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Next.js vs React: Which Framework Should You Use? When?


Choosing the right framework and libraries is crucial for building robust, scalable, and high-performance web applications. Two popular choices that often come into consideration are React and Next.js. Both are JavaScript frameworks with their own unique features and advantages.

In this blog post, we’ll delve deep into the comparison between Next.js and React to help you make an informed decision on which framework to choose for frontend development in 2024.

According to a 2023 survey by Stack Overflow, React is used by 40.58% of professional developers, making it one of the most popular front-end libraries. On the flip side, Next.js, while a newer contender, has rapidly gained traction, witnessing a 50% growth in usage among developers over the past year, as per a report by the State of JS 2023.

Understanding React and Next.js

What is Next.js?

Next.js is a React framework that provides additional features and capabilities for building production-ready web applications. It offers server-side rendering (SSR), static site generation (SSG), automatic code splitting, and built-in routing, among other features. Next.js simplifies complex tasks like SEO optimization, performance optimization, and handling of data fetching, making it an excellent choice for building modern web applications.

What is Next.js Used For?

When comparing Next.js and React, it’s important to understand the distinctive capabilities and benefits each brings to web development. Next.js, an extension of React, offers several features aimed at optimizing both the development process and the end-user experience. Here are some of the key advantages of using Next.js for your projects:

1. SEO Efficiency with Next.js:

One of the standout features of Next.js is its ability to enhance SEO through the <Head> component. This allows Next.js developers to easily manage meta tags, such as titles and social media information, directly within their applications.

By integrating these elements server-side, Next.js ensures that all content is SEO-friendly and readily accessible by search engines, a crucial aspect for any website aiming to achieve high visibility in search results.

2. Speedy Web Applications:

Next.js is renowned for its ability to accelerate web application performance. Leveraging the framework’s support for static pages and rapid load times, developers can build scalable, high-speed web applications with ease. This speed is a direct result of Next.js’ optimized rendering processes, providing users with a seamless browsing experience.

3. Server-Side Rendering (SSR):

Next.js enables server-side rendering of applications, a feature that allows for the delivery of fully rendered HTML pages to the client. This approach not only improves load times but also enhances SEO, as the content becomes more easily indexable by search engines. The framework’s client-side routing for subsequent requests ensures a smooth user experience without the need for page reloads.

4. Static Websites:

The framework very useful in building static websites, offering developers the ability to serve complete pages on the first load. This capability ensures quick access to content while maintaining a high quality of user experience. Next.js’s static site development tool is a key asset for developers aiming to combine speed with user-friendly design.

5. Building Complex Applications:

Next.js is well-equipped for developing large-scale, complex web applications. It supports TypeScript, aiding in early error detection and debugging, and offers various authentication patterns to suit different needs. Whether creating interactive UIs or managing static pages, Next.js provides the flexibility and tools necessary for sophisticated web development projects.

6. Jamstack Websites:

The framework is also ideal for Jamstack implementations, offering customizable rendering options for each page. This flexibility helps avoid the lengthy rebuilds associated with Jamstack apps, facilitating the rapid reflection of user interactions and enhancing both performance and scalability.

7. eCommerce Platforms:

For eCommerce applications, Next.js stands out as a prime choice. Its capabilities in static page designing and server-side rendering contribute to faster website performance, a critical factor for platforms requiring quick, accessible content delivery to users.

What is React?

React, developed by Facebook, is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces. It follows a component-based architecture, allowing developers to create reusable UI components and manage state efficiently. React’s declarative approach to building UIs and its virtual DOM implementation contribute to its popularity among developers worldwide.

What is React Used For?

1. For building dynamic web applications:

React’s virtual DOM facilitates the swift and adaptable for web application development and streamlining the development process by minimizing coding complexity and enhancing functionality.

This advantage makes React a preferred choice for constructing dynamic websites such as to-do lists, blogs, and platforms requiring regular content updates, setting it apart from traditional JavaScript development that can become intricate very quickly.

2. Developing Single-Page Applications:

Known for powering user-friendly SPAs like Gmail, Google Maps, Facebook, and GitHub, React enables the development of applications that are not only responsive and mobile-first but also quick and straightforward to refresh. This capability underscores React’s suitability for creating seamless, interactive user experiences in applications that operate within a single page.

3. Creating Mobile Applications:

Expanding beyond web development, the React Native framework, an offshoot of React, is instrumental in building mobile applications. This versatility allows React developers to leverage React for a broad range of projects, including popular mobile apps like Netflix, Facebook, and Reddit, thus offering a unified development experience across web and mobile platforms.

Difference Between React Vs Next.js

This section is designed to introduce you to the key features of these front-end tools, explore their fundamental components, and provide a comparison between them.

Key Elements React Next.js
Server-side rendering By default, React operates as a client-side rendering framework. Implementing server-side rendering within React necessitates additional steps and is typically more challenging to achieve. Next.js offers pre-rendering capabilities, enabling it to deliver pre-rendered HTML instead of requiring the browser to render all content dynamically. This pre-rendering can be done in two primary ways, including server-side rendering (SSR), where Next.js generates the page as HTML on the server for each request.
Maintenance React is actively maintained and regularly releases updates. Next.js is well-maintained, featuring a “Maintenance Mode” in its latest version that simplifies app maintenance through an environment variable and redirects in the next.config.js file.
Configurability Configuration is crucial for React applications operating across different environments, allowing for necessary adjustments and enhancements. React supports various types of configurations, including environment-specific ones. Next.js configuration is quick and straightforward, thanks to its many built-in features. The platform offers an out-of-the-box hot refresh that requires no additional setup, optimizing your production application effortlessly.
Performance React also excels in performance by progressively loading components and reducing expensive DOM operations. The performance of a React app can be evaluated through consistent testing, tracking, and monitoring of elements like page load time. Next.js applications deliver speed through static generation and server-side rendering, enhanced by features like image optimization for better performance. With Next.js Analytics, measuring page performance through various metrics is straightforward.
Learning curve For developers with JavaScript experience, React is straightforward to pick up and use, thanks to its simplicity and the wealth of detailed, open-source tutorials available. Its non-complex nature means that developers can begin working with it after just a few days of learning. Next.js offers an accessible learning experience for beginners, featuring hands-on tutorials that guide you through the development process step by step.
Documentation React provides comprehensive documentation to ensure effective learning and understanding. Next.js features well-organized documentation that encourages learning through practice.
Community In React, there’s a supportive community of developers who have shared their knowledge through blog posts and tutorial videos. Additionally, React’s documentation has been continually updated over the years, providing a rich resource for learning. Although the Next.js community may have fewer official tutorials and courses, its open-source nature ensures that team members are readily approachable. There’s a lively exchange of ideas and discussions happening on platforms like Stack Overflow and GitHub.
Security While the frequent updates in React can introduce vulnerabilities, there are available guides designed to enhance your application’s security. Next.js supports user authentication to ensure data security by verifying users before granting data access. However, this feature isn’t built-in; it requires manual integration with third-party services like Next Auth.
Features React comes with libraries such as Material UI and React-Bootstrap, which facilitate the efficient completion of tasks. Additionally, these can be customized to suit the specific needs of your project. Next.js boasts impressive capabilities for building functional web applications, including server-side rendering, static site generation, image optimization, pre-rendering, internationalization, Next.js analytics, and more.
Development cost Choosing React for development is economical, thanks to its easy maintenance and modular design that offers more flexibility than other front-end options. This adaptability leads to notable savings in time and costs for businesses, giving them a competitive edge. Maintaining a web application necessitates hiring specialized Next.js and frontend developers. Replacing these skilled professionals entails substantial costs. This is a key consideration in your development strategy.

Is Next.js Better Than React?

You might be wondering, if React is such a celebrated front-end framework, why should one bother learning Next.js instead of sticking solely with React? The crux of the matter lies in the substantial benefits Next.js offers over React, especially in solving some of the common challenges encountered in React development. A notable issue with React is its lack of built-in routing, forcing developers to either rely on external libraries or devise their own routing mechanisms. Next.js addresses this by integrating seamless routing solutions.

Another significant hurdle with React is its client-side rendering approach, which processes the UI in the user’s browser. This can lead to delayed rendering times, negatively impacting page load speeds and, by extension, SEO performance. Next.js tackles this by offering server-side rendering right out of the box, among other solutions to common problems, making it a compelling choice for developers.

Opting for Next.js not only enriches your development experience with top-notch server-side rendering (SSR) and static site development capabilities but also simplifies managing web projects with its array of built-in tools. While React shines in creating dynamic single-page applications and offers flexibility as a library rather than a framework, Next.js provides a more holistic and problem-solving approach to web development, bridging gaps that React alone might leave unaddressed.

Should I Learn Next.js or React?

When developers thought of a new technology or tool, they often dive in without fully grasping its nuances, potential, strengths, and weaknesses. As I’ve delved into this topic through research, one question stands out among developers: Next.js or React?

To provide clarity on this matter, let’s explore the learning curve and objectives of Next.js and React. Learning Next.js doesn’t necessarily require full mastery of React, but it’s beneficial to have a basic understanding since Next.js builds upon React and shares a similar workflow.

For those looking for Next.js, it’s advisable to consult the official React tutorial. Rather than simply copying and pasting code examples, strive to comprehend the underlying concepts. Understanding the purpose and functionality of Next.js is key to leveraging its capabilities effectively.

Which is the Best Next JS or React JS?

The choice between Next.js and React isn’t straightforward, as there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The decision largely hinges around the specific requirements of your project. Both React development services and Next.js development stand out as powerful tools, each suited for different aspects of development.

Next.js shines in server-side rendering and building static websites, simplifying project management with a suite of tools and features. It’s tailored for projects that benefit from improved SEO and faster page loads right from the server.

On the flip side, React is unparalleled for crafting user interfaces in single-page applications. It excels in creating dynamic and responsive experiences for both web and mobile apps, thanks to its component-based architecture.

While Next.js is a framework that builds on the foundation of React, offering enhanced features like server-side rendering, React itself is a robust JavaScript library for building UI components, fostered by Facebook. This distinction means Next.js is ideal for full-fledged web applications requiring server-side logic, whereas React is focused more on the front-end, enhancing user interactions and interfaces.

Next.js brings server-side rendering to the table, contrasting with Create React App’s client-side rendering approach, which can lead to performance gains. Moreover, Next.js is positioned as a comprehensive solution for web application and UI development using React, making it a potent choice for developers looking to streamline their workflow.

For those with a basic grasp of React, diving into Next.js can be a smoother journey. Conversely, React’s learning curve is gentle for those already familiar with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS fundamentals.


After exploring the Next.js vs React debate, it’s clear that each platform brings its unique strengths and weaknesses to the table. Your decision between the two will significantly influence your development journey and eventual outcomes. If you’re still uncertain about which one aligns best with your app development goals, consider seeking assistance from dedicated developers at Zealous System. Our experts can guide you toward the right choice and even offer our team augmentation service model, helping you bridge skill gaps and tackle project-specific technology hurdles with confidence.

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    Pranjal Mehta

    Pranjal Mehta is the Managing Director of Zealous System, a leading software solutions provider. Having 10+ years of experience and clientele across the globe, he is always curious to stay ahead in the market by inculcating latest technologies and trends in Zealous.


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