Why You Should Render React On Server Side?

Most of you likely use React CLI, also called Create React App (CRA). Using CRA allows you to get up and running with ease and has a lot of other advantages. Notwithstanding, building with CRA has a couple of disadvantages, for instance, when you view source of a web page from a web application initialized with CRA, you will see that it’s practically empty page with simply the <head> segment however hardly anything within <body>.

This is because CRA renders your application in the client- side, which means the built.js file is first downloaded to the user’s browser before the remaining of the page starts loading. This increases the initial load time and some web crawlers can’t index the website. Is there a better way to render your app? Yes!

This is where server-side rendering for React comes in. Here, you will get to introduce with SSR React, reasons to use it and some popular frameworks for rendering React on the server side. I would like to address when SSR React doesn’t make sense. This article is gone for developers previously working with React on the client side.

What is server- side rendering (SSR)?

Server-side rendering (SSR) is when content on your web page is rendered on the server and not on your browser using JavaScript. For instance, when you have a PHP or WordPress site, the page is loaded from content that is coming by means of HTTP which was rendered on the server and comes as completely rendered HTML. This is rather than React application built with CRA, which just sends a .js file to the client and the clients’ browser JavaScript engine makes the markup after the .js file is loaded. Instances of traditional SSR languages/ frameworks are PHP, Java, ASP .NET and Node.js.

All things considered, this is the manner by which content was rendered on early websites, until the convergence of client-side libraries. In any case, presently, server-side rendered React applications use Node for the server which is a key difference to traditional server-rendered applications.

Why you should move to the server side?

1. Performance-

Performance is the main reason for moving to server- side rendering. SSR implies there is no requirement for loaders or spinners for the initial load. Quicker load times lead to a superior experience for the end client. This is one reason numerous huge organizations are adopting the SSR approach for their sites.

2. SEO-

At this point, you have most likely heard that Google presently crawls web applications built with JavaScript, you are in an ideal situation having server-side rendered content prepared for Google and other search engines to crawl your website. The benefit with SSR is that you get the advantages of a conventional site’s SEO since the whole page would now be able to be crawled by bots.

3. Social sharing-

The other advantage with SSR is that you get a detailed snippet and featured image when sharing your web page’s content by means of social media. This won’t be conceivable when you have simply client- side rendered applications. 

How to get started with an SSR app?

Started without frameworks is conceivable, yet I wouldn’t suggest this methodology since there are numerous considerations and moving parts in a React SSR application. For instance, you need to deal with bundling, minification, hot reload, all on your own.

React SSR frameworks

If you want to render React on the server side, here are some frameworks you can consider:

1. Next.js-

Next.js is an incredible framework with a great community around it. With Next.js, you don’t need to stress over bundling, minification or hot reloading, you get a great many highlights out of the container. You can make pages as React components within files. You might be utilized to this if you worked with PHP. Notwithstanding the community and support, there are numerous organizations utilizing Next.js in production including npm, Netflix and Autho.

2. Razzle-

Razzle is a tool that abstracts all complex configuration required for SSR into a single dependency - giving you the great developer experience of create-react-app, but then leaving the rest of your application’s architectural choices about frameworks, routing, and data fetching up to you. 

It’s easy to start with Razzle and it makes use of React Router 4, dissimilar to Next.js which doesn’t have a router out of the box.

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Alternatives-

React is not a silver bullet. Maybe your team is familiar with Vue or another JavaScript framework. Possibly a static site will best suit your use case. If you would prefer not to use React or if you might want to use a Static Site Generator, here are a few other options.

1. Nuxt.js-

Nuxt.js is a server-side rendering framework for Vue.js and is well known in the Vue.js community. If you are searching for choices Next.js or Razzle in the Vue.js world, do try this out.

2. Gatsby-

You would have seen all popular JavaScript designers talk about Gatsby. It is a React-based Static Site Generator that has won the hearts of many with its exceptional UX (User Experience) and DX (Developer Experience). To be precise, it doesn’t do SSR at run time. Instead, Gatsby does server- side rendering with Node.js at build time, where it makes static HTML, CSS, and JS when deploying the site.

This leads to quick load times and has further optimizations, for example, route based code splitting and prefetching.

Do you always need SSR?

The short answer would be no. Not all applications need server-side rendering, particularly applications with a dashboard and authentications that will not require SEO or sharing through social media. Also, the expertise for building a server-rendered React application is higher than an application initialized using create- react- app.

In particular, SSR React applications cost much more in terms of resources since you have to keep a Node server up and running. There are times you want to choose the server- side rendering for your React applications.

Conclusion-

Choosing the server side technology is crucial act. Using React on server side has many benefits apart from mentioned above. Here we have covered the performance, search engine visibility and social sharing advantages. Choose the technology as per your requirement. 

We at solace are here to help you through our experts. You can consult with solace team for choosing the technology for server side rendering apps. You can discuss with experts for issues regarding server side development. Team is well proficient in new technologies and trends. We will be happy to help you through best knowledge.