Next.js enables creating a full-stack web applications by extending the latest React features and integrating powerful Rust-based JavaScript tooling for the fastest builds. Next.js is a React framework for building full-stack web applications. React Components are used to build user interfaces, and Next.js for additional features and optimizations.

Under the hood, Next.js also abstracts and automatically configures tooling needed for React, like bundling, compiling, and more. This allows focusing on building the application instead of spending time with configuration. Whether an individual developer or part of a larger team, Next.js can help build interactive, dynamic, and fast React applications. It is the best ReactJS framework for building server-rendered web applications. It includes a few out of the box features of Next.js, such as Automatic code splitting, filesystem-based routing, hot code reloading and universal rendering.

Points on handling different type of projects with Next.js:

  • Simple projects: Building a basic website or web app might make Next.js seem overkill. Setting up and maintaining it can be more complex compared to simpler frameworks like React.
  • Projects with complex routing: Next.js’s routing system is designed for static and server-rendered pages. If creating complex dynamic routing, opting for a different framework might be more suitable.
  • Projects that require a lot of state management: Next.js lacks a built-in state manager. For applications with extensive state management needs, a third-party library is necessary.
  • Projects that need to be highly customized: Next.js is an opinionated framework with predefined features and conventions. If extensive customization is required, working with Next.js may prove challenging.

Framework, in this context, refers to Next.js handling the tooling and configuration required for React, and providing additional structure, features, and optimizations for the application.

Is Next.js a React Framework?

Next.js is often referred to as a React framework because it is built on top of React. It extends React’s capabilities by adding useful features and conventions for building modern web applications.

  • Next.js functions as a framework for building modern web applications, and it is specifically designed to work seamlessly with React. React is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces. Next.js enhances and extends the capabilities of React by providing additional features and conventions for building full-stack applications.
  • When stating “built on top of React,” it indicates Next.js utilizes React as its foundation. Leveraging React’s component-based architecture and declarative syntax, Next.js constructs pages and components. Developers employing Next.js benefit from React’s power and flexibility alongside additional features provided by Next.js.
  • One of the features of Next.js is to add React is server-side rendering (SSR). Next.js allows developers to render React components on the server side, providing benefits like improved performance, better SEO, and a faster initial page load. In addition to SSR, Next.js includes features such as automatic code splitting, static site generation, and API routes, which makes it a comprehensive framework for building modern web applications.
  • Since Next.js is built on React, developers familiar with React can easily transition to using Next.js. The conventions and patterns used in React development are largely applicable in Next.js, making it a smooth experience for React developers to adopt and work with Next.js.
  • Next.js extends React’s capabilities by providing a full-stack development experience. It includes server-side rendering, API routes for handling serverless functions, and tools for handling data fetching. This makes it suitable for building not only client-side applications but also server-rendered and statically generated applications.

Choose Next.js over React

Next.js is important for full-stack developers because it provides a seamless way to build both client-side and server-side rendered applications with the same codebase. With Next.js, one can write code using React components, but also can render those components on the server-side.

Benefits of Next.js lies in its performance optimization. By default, Next.js provides server-side rendering, which helps to reduce the load times and improve the overall performance of the application. Additionally, Next.js supports lazy-loading and code-splitting, which allows the application to load only the necessary components and assets, further optimizing performance.

Difference between Next.js and React.js

RenderingServer-Side renderingSingle-page rendering
FrameworkReact based frameworkJavaScript library
SEOSpecifically developed to improve SEOPoor SEO
S/wNo additional software RequiredCreate-React-Application required

Key benefits of Next.js in full-stack development

Next.js App Router vs Pages Router

Next.js has two different routers: the App Router and the Pages Router. The App Router is a newer router that enables using React’s latest features, such as Server Components and Streaming. The Pages Router is the original Next.js router, allowing building server rendered React applications and continuing support for older Next.js applications.

At the top of the sidebar, a dropdown menu allows switching between the App Router and the Page Router features. Since there are features that are unique to each directory, it is important to keep a track of which tab is selected.

The breadcrumbs at the top of the page will also indicate whether you’re viewing App Router docs or Pages Router docs.


JavaScript frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue client-side rendering. This is a rendering method where the server sends the HTML code and a JavaScript bundle. That code then runs in the browser, updating the document in a process called hydration.

Since rendering happens on the user’s device, Client-Side Rendering applications can be slow. Next.js provides a solution through pre-rendering. Instead of building the UI on the client side, Next.js builds it in advance on the server.

There are two types of pre-rendering:

  1. Server-side rendering (SSR)
  2. Static Site Generation (SSG)

In SSR, the server builds the HTML, fetches all the dynamic content, and then sends it to the browser. The server does this for every incoming request. SSR is, therefore, best used for constantly changing data.

SSR pages can be slow depending on the amount of data the application needs to fetch from the server and the server performance level. Through getServerSideProps() in Next.js one can use SSR only for pages that need it.

With SSG the application prefetches all the data during build time. It then generates HTML pages and serves them for multiple requests. It is very fast because once the server has generated all the pages a CDN (Content Delivery Network) can cache and serve them.

Built-In Routing

Next.js uses a file-based routing system. The server automatically converts all the files saved in the Pages folder to routes. React applications that require installing React router and configuring it.

Automatic Code Splitting

Code splitting divides bundle files into chunks that can be lazily loaded on demand. Next.js automatically handles code splitting by splitting each file in the Pages folder into its own bundle. Any code shared between pages is bundled together to prevent downloading redundant code.

Built-In Image Optimization

Heavy images can slow down the site and lower its Google rankings.

With Next.js, the image component can be used to optimize images automatically. This component serves correctly sized images and modern formats like WebP if the browser supports it. Images are also loaded only when a user scrolls them into view, optimizing page speed and saving space on the user’s device.

Built-In CSS Support

Next.js supports CSS modules and Sass out of the box. There is no need to spend extra time configuring it and can go straight to writing CSS styles. Next.js also comes with styled-jsx, allowing the writing of CSS directly inside your component.

Why Should you Migrate to Next.js?

One of the best things about Next.js is its rendering options. There is no tie to CSR, SSR, or SSG, and the choice is available to render specific pages on the server side, client-side, or entirely static.

Customizing how each page renders based on its needs is possible. Pages relying on constantly changing data can be rendered using SSR, while static pages like the login page can use SSG.

No need to worry about configuring app routes, optimizing images, or splitting bundle files; everything is done automatically.

For those aiming to create React applications consuming dynamic content without spending time on setup, package installation, or configuration for speed, Next.js is the optimal solution. However, for static single-page apps, plain React remains a good option.


Next.js stands out as a versatile React framework that streamlines web development, offering automatic tooling configuration and additional features. While it excels in performance optimization, pre-rendering options, and built-in functionalities like routing, code splitting, image optimization, and CSS support, its suitability depends on project complexity. For full-stack developers, Next.js proves invaluable by enabling seamless client-side and server-side rendering within a unified codebase, making it a compelling choice for modern web applications. Learn more about Nous’ Digital Application Services to develop top-notch.

Pooja Seth
Technical Lead - User Interface

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