What is SSR in NextJS? Benefits, Implementation and Examples

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NextJS, a popular React framework, is renowned for its capability to render applications on the server side, commonly known as Server-Side Rendering (SSR). “SSR in NextJS” not only enhances the application’s SEO but also significantly improves the page load speed by rendering HTML on the server. This comprehensive guide explores what SSR is, its benefits, how it’s implemented in NextJS, and provides detailed examples of its use.

Understanding SSR in NextJS

Server-Side Rendering (SSR) refers to the process of rendering web pages on the server instead of the client’s browser. In the context of NextJS, SSR enables the pages to load the HTML content before it reaches the client, providing immediate page content upon arrival. This is distinctly different from traditional Client-Side Rendering (CSR), where the JavaScript needs to load before rendering the page, which can lead to delays and a poor user experience. The integration of SSR in NextJS utilizes React’s capabilities to pre-render pages at request time, enhancing both performance and accessibility of the content.

Also, Read: Different Forms of Pre-rendering in NextJS

Benefits of Using SSR in NextJS

One of the primary advantages of “SSR in NextJS” is its positive impact on SEO. Search engines can crawl the site more efficiently because the content is already rendered, which is not the case with client-rendered JavaScript. This leads to better indexing and potentially higher search rankings. Additionally, SSR can dramatically improve page load times by sending a fully rendered page to the client, thus reducing the time taken for initial content to appear on the user’s screen.

How SSR Works in NextJS

The SSR mechanism in NextJS involves several key steps. When a request is made to a NextJS server, it runs the React components on the server itself, generating the required HTML. The server then sends this HTML to the client’s browser as a response to the request. This process involves specific functions in NextJS, such as getServerSideProps, which fetches the necessary data for rendering from the server side before the page is delivered to the browser.

Implementing SSR in NextJS: Detailed Examples

Implementing “SSR in NextJS” effectively requires understanding different use cases and functions available in the framework. Here, we’ll go through several examples to showcase the versatility and power of SSR in NextJS.

Creating a Next.js Project

Before diving into the specifics of “SSR in NextJS,” it’s essential to know how to set up a basic Next.js project. Here’s a simple guide to get you started:

Step 1: Setting Up Your Development Environment

To create a Next.js project, you’ll need Node.js installed on your computer. If you don’t have Node.js installed, download and install it from Node.js official website.

Step 2: Create a New Next.js Project

Open your terminal or command prompt and run the following commands to create a new Next.js project:

npx create-next-app my-nextjs-project
cd my-nextjs-project

This command uses create-next-app, which sets up a new Next.js project with all the necessary configurations.

Step 3: Running Your Next.js Project

To run your Next.js project, execute the following command inside your project directory:

npm run dev

This command starts the development server on http://localhost:3000. Open this URL in your browser to see your new Next.js application running.

Step 4: Preparing for SSR Implementation

Now that your Next.js project is set up, you can start implementing SSR. You’ll mainly work within the pages directory, where each JavaScript or JSX file corresponds to a route in your application.

For example, to create an SSR page, you can modify the index.js file in the pages directory, or add new files for dynamic routes, as shown in the SSR examples previously discussed.

Also, Read: Exploring Next.js Data Fetching Methods: A step by step example

Basic Example: Fetching Data with getServerSideProps

This basic example demonstrates how to use getServerSideProps to fetch data for SSR:

// pages/news.js
import React from 'react';

export async function getServerSideProps(context) {
    const res = await fetch('https://api.example.com/news');
    const data = await res.json();
    return { props: { news: data.articles } };
}

function NewsPage({ news }) {
    return (
        <ul>
            {news.map((article, index) => (
                <li key={index}>{article.title}</li>
            ))}
        </ul>
    );
}

export default NewsPage;

Handling Dynamic Routes

NextJS supports SSR for dynamic routes. This example shows how to handle dynamic parameters in a URL to fetch specific data:

// pages/posts/[id].js
import React from 'react';

export async function getServerSideProps({ params }) {
    const res = await fetch(`https://api.example.com/posts/${params.id}`);
    const post = await res.json();
    return { props: { post } };
}

function Post({ post }) {
    return (
        <article>
            <h2>{post.title}</h2>
            <p>{post.body}</p>
        </article>
    );
}

export default Post;

User Authentication and Personalized Content

SSR can also be used to handle user-specific data, such as authentication status or personalized content, effectively:

Also, Read: How to Add Custom Local Fonts in Next.js?

// pages/dashboard.js
import React from 'react';

export async function getServerSideProps(context) {
    const { req } = context;
    the cookie = req.headers.cookie;

    const res = await fetch('https://api.example.com/dashboard', {
        headers: {
            cookie: cookie
        }
    });
    if (!res.ok) {
        return {
            redirect: {
                destination: '/login',
                permanent: false,
            },
        };
    }
    const data = await res.json();
    return { props: { data } };
}

function Dashboard({ data }) {
    return (
        <div>
            <h1>Welcome Back, {data.user.name}!</h1>
            <p>Your last login was on {data.lastLoginDate}.</p>
        </div>
    );
}

export default Dashboard;

Best Practices for SSR in NextJS

To maximize the effectiveness of “SSR in NextJS,” it’s advisable to implement caching strategies, especially for pages that do not change frequently. Additionally, handling dynamic content efficiently ensures that the server’s performance remains optimal without unnecessary delays in rendering.

Also, Read: How to Create Layout in Next.js: A Step-by-Step Guide

Conclusion

SSR in NextJS” is a powerful approach for building faster, SEO-friendly web applications. By pre-rendering pages on the server, NextJS ensures that users and search engines receive the content promptly and efficiently. Exploring and implementing SSR can significantly enhance the capabilities of your NextJS applications.

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