Next JS vs Gatsby: Evaluating Two Popular React Frameworks


June 26, 2023

Category React

React is a powerful open-source front-end JavaScript library that offers development companies excellent features to develop exclusive interfaces and experiences for high-performance solutions. Its scalability, adaptability, and flexibility help React developers streamline the front-end development process to offer reliable React development services.

Two popular frameworks have been leveraged for React js developmentNext js vs Gatsby. Both these technologies are apt for creating versatile and robust React websites with salient features like static site generation and server-side rendering. Both have a lot in common and yet, have their differences that are worth a read.

Before we plunge into a detailed comparison between the two – Gatsby vs Nextjs, let us understand what they are, on an individual basis.

What is Next js?

Used by some of the world’s largest companies, Next.js enables you to create full-stack Web applications by extending the latest React features and integrating powerful Rust-based JavaScript tooling for the fastest builds.

Next js is an open-source and free React-based framework that is apt for creating server-side rendered websites and apps with nearly zero configuration. The HTML gets directly generated via the server as soon as there is a new request. It enhances the performance of the site with a better user experience in creating landing pages, dynamic websites, and enterprise web apps.

Created by Vercel, Next js has a good collaboration with other well-known languages, tools, libraries, etc. There is an augmented user experience with salient features such as routing, data fetching, overall configuration, image optimization, code splitting, etc. It is like an all-in-one modern application-building solution. It offers a great developer experience for creating front-end applications with ease and efficacy.

Some of its salient features are:

  • Hot Reload
  • Prefetching
  • Automatic routing
  • Code splitting

What is Gatsby?

Gatsby is a React-based open-source framework with performance, scalability, and security built-in. Collaborate, build, and deploy 1000x faster with Gatsby Cloud. Gatsby has joined Netlify! Together Gatsby and Netlify are accelerating growth and bringing composable architectures to the modern web.

Gatsby is a free, open-source React framework that can build high-quality and performing apps and websites. It offers a variety of plug-ins, APIs, starters, and themes that can be extendable and generate static HTML pages. Sites in Gatsby can be hosted anywhere, making it one of the easiest frameworks to work with. It makes use of pre-rendering pages for better performance and SEO results.

It facilitates the creation of complicated websites and web apps and offers much more than just outputting static HTML files. It develops static and dynamic applications with its increasing plug-in and starter ecosystem. It offers support for serverless functions and has the feature of server rendering. It is the best fit for creating blogs, websites, landing pages, and product pages.

Some of its salient features are:

  • Simple learning curve
  • Loading data from anywhere
  • Optimized for performance.
  • Less hosting cost

Next js vs Gatsby – Pros and Cons

Pros of Next js:
  • Inbuilt CSS support
  • Easy customization and deployment
  • Incremental static generation
  • Lightweight and highly scalable
  • Automated compilation
  • Faster creation of MVP
  • High-end data security
  • Better user and developer experience
  • Faster refresh
  • Extensive partner ecosystem
Cons of Next js:
  • Poor plug-in library ecosystem
  • Opinionated API routing
  • Lacks inbuilt state manager
Pros of Gatsby:
  • Speedy and exceptional performance
  • Modernized standards and workflow
  • Multiple data sources
  • Extensive community support
  • SEO friendly
  • Large partner and plug-in ecosystem
  • Comprehensive documentation
  • Enhanced static website performance
  • Low hosting and maintenance cost
  • Fast page loading speed
Cons of Gatsby:
  • Scaling trouble with larger apps
  • Needs rebuild for updates
  • Not easily scalable

Next.js vs Gatsby – Organizations Using Them

Companies Using Next.js:

Docker, Netflix, Uber, Magic Leap, Invision, IGN, TikTok, Hulu, Twitch, Starbucks, Loom, Plex, The Washington Post, Mr Beast, basement, Hashnode, Binance, Ticket Master, Devlieroo, AT&T, etc.

Companies Using Gatsby:

Nike, Figma, Digital Ocean, Hasura, Send Grid, Airbnb Engineering, Braun Canada, Snapchat, Tinder, Revoult, CIA, National Geographic UK, Cloudflare, Riot Games, Calendly, Little Caesars, etc.

Next vs Gatsby – The Similarities

As you compare the two popular frontend frameworks Next js vs Gatsby, there are certain similarities that come across, here are they:

  • React-based frontend frameworks
  • Supports Static Site Generation, Server-Side Rendering, and Client-Side Rendering
  • Extensive documentation and tutorials
  • Inbuilt performance and caching
  • Creation of high-performance websites
  • Dynamic web development
  • Hot Reloading feature
  • Incremental build model
  • SEO friendly with optimization
  • Inbuilt routing, code splitting, and optimization
  • Faster page loading speed
  • Code splitting and bundling
  • Page caching, internationalization
  • Image optimization
  • TypeScript support
  • Testing library compatibility


Next JS vs Gatsby: A Vivid Comparison

Parameters Next.js Gatsby
Overview Server-side rendering tool that lets users decide everything. It makes use of customizing extension plug-ins for an enhanced experience. An opinionated tool that tells you how to manage data. It makes use of themes, extensions, and plug-ins to offer an enhanced experience.
Application Size Medium, large, or enterprise-sized applications wherein data is updated often Small or personal-sized applications where data is not updated often
Use Cases eCommerce/Finance web applications, Web apps/portals with personalization, applications with user authentication and interactions, client-side rendered applications, large multi-user websites, SaaS and B2B websites Static content websites, blog websites, marketing websites, company websites, static landing pages, progressive web applications, secure websites, portfolio websites, documentation websites, headless CMS-compatible websites
Deferred Rending Incremental Static Regeneration (ISR) Deferred Static Generation (DSG)
Data Handling May use any medium to get data, allows developers to manage data the way they want, needs a backend to provide data Uses GraphQL to get data, allows developers to fetch the data they need, with a rich collection of plug-ins, depends on APIs and third parties for data
Content Management System Fetching data from CMS a little tough since it does not have a well-developed plug-in ecosystem Easy connect, update, and edit to CMS through variety of plug-ins
Plug-in Ecosystem No Yes
Support for Rendering Supports static and dynamic rendering, renders pages via SSR usage Supports static rendering, generates HTML pages during the build time with SSG
 File Storage Requires server deployment Makes use of CDN
HTML/CSS/JS Creation Generates HTML/JS/CSS at runtime Generates HTML/JS/CSS at build time
Requirement of Server Needs a server for its functioning Can run even in the absence of a server
Extensibility Features a wide range of tools and libraries that come with various features such as page routing, code splitting, and image optimization. Has a wide set of tools and plug-ins that can be used for extended functionalities with pre-configured themes, TypeScript compilers, compressed images, etc.
Scalability A perfect framework for enterprise use Perfect for static web pages and small-sized apps
Data Security need to set servers up with databases, maintenance, etc., for infrastructure Assists developers to create fast web apps by simply prerendering on a build and using a CDN
GraphQL Support Next doesn’t push GraphQL, so developers have a bit more flexibility Since Gatsby is built on GraphQL, data fetching happens through GraphQL queries

Gatsby vs Next – When to Use What?

Choose Gatsby when – 

  • There is a need for only static rendering
  • You need a quick website with plug-ins
  • You are already well-versed in React
  • You are in need of a wider range of plug-ins and resources
  • You plan to create a website with static content
  • There is a need to work with different data sources and plug-ins
  • You want to work on a smaller project that is stable and easy to setup
  • There is a small application to be developed with less development time

Choose Next js when – 

  • There is a need for both static and dynamic rendering
  • You need to choose server-side rendering
  • You need a scalable website that can be installed in a serverless environment
  • You need to use more JavaScript and its features
  • You plan to create a scalable website with dynamic content
  • There is a need for light weight API surface for dynamic and static content
  • You want to create a large-scale app for managing lots of content and data
  • The project needs to handle lots of content that are growing incrementally

Also Read: Next js vs React: Comparing Two Popular Frontend Frameworks

Choosing Between Gatsby vs Next js – Summing It Up

Both frameworks, Next js vs Gatsby, are exceptional tools for creating React-based applications. And when it comes to choosing between the two, there are other parameters that play an important role – project requirements, project deadlines and timelines, estimated budget requirements, available skilled resources, and time for a learning curve.

Both offer a great deal of benefits for developers and involved stakeholders. Whichever you select, will be a good option in terms of its salient features and connectivity with your selected databases and libraries to offer a high-performance site/application. Go on and decide – it will be a lucrative choice!


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