Last Updated: January 19, 2024
Gatsby vs Next.js
Published On: January 19, 2024

Blog Summary: In this blog we have shortlisted two solutions Gatsby and Next.js for businesses finding it difficult to finalize their choice between two React-based frameworks. Here, comparing these two popular frameworks, this blog tries to clear your confusion and helps you choose the best fit for your web application.

Gatsby and Next.js are two frameworks which have dominated the React ecosystem with an array of features and extended libraries. With their increasing popularity in the market, businesses often find it challenging to choose the right one from these two frameworks for developing web applications.

It’s Gatsby vs Next.js – There comes a real challenge for businesses, aiming to achieve desired success. The introduction of Gatsby 5 has delivered fruitful results by saving development time and becoming the top-pick for developers.

Next.js, on the other hand, has not been so far in ranking as it has been 6th most popular framework than previously being 11th in 2022, as per stack overflow survey.

In this scenario, approaching a trusted web development company can prove to be a worthy move. The right development partner can help you pick the right framework that aligns with your requirements.

This blog will work as your ultimate guide to find the top frontend framework for your project. Let’s dig out more about Gatsby and Next.js in this detailed comparison.

What is Next.js?

Next.js is an open source framework commonly used for developing server-side rendered (SSR) or static websites. Its wide range of tools and libraries also aids developers in creating dynamic web pages.

With such tooling support, it is ideal for building highly performant websites. Businesses mostly go with this framework for developing hybrid apps, all thanks to its server side rendering capabilities.

If you find this as a suitable option for your company, it is recommended to use Next.js 13, a latest version, which has recently appeared in the market to help you complete the development of modern web application in less time.

Features of Next.js

1. Auto Code Splitting

Next.js offers automatic code splitting which runs the page using only essential JavaScript code and boosts performance by minimizing load times. It provides excellent user experience for your newly-built web application.

2. Hot Reload

Next.js offers an amazing feature, hot reload, for faster development of web applications as developers can check changes without reloading the page. This feature makes Next.js a go-to option for server side rendering.

Advantages of Next.js

1. Server Side Rendering

Next.js uses server side rendering for React components instead of relying on the client side. Such a process of pre-rendering pages on the server side leads to reduced load times and enhanced page performance. This use of SSR offers a great boost to your SEO techniques.

2. Higher Conversion Ratio

With Next.js, you can deliver a more user-friendly experience and faster load times. When users themselves find it easier to access your website, chances are they stay engaged. This further helps you lower bounce rates and eventually boost conversion rates as well.

3. Data Fetching

Next.js offers another amazing benefit of data fetching from any source without any server side coding requirement. Adding to that, you can have API routes for creating API endpoints within your web app. Notably, Next.js provides great support for API routes.

Disadvantages of Next.js

1. Offers Less Plugins

Plugins is the major con of this framework. Less plugins means you may not be able to add extra features while developing an application. This limited set of plugins can only lead to developing a new feature by yourself. Or else, you need to find a proper solution.

As a result, using Next.js can have app management issues that may stretch your development process.

2. Development Hassles

Using Next.js without partnering with a web development company can pile up many challenges. While developing Next.js products, you may need integration with tools such as MobX or Redux as it doesn’t have a state manager.

In short, if your team is not familiar with server side rendering, they need to understand it carefully before moving to the developing stage.

3. Upgrade Issues

Upgrading to the latest Next.js version could make or break your app development. Post upgradation, your developers might need code refactoring because of framework changes. This process can slow down your entire development cycle, resulting in expansion of the project timeline.

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What is Gatsby?

Gatsby is another open source framework utilized for developing rich and modern web applications. It is a static site generator which is faster and provides better security in web applications.

Gatsby aims to generate static pages in order to reduce loading times and boost performance using a combination of React and GraphQL. Apart from web page speed, this React-based framework offers a large ecosystem consisting of tools, plugins and libraries, which helps your developers to integrate with multiple data sources.

If your company needs a React-backed static site generator to develop high performance websites, Gatsby should be your easy pick.

Features of Gatsby

1. Performance-oriented

Gatsby is known for creating stunning, fast and performant websites as it uses image optimization to quickly open high resolution images.

Also, it utilizes combined power of React and GraphQL that leads to improved speed of your website. Performance wise, Gatsby is the best buy for your website.

2. Data Availability

Gatsby consists of GraphQL that can be easily integrated into various sources and APIs. With data availability, it helps developers get only required data for each page.

Thus, there is no need for manual integration as developers can access ready-to-use themes and other third-party services.

3. Large Community

Being in the market for a long time, Gatsby has a growing developers community that contributes in improving the application. With more than thousand of plugins available, it is likely that you will get whichever features you want to add in your web application.

This is because most features already exist for web developers.

4. Minimized Hosting Cost

With Gatsby, you don’t need to spend more money while hosting a website. It doesn’t need servers or physical infrastructure. Simply use a content delivery network (CDN) for hosting a website at little to no cost. All possible because of Gatsby working as a static site generator.

Advantages of Gatsby

1. Superfast Speed

Gatsby minimizes loading times in such a way that your website does not take more than usual time in loading. It consists of static HTML pages that offer excellent performance for visitors. You usually won’t get page loading issues with Gatsby.

2. SEO-driven

Being static site generators, Gatsby enhances SEO techniques that can be helpful for search engines to index a website more easily. Gatsby consists of only static content that helps your static sites to load faster.

3. Image Automation

Responsive images are another benefit of using Gatsby in an architecture while developing web apps. It makes sure images do not take more time to load even if they consist of high resolutions. Gatsby not only automates picture generation but also helps you serve lazy-loading images.

4. CMS Integration

Gatsby provides plugin support in such a way that it is easier to fetch content from any CMSs like WordPress and Drupal. That’s how easy it is to connect with any CMS using a plugin.

Disadvantages of Gatsby

1. Debugging Issues

Gatsby has a major concern of debugging. In case of troubleshooting, it would be challenging to get rid of errors due to Gatsby sites complexity. This may lead to delay in identifying and resolving errors.

2. Dynamic Content

As you are now aware that Gatsby includes dynamic content in your web application. It is usually difficult to manage content which often changes in Gatsby. With Gatsby, changes are likely to appear after a delay of a minute or two.

3. Plugin Fragmentation

Although Gatsby consists of a large ecosystem, you may find some plugins are not functional or having low quality. Plugin fragmentation could lead to costly delays as plugins you need are still being used by others.

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Gatsby vs Next.js: Detailed Comparison

Gatsby is a more preferred choice for static web pages, whereas Next.js is utilized for universal apps that are likely to take more development time. At first glance, you may find similarities between these two, but, in fact, they are different in terms of data handling and page rendering process.

First, let us look at similarities before we discuss their differences:

Gatsby vs Next.js: Similarities

1. Community

Gatsby and Next.js have got a large community and support. Gatsby has an active community while Next.js also has an ever-growing developer’s community.

This means developers can find it easier to fetch necessary query data and resources at any stage of development. Notably, Gatsby’s community is more stable than Next.js, which is still expanding day by day.

Next.js, consisting of Vercel, a hosting platform, has garnered slightly more likes from web developers because of easy accessible and compatible tooling support. Since both frameworks are more or less equal in terms of community support, developers just need to be familiar with React.

2. Price

Another factor in the form of similarities is pricing. Whether you opt for Gatsby or Next.js, both of them are open source and free. Your company does not need to purchase any paid subscriptions or trial versions for a limited period to use them.

Both these frameworks excel as far as pricing is concerned and aids your developing team to fulfill project requirements. Eventually, helping your organization to spend less on resources and achieve the project timeline.

3. SEO

Both Gatsby and Next.js are SEO-friendly. They help your website get easily indexed by search engines like Google or Bing. Gatsby includes static HTML pages for site optimization.

Next.js, on the other hand, relies on server side rendering for web page indexation. Hence, Gatsby and Next.js both are capable of boosting performance of your website by minimizing the initial load times.

In short, either using server-rendered contents or creating static HTML pages, both frameworks provide excellent SEO support for React-based web applications.

Here, Next.js becomes more useful because of its dynamic content used to access web pages. Apart from this, both are on the same page.

4. Fast Refresh

Fast refresh is the prominent benefit that you get while using Gatsby as well as Next.js. Either of these frameworks you choose, it gives you immediate feedback as soon as changes are made in React components.

This allows developers to check feedback without refreshing or losing the current state. With fast refresh enabled, it pops up an error message in case something went wrong in the code.

Thus, providing an outstanding experience in development stages. This feature, fast refresh, comes default in Gatsby and Next.js, which leads to faster web app development.

Now you know the similarities between Gatsby and Next.js, it’s time to find out what the differences are.

Gatsby vs Next.js: Differences

When you have to pick any one from these frameworks, it is also crucial to shed some light on the differences that actually sets them apart. This further helps you to select the ideal framework for your website.

1. Learning Curve

Even though developer’s familiarity with React are enough, GraphQL addition in Gatsby offers a great learning curve. A GraphQL data layer in Gatsby can be more difficult to deal with than Next.js.

Therefore, developers need to be aware of both React and GraphQL while using Gatsby in order to build essential features for your website. Once they are familiar with GraphQL, it is relatively easier to create many things without lengthy code work.

On the flip side, Next.js doesn’t offer a similar learning curve. Next.js has been available in the market for a long time, which means most developers are familiar with this framework.

Understanding of React will be more than enough for Next.js as it doesn’t have complexity like its competitors. Using Next.js what really matters is being clear of server-side rendering methods.

2. Page Rendering Techniques

Page rendering methods are completely different in Gatsby and Next.js even though they are known for their improved performance. Static page rendering used in Gatsby ensures pre-rendering of pages during the build time to boost website performance.

But, it’s not the similar case with Next.js. This is because Next.js relies on a traditional method, server-side rendering that could be slower than Gatsby.

Next.js can be a suitable framework if you have HTML pages and subpages in a large number. It will also ask you to install Node.js to manage rendering of HTML pages.

Otherwise, choosing Gatsby as a static site generator is the right choice as it does not require a Node server.

To keep it simple, Gatsby makes use of a static page rendering method for increased performance, whereas Next.js utilizes SSR that may have an adverse impact on website performance.

3. Handling of Data

Gatsby and Next.js both have different approaches in fetching and managing important data. While Gatsby assists you in fetching data with the help of GraphQL, Next.js leaves the choice up to the developer.

In this case, Gatsby has an edge as it aids developers to only fetch data which are actually required. Such things can’t be said for Next.js as developers can create web development architecture by extracting data via pre-rendering or SSR methods.

Since the difference lies in handling data for both frameworks of web development, scalability is the real concern that should not be avoided. Gatsby allows you to host data on CDN without expanding infrastructure.

In contrast, Next.js’ SSR can accommodate multiple servers, providing better scalability options for your web app. Additionally, Gatsby can better deal with remote image data as it supports image optimization. Next.js tries to compress the image size in order to level up the performance.

When to Use Next.js Over Gatsby?

Next.js can be preferred over Gatsby when you are working on a large-scale project. This is because you are likely to have hefty data and content which can be difficult to manage using Gatsby, ultimately resulting in project complexity.

Therefore, it’s advisable to go for Next.js where you don’t have to worry about adding more content in future. Next.js will bring enhanced flexibility by combining its features with headless CMS.

If your business needs an online store to meet growing user demands, then considering Next.js for building a dynamic web application can be worthy.

With Next.js being a part of the tech stack, your modern website can prove to be a gamechanger in terms of business reputation and profitability. The reason is Next.js makes more SEO-friendly websites along with fast refresh.

When you are looking for a React framework to create server-rendered and static pages, considering Next.js will be a great idea.

Use Cases for Next.js

Next.js is a widely used framework for developing large-size applications. Major companies like Github, Twilio, Slack and Netflix are heavily relying on Next.js to manage their ever-changing apps.

These companies have a lot of data and content which can be easily handled with Next.js. Such ability to deal with large-size data itself states why Next.js comes above all. It assists your developers to scale the web application without any extra effort.

A famous code hosting platform, Github prefers Next.js for faster and efficient working of their marketing websites. Similarly, Twilio has trusted Next.js for user interfaces in their application.

On the other hand, Slack, a team messaging platform, opts for Next.js to maintain large-scale data efficiently on their marketing website. Whereas, Netflix relies on Next.js as it provides out-of-the-box features for their web app.

When to Use Gatsby Over Next.js?

The short answer is whenever you work on a small-scale project and want your website to load in a blink of an eye. Also, in such cases, if consistency and stable performance matters to you, then opting for Gatsby will be the right move.

Secondly, if your developing team has expertise in React, then Gatsby will provide much-needed help in getting it started swiftly. Otherwise, Next.js would be a better choice for developers who are familiar with Vue.

Using Gatsby, your developers don’t need to build features from scratch as they can easily get an array of tools and plugins from a large ecosystem. The same can’t be said for Next.js as it offers limited features and developers require more time in developing the app.

In such scenarios, you should seriously consider Gatsby over Next.js. Gatsby will not only provide plugins and themes but also shorten the entire lifecycle of web app development.

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Use Cases for Gatsby

Gatsby exceeds the expectations of those companies that have requirements for smaller web applications. While many companies use it for posting personal blogs and other web pages, some of them rely on Gatsby for displaying their services and products to online buyers.

Additionally, Gatsby’s ecosystem is driven by a large developer community, which means you can add new features anytime to your website.

Well-known companies like Figma, SendGrid and IBM utilize Gatsby to build their scalable and consistently working websites. Similarly, Pizza Hut considers Gatsby to let online users give food orders from their website.

Notably, Adidas, a footwear company, also prefers Gatsby to develop a website for enhanced user shopping experience.

Conclusion

To sum it up, these two frameworks are quite different and choosing any one of them depends on your size of the project and its requirements. If you are building a website with a modern touch that needs more time in completion, then Next.js is a better option.

But, in case, your requirements are to create small content-based projects like blogs, marketing websites, or service webpages, then Gatsby is a straightforward choice. It has become more difficult to pick one because of the developing functionalities in both frameworks. Hence, you should understand project requirements and goals before making a decision.

FAQs

Yes, in some cases Gatsby can be preferred over Next.js. If you are seeking consistency and high stability, then Gatsby is the best choice. Also, it takes minimum time for app development, which means timely completion of your project. Developers use this framework while developing modern websites.

Of course, Gatsby is still a widely used framework in the React ecosystem as it aids developers in creating new web applications. In fact, developers opt for Gatsby over Next.js as it has a wide range of plugins available for better functionality of the application. Thus, Gatsby is still in more demand than what it was ever before.

When SEO optimization is your priority, Gatsby is way better than React as it offers static site generation capabilities that eventually helps search engines to index your website easily. Also, if you are looking for a performance-oriented framework, it's better to go for Gatsby instead of relying on React.
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Jayanti Katariya

Jayanti Katariya is the CEO of Moon Technolabs, a fast-growing IT solutions provider, with 18+ years of experience in the industry. Passionate about developing creative apps from a young age, he pursued an engineering degree to further this interest. Under his leadership, Moon Technolabs has helped numerous brands establish their online presence and he has also launched an invoicing software that assists businesses to streamline their financial operations.

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