It combines the power of React with server-side rendering, simplified routing, and blazing-fast performance.

Next.js enables you to create dynamic and SEO-friendly websites. No matter how rookie you are, Next.js offers an intuitive and feature-rich environment to build scalable UX.


A Frontend Development classic. With its robust component-based architecture, React.js scaffolds the process for you to build dynamic and responsive user interfaces with ease.

From single-page applications to complex UIs, React.js offers a flexible and scalable foundation, making it the go-to choice for leading tech companies and developers worldwide. So, there’s a wide community.

Dive into the world of virtual DOM, reusable components, and state management, and witness the magic of React.js as it transforms your web development experience.

Frontend Frameworks To Suits Development Needs

Choosing between Nextjs vs React.js depends, as usual, on your specific development needs and project requirements. Both frameworks have distinct features and use cases.

Here’s a frontend approach to help you decide which one suits your projects’ needs:


  • Best suited for server-side rendering [SSR] and static site generation [SSG].
  • Provides built-in routing and easy page creation, making it ideal for building SEO-friendly websites.
  • Simplifies API routes, enabling easy integration with serverless functions and backend services.
  • Great for building server-rendered React applications, blogs, e-commerce sites, and content-heavy websites.
  • Offers an opinionated approach, streamlining development and providing ready-to-use features.


  • Perfect for building single-page applications [SPAs] and complex user interfaces.
  • Requires additional configuration for SSR or SSG, but offers more flexibility and control in handling rendering.
  • Widely used in combination with other libraries and frameworks to build full-fledged frontend applications.
  • Ideal for building interactive web apps, dashboards, real-time applications, and complex data-driven interfaces.
  • Offers a more customizable approach, allowing developers to fine-tune and optimize their applications.

So, if you need to cut to the chase:

Choose Next.js if you prioritize server-side rendering, SEO optimization, and want a more streamlined approach to development.

Opt for React.js if you need more flexibility, control, and the ability to build complex, interactive web applications. Is React better than Next.js?

Make sure to assess your project’s specific requirements, scalability needs, and team expertise to make the best call for your frontend development.

Both frameworks have their pros and cons, and your choice will depend on which aligns best with your workflow.

Choosing Between Next.js and React.js: A Comprehensive Comparison

Here we present a comparative chart to make it easier for you!

Next.js ✖️


React.js ⚛️

A framework built on top of React.js that adds server-side rendering [SSR], static site generation [SSG], and more for building full-stack apps.


JavaScript library for building user interfaces [UI] and handling the view layer.

Supports client-side rendering, SSR, SSG, giving flexibility in choosing the rendering method.


Primarily client-side rendering using the virtual DOM to efficiently update the actual DOM.

Provides built-in SSR, improving initial page load times and enabling better SEO and accessibility.


SSR is not a native feature of React.js and requires additional setup and configuration.

Offers built-in SSG, generating static HTML files at build time, resulting in fast-loading and SEO-friendly websites.


SSG is not directly supported in React.js.

Includes built-in client-side routing, making it easier to handle page navigation.


React Router or other third-party libraries are typically used for client-side routing.

Supports multiple data fetching strategies, including server-side data fetching. SSR for improved performance.


Data fetching is typically done on the client-side, using libraries like Axios or Fetch.

Comes with a built-in development server for local development and testing.


Does not include an integrated development server.

Automatically performs code splitting, sending only the necessary code to the client, reducing initial load times.


Requires manual code splitting configurations using tools like Webpack.

Provides better SEO by supporting SSR and SSG, allowing search engines to index fully rendered pages.


Limited SEO benefits out of the box, as it primarily relies on client-side rendering.

Also highly extensible, allowing you to add custom server logic and modify web-pack configurations.


Highly extensible and can be integrated with various libraries and frameworks.

Part of the React ecosystem, but with a focus on server-side rendering and full-stack development.


Has a vast and active community with numerous third-party libraries and tools available.

Requires understanding React.js concepts and additional Next.js-specific features like SSR and SSG.


Relatively easy to learn, especially for developers familiar with JavaScript and front-end development.

Suitable for full-stack web apps with enhanced performance, SEO, and server-side capabilities.


Ideal for building dynamic and interactive user interfaces in single-page applications.


To draw the line here, we can say that React.js is a library for building UI components and managing the view layer, while Next.js extends React.js by offering built-in SSR, SSG, and features for full-stack development.

Next.js is a great choice for projects requiring enhanced performance, SEO, and server-side capabilities, while React.js is a more lightweight option when focusing solely on the front-end UI.

Remember that, the decision between Next.js and React.js should be based on your project’s specific needs and development requirements.

We’ll talk you through an experience of our top-mentor developers

Tomas Abreu, Front-End Dev, has shared a bit of his experience when deciding what the best option is.

“I carried a brief research so as to find out what the most efficient framework was to create a web app for a Comic event in our country 🇺🇾.  Since I couldn’t find any local document that explicitly mentioned why using next.js by default was the best option, I wanted to drill down on the topic to understand and compare it to react.js. I found the use of a CLI that offers and installs lots of libraries and let’s you choose among next.js or react.js. Therefore, the question came… which one do I choose?”

Here’s the example provided by Tomás

Type this into the terminal to initialize your project:

npx superplate-cli <my-project>

It will show you the following message:

? Choose a project template …
❯ React Creates a React CRA project
 NextJS Creates a Next.js project
 refine(Vite) Creates a refine React Vite project (Recommended for CRUD applications).
 refine(Next.js) Creates a refine Next.js project with SSR support (Recommended for CRUD applications).
 refine(Remix) Creates a refine Remix project with SSR support (Recommended for CRUD applications)
 refine(CRA) [Legacy] Creates a basic refine project (Recommended for CRUD applications)

This is the time you need to make a smart call, choose the technology that fits best. Let’s imagine we choose next.js:

Cloned remote source successfully.
Choose a project template · nextjs
? What would you like to name your project?: › test
? UI framework: …
❯ None
 Tailwind CSS
 Chakra UI

You’re ready to start the project by naming and choosing the UI framework. After choosing your tailored-options, you’ll see the following output with what your selection was.

 Cloned remote source successfully.
 Choose a project template · nextjs
 What would you like to name your project?: · test
 UI framework: · none
 CSS Preprocessor: · css
 Features: ·
 Hooks ·
 State Management: · redux
 Do you want to use RTK Query ? · none
 i18n - Internationalization · next-i18next
 Linting tools: ·
 Testing Framework: · none
 E2E Testing framework: · none
 Docker integration: · Docker
 Continuous integration: · github-actions
 Choose a package manager: · yarn

Next.js vs. React.js: Unraveling the Similarities and Key Distinctions

Case: Single Page Application [SPA] with Minimal Server-Side Rendering:

    • Choice: React.js
    • Reason: If you are building a simple SPA where most of the rendering and data fetching occur on the client-side, React.js would be a suitable choice. It provides a lightweight library that focuses on UI components, allowing you to leverage the virtual DOM efficiently and build interactive user interfaces. Since server-side rendering is not a priority, React.js is a more straightforward option, and you can use client-side routing libraries like React Router for navigation.

Case: Full-Stack Application with SEO and Server-Side Rendering:

    • Choice: Next.js
    • Reason: For a more complex full-stack application that requires server-side rendering for better SEO, initial page load performance, and improved user experience, Next.js is the preferred choice. Next.js offers built-in support for server-side rendering, which enables search engines to index fully rendered pages and improves page load times. Additionally, Next.js provides static site generation for better performance and SEO on static pages. If you need a comprehensive framework with an integrated development server, built-in routing, and data fetching strategies, Next.js would be the more suitable option.

Case: Hybrid Application with Client-Side and Server-Side Rendering:

    • Choice: Next.js
    • Reason: If you have a hybrid application that requires a combination of client-side and server-side rendering for specific pages or components, Next.js provides the flexibility to achieve this. You can leverage Next.js’s hybrid rendering approach, rendering some pages on the server-side and others on the client-side based on the specific requirements. This allows you to optimize the performance and user experience where it matters most, making Next.js a better fit for such scenarios.

Case: UI Library for Reusable Components in a Larger Project:

    • Choice: React.js
    • Reason: If your focus is solely on building a UI library or reusable components that will be integrated into various projects, React.js is the more appropriate choice. Since Next.js is a full-fledged framework with features like server-side rendering and routing, it might add unnecessary complexity for a UI library. React.js, being lightweight and straightforward, allows you to create modular and reusable components that can be integrated with various projects regardless of the development environment.

We hope these real life examples help you decide! If you need deeper understanding or to explore any other areas, browse here.

Server side rendering [next] vs Client side rendering [react]

When to Use React Over Next.js?

Server-Side Rendering [Next.js]

SSR in Next.js is the process of rendering web pages on the server and sending fully rendered HTML to the client’s browser.

When a user requests a page, the server processes the request, fetches the data, and renders the page with its current state. This approach provides several benefits.

Firstly, SSR improves initial page load times, as the client receives a complete, ready-to-render HTML page, reducing the time to first render. This leads to a better UX.

Secondly, SSR improves SEO by allowing search engine crawlers to see the fully rendered content of each page, making it easier for your site to be indexed and ranked.

Additionally, SSR enhances the accessibility of your web application since the content is available even without JavaScript support.

Despite these advantages, SSR can introduce more server-side processing and might lead to increased server load compared to client-side rendering.

Client-Side Rendering [React.js]

CSR in React.js, on the other hand, is the default rendering method for most React applications.

In CSR, the initial HTML page is minimal, usually containing a div element where the React components are mounted. The app’s JavaScript bundle is then downloaded and executed in the client’s browser.

The components and the UI are rendered on the client-side using the virtual DOM. This offers a smoother UX after the initial page load, as interactions and state changes do not require full page reloads.

One of the advantages of CSR is that it offloads much of the rendering process to the client, reducing the server load and potentially leading to cost savings on server resources.

Additionally, CSR is often more suitable for SPAs where frequent interactions and dynamic updates are prevalent.

However, CSR can lead to a longer time to first render, as the browser needs to wait for the JavaScript to download and execute before rendering the content.

Choosing Between SSR [Next.js] and CSR [React.js]

The choice between SSR and CSR depends on your specific project needs. If you prioritize initial page load times, SEO, and better UX, Next.js with SSR is a strong contender.

It is well-suited for content-heavy web apps with dynamic content that require fast rendering. However, it may introduce more complexity in server-side code and additional server resources.

But, is nextjs better than react?

If your app is more interactive, relies heavily on dynamic updates, or is a single-page app, React.js with CSR is more appropriate.

CSR can lead to a smoother UX after the initial load, and it’s often preferred for apps that focus on client-side interactions and real-time updates.

In some cases, you should consider a hybrid approach, using react and nextjs, or leveraging Next.js for SSR on specific pages that require it and using React.js with CSR for other parts of the app.

This hybrid approach can offer the best of both worlds, combining the benefits of SSR and CSR. You can also explore svelte vs react.

A Developer's Guide to Making the Right Choice

Follow the next checklist to make the best decision:

  • Project Requirements
  • Rendering Needs
  • SEO Considerations
  • Performance Metrics
  • Page Interactivity
  • Data Fetching
  • Development Complexity
  • Full-Stack Requirements
  • Community and Ecosystem
  • Team Familiarity
  • Scalability and Future Growth
  • Budget and Timeline
  • Client Requirements

Head-to-Head: Features, Performance, and Scalability



  • JavaScript library for building UI components and managing the view layer.
  • Focuses on the front-end and provides a virtual DOM for efficient rendering.
  • Can be integrated with various libraries and frameworks to build single-page applications.

Let’s create a simple SPA that fetches data from an API and displays it on different pages, using Redux for state management and styled-components for styling.

Here’s how you can integrate these libraries in a React.js project:

  1. Create React App: Create a new React.js project using create-react-app. In your terminal, run the following commands:
npx create-react-app my-spa
cd my-spa
  1. Install Required Libraries: Install the required libraries using npm or yarn:
npm install react-router-dom axios styled-components redux react-redux
  1. Set Up React Router: In the src directory, create a file named App.js and set up the basic structure of the application with React Router:
// App.js
import React from 'react';
import { BrowserRouter as Router, Switch, Route } from 'react-router-dom';
import Home from './components/Home';
import About from './components/About';
import Contact from './components/Contact';
const App = () => {
  return (
        <Route exact path="/" component={Home} />
        <Route path="/about" component={About} />
        <Route path="/contact" component={Contact} />
export default App;
  1. Create Components: Create three components for the different pages of the application (Home.js, About.js, and Contact.js) in the src/components directory:
// src/components/Home.js
import React, { useEffect, useState } from 'react';
import axios from 'axios';

const Home = () => {
  const [data, setData] = useState([]);
  useEffect(() => {
    // Fetch data from the API
      .then((response) => setData(
      .catch((error) => console.error(error));
  }, []);

  return (
      <h1>Home Page</h1>
      {/* Display the fetched data */}
      { => (
        <div key={}>{item.title}</div>

export default Home;
// src/components/About.js
import React from 'react';

const About = () => {
  return (
      <h1>About Page</h1>
      <p>This is the About page content.</p>

export default About;
// src/components/Contact.js
import React from 'react';
const Contact = () => {
  return (
      <h1>Contact Page</h1>
      <p>Contact form and details go here.</p>

export default Contact;
  1. Set Up Redux: In the src directory, create a folder named redux with actions.js and reducers.js files:
// src/redux/actions.js
export const increment = () => {
  return {
    type: 'INCREMENT',

export const decrement = () => {
  return {
    type: 'DECREMENT',
// src/redux/reducers.js
const initialState = {
  count: 0,
const counterReducer = (state = initialState, action) => {
  switch (action.type) {
    case 'INCREMENT':
      return { ...state, count: state.count + 1 };
    case 'DECREMENT':
      return { ...state, count: state.count - 1 };
      return state;

export default counterReducer;
  1. Connect Redux to the App: In the src directory, create a file named store.js to set up the Redux store and connect it to the app:
// src/store.js
import { createStore } from 'redux';
import counterReducer from './redux/reducers';
const store = createStore(counterReducer);
export default store;

Update the index.js file to wrap the App component with the Redux store provider:

// index.js
import React from 'react';
import ReactDOM from 'react-dom';
import { Provider } from 'react-redux';
import store from './store';
import App from './App';
import './index.css';

    <Provider store={store}>
      <App />

Now you have a React.js SPA integrated with React Router, Axios for data fetching, styled-components for styling, and Redux for state management.

You can further customize and expand the app based on your specific requirements.


  • Framework built on top of React.js, providing server-side rendering (SSR), static site generation (SSG), and other full-stack features.
  • Supports multiple rendering methods, including SSR, SSG, and client-side rendering.
  • Includes built-in routing, data fetching strategies, and an integrated development server.



  • Client-side rendering (CSR) is the default rendering method, where the initial HTML is minimal, and the app’s  JavaScript handles rendering on the client-side using the virtual DOM.
  • Might have a longer time to first render, as the client needs to download and execute the JS bundle before rendering the content.


  • Supports server-side rendering (SSR) and static site generation (SSG), improving initial page load times and SEO.
  • With SSR and SSG, fully rendered HTML is sent to the client, reducing the time to first render and providing a better user experience.



  • React.js can be scaled for large projects and used in combination with other libraries and frameworks to handle complex applications.
  • The scalability largely depends on the overall architecture and the organization of the application.


  • Next.js offers great scalability, especially for apps with content-heavy pages or complex UIs.
  • Its built-in SSR and SSG features optimize server performance and can handle a higher number of requests, making it suitable for scalable projects.

Which Offers a More Streamlined Web Development Experience?

Let us know what you think! And if you happen to need extra advice or consultancy, please DO ping us! We are a community of devs, designers and staff ready help.

Contact our Team

Rounding up!

The importance of web app choices lies in painstakingly and sensitively drill down on data and choose the best possible framework.

Thus, making it crucial for developers and organizations to stay up-to-date and be part of a robust community of devs.

Stay tuned, and don’t forget to check out our other posts for more insights on code improvement and tips!

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