Server-Side Rendering with Next.js

Server-side rendering (SSR) is a technique where the server generates the HTML for a webpage, which is then sent to the client to be rendered on the browser. This is in contrast to client-side rendering (CSR), where JavaScript running on the client generates the HTML after the page is loaded.

Next.js is a popular framework that makes it easy to build server-side rendered React applications. It uses a technique called “automatic code splitting” to optimize the load time of your application. In this tutorial, we will walk you through the process of building a server-side rendered application with Next.js.

Step 1: Create a new project

To get started, you will need to create a new Next.js project. You can do this by running the following command in your terminal:

npx create-next-app my-ssr-app

This command will create a new directory called “my-ssr-app” that contains the basic structure of a Next.js application.


Step 2: Create pages

In Next.js, routes are defined in the “pages” directory. Each file in this directory represents a different route. For example, if you have a file called “pages/about.js”, the route for this page would be “/about”.


Step 3: Fetch data

Next.js provides a built-in method called getInitialProps which allows you to fetch data on the server before the component is rendered. This method is called on the server before the component is rendered, so it can be used to fetch data from an API or database. This data is then passed to the component as props, so it can be rendered on the server.


Step 4: Render the component

Once the data is fetched, the component is rendered on the server. The HTML generated by the component is then sent to the client, which can then be rendered on the browser.


Step 5: Build and Deploy

When you’re ready to deploy your application, you can use the following command to build your application:

npm run build

After the build process is complete, you can start the application by running:

npm run start

Your application will be available at http://localhost:3000.

Server-side rendering is a powerful technique that can improve the performance and SEO of your application. With Next.js, it’s easy to build server-side rendered React applications and take advantage of the built-in features for fetching data, code splitting, and more.

In this tutorial, we’ve covered the basics of server-side rendering with Next.js, but there are many more advanced features and techniques that you can explore as you become more familiar with the framework. Some examples include:

  • Serverless Functions: Next.js allows you to create serverless functions, which are Node.js functions that run in a Lambda-like environment. This allows you to build server-side logic without the need for a dedicated server.
  • Dynamic imports: Next.js allows you to use dynamic imports, which allows you to split your code into smaller chunks that are loaded on demand. This can improve the load time of your application and make it more efficient.
  • Styling: Next.js provides built-in support for styling your components using CSS-in-JS libraries such as styled-jsx and emotion.
  • Routing: Next.js comes with a built-in routing system that automatically generates routes based on the files in the pages directory. But you can also use your own routing library such as react-router.
  • Deployment: Next.js can be deployed to a variety of hosting providers, including Vercel, Now, and Firebase.

In conclusion, Server-side rendering is a powerful technique that allows you to create fast, efficient web applications that are easy to deploy and optimize. Next.js makes it easy to build server-side rendered React applications and provides a wide range of features and tools to help you take advantage of the benefits of SSR. As you continue to build your applications with Next.js, you’ll find that it’s a powerful and flexible framework that can help you create high-performance web applications.

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