NextJS vs. Gatsby

October 21, 2022

Next JS is a modern JavaScript framework for building web apps. Gatsby is a modern JavaScript UI toolkit for building apps with the same ease and simplicity of traditional HTML. Read more.


React. js for front-end development has been around for a long time, and Next JS and Gatsby are currently in competition. Although React has evolved beyond front-end development, its ecosystem has evolved far beyond the initial concept. There are now several frameworks, libraries, and tools available to build mobile, desktop, VR, and gaming apps. Among React developers and enthusiasts, NextJS and Gatsby are two of the most popular frameworks. 

Static rendering and server-side rendering are two concepts we will encounter as we gain insight into these two React frameworks. Since Gatsby is a tool for creating static websites. Next. JS primarily performs as a server-side render tool. 

Firstly, let’s examine server-side and static rendering. 

Table of ContentGatsby
Similarity between both
NextJS vs. Gatsby
Use Cases of both

Server-side rendering

Server rendering in the context of React refers to the process of producing HTML as demanded by each request. 

depiction of server side rendering, Nextjs vs. gatsby

Static rendering

At build time, a static site rendering only occurs once. There is no server involved. As a result, you must create a single HTML file for each page that the user can view beforehand. 

What is Gatsby?

A free, open-source framework based on React called Gatsby. js is used to create quick and adaptable web applications. It makes use of React, Webpack, and GraphQL features to assist us in swiftly creating websites that are both fast and SEO-friendly. 

Although Gatsby. js has changed over time, at its core it is still a React framework for static site generation (SSG). 

Combining this with built-in PWA support makes it possible to achieve instant loading times by prefetching the assets required for subsequent pages and only loading the critical assets on the initial load. 

Gatsby has its ecosystem of starters, plugins, and ready-to-use themes while being a React-based creation. It offers a developer-friendly static site generator by default and combines the greatest features of GraphQL, React, and react-router. 

What is NextJS?

A NodeJS-based React development framework called NextJS is free and open-source. Up until NextJS 9. 3, which included SSG, NextJS prerendered its web pages using server-side rendering (SSR). 

Now that Next. js is available, you may choose between SSG and SSR for how you wish to prerender your pages. 

Parallels between NextJs and Gatsby

  • Both of them are React frameworks. 
  • Both are implemented when there is a need for developing websites that are quick, powerful, and SEO friendly, which is why it is good to hire Reactjs developer for website development.
  • Both of them have comprehensive documentation.
  • The performance-catching feature of Gatsby and NextJS eliminates the need to split code and optimize it. With built-in routing, developers create new pages and split the code by default based on each page. 
  • Next. js and Gatsby feature an incremental build methodology that enables developers to make content changes without updating the entire page. 

NextJS Vs. Gatsby

Data handling


Gatsby instructs users on how to handle data in their app when it comes to data handling. The way this framework handles image data is one area where it deserves praise. A wide library of plugins that Gatsby includes allows for feature expansion. You can, for instance, resize the images your visitors see at build time with Gatsby images. Additionally, it has lazy-loading capabilities. 


On data handling, Next. js is a framework that completely leaves it up to the developer. It implies that they can determine how to manage data based on their own design. Similar to Gatsby, you must build up a backend solution in Next. js that can manage the data and content that are used to create dynamic pages. Therefore, if there are minimal data changes, you should use Gatsby over Next. js, but if users frequently demand data updates, Next. js is the better choice. 

Plugins and ecosystem


Gatsby heavily relies on its user-created plugins, which are accessible to everyone and may be used in applications for tasks like sourcing and converting data or designing a website. 

Basically, Gatsby makes using templates to build new websites incredibly simple. For instance, you could use the gatsby-source-filesystem plugin to source all your blog entries to GraphQL and then query them on your website if you want to when establishing a blog using Markdown. 


Since there isn’t a plugin community for NextJS like there is for Gatsby, the developer must complete all of this work by themselves. You must source and convert the data yourself if you want a blog that uses Markdown. Therefore, NextJS is ideal if you really do not bother undertaking this sort of task or just want complete control over the data sourcing procedure as well as the finer points of the code. 

Page rendering


Gatsby is a static site generator since it produces HTML pages while it is being built. It does dispense the necessity for a Node server to control rendering. If you wish to create a sizable website with numerous web pages and hundreds of HTML templates, it’s not an effective approach. 


In comparison, Next JS progressive web apps use SSR to render pages. For each request, you must install NPM and NodeJS to manage HTML rendering in execution. After the initial HTML has loaded, NextJS manages hydration to launch the application. 

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Because of how much Gatsby relies on plugins and other people’s work, finding a bug in the code can be very difficult for the developers. Your website may have issues and problems for a longer period if you don’t mind waiting for other people to fix a problem and release an update. Alternatively, you don’t mind participating in the open-source community and working to find solutions on your own. In Gatsby, you have an equal amount of control over the code and data sourcing. 


The methodology is simpler to use and comprehend when using NextJS. You don’t have to wait for fixes to be pushed out if you use it. Without a doubt, a superior choice in terms of a customized approach and troubleshooting. 



Gatsby is a wonderful option for relatively small static sites and personal blogs, but if app sizes grow in the future, they may not create at all or build fairly slowly. Look at the Scaling issue on the Gatsby documentation page; it states that an app is deemed massive if it contains more than 100k pages or when a lot of data is retrieved from the GraphQL API. Gatsby’s integration with GraphQL enables users to easily generate static web pages, though they might not scale well. 


On the other hand, NextJS, a framework built with Node.js, is well-suited for enterprise development due to its ability to meet the most recent web development standards and serve customized content to logged-in users.

Data security


The necessary information in Gatsby’s instance is only obtained from the source. It is quite secure. 


The server still contains data despite NextJS CMS and APIs having private features. As a result, there are possibilities for misuse. 



Gatsby’s extensive network of plugins helps coders to provide the app with any feature they want. The Gatsby plugin library includes features like installing the TypeScript compiler, compressing graphics, using a pre-built theme, and more. You can easily design and host your own customization options and features in the plugin library if you so wish. 


Given that Vercel, a well-known deployment and collaboration platform, built NextJS, this framework has a fantastic ecosystem of partner solutions. However, some features that were previously challenging to dynamically add to React, such as image optimization, page routing, and code splitting, come standard with NextJS. Additionally, NextJS integrates easily with other apps and libraries that you already utilize for creating, hosting, and designing, making it simple to add them to your tech stack. 


In NextJS, you must configure servers with maintenance, databases, and so on. In Gatsby, on the contrary, you can simply prerender on a build and leverage a CDN to construct ultrafast webpages. 

Use cases


Gatsby is the ruler of basic, static websites.  A static website is made up of a collection of separate HTML pages, each representing a physical web page. A personal blog is a perfect example of this type of website. There will be no real-time updates, so various visitors will see the same content. 

When the content remains constant and the amount of pages on the website is predetermined, Gatsby is the top pick. It offers a diverse set of databases, REST APIs, CMS systems, and GraphQL. Because Gatsby can decouple the website and the data, anyone on your team who does not have coding skills can update the web page data and build it during runtime. 

Use Gatsby:

  • When creating static content website
  • Portfolio websites or personal blogs
  • Websites that are SEO-friendly
  • Websites that support headless CMS


If you intend to build a website with many users generating their own profiles and discussing the page content, NextJS is the best choice. 

Furthermore, huge websites require you to show updated and original content to registered users. SSR is one of the numerous Next JS benefits to consider when dealing with many users based on authentication. When users visit the website, they will see the proper information. 

NextJS also outperforms Gatsby when it comes to designing hybrid web apps that must manage data to the CSR as well as render the UI using SSR. 

Use NextJS

  • Client-side apps that are rendered
  • Large eCommerce sites
  • Websites with substantial users
  • B2B and SaaS websites


To summarize the Gatsby vs NextJS debate, we can claim that both frameworks have grown much closer than they were previously. Gatsby has undergone numerous changes and now supports more client-side functionalities such as SSR and DSG. As a result, choosing one over the other has grown more difficult. After all, it all comes down to what you want and desire in your project. 

To give a brief, NextJS is appropriate for apps with higher functionalities and traffic, whereas Gatsby is better suited for small-scale, static websites.

Frequently asked questions

NextJS or Gatsby: which is preferable?

Until recently, there were significant distinctions between NextJS and Gatsby that allowed developers to readily choose one of the two for their use case. However, recent upgrades, such as Gatsby’s introduction of Server-Side Rendering among other features, have brought the two frameworks considerably closer together. And Next’s recent release of on-demand Incremental Static Regeneration has pulled the two even closer together, leaving this decision up to the developer in a few crucial areas. 

Which is significantly faster, NextJS or Gatsby?

When comparing Gatsby to Next, Gatsby is quick since this framework prefetches the content in the background even before the user performs browser requests. This data prefetching speeds up your website.

Is NextJS a backend framework?

Yes, we can build full-stack React applications with this framework. NextJS acts as the backend for the app’s server-side view, and it functions as the front-end for client-side features, meanwhile React for front-end is anyday a good choice.

What distinguishes NextJS from React?

NextJS is a framework built on React, whereas ReactJS is an open-source JavaScript library created and supported by Facebook. NextJS is used to build web apps and handle server-side rendering, while ReactJS concentrates on rendering to the DOM. 

Examples when NextJS is used

  • Hulu
  • Docker
  • Hashnode
  • PlayStation Competition Center

Examples when Gatsby is used

  • Digital Ocean
  • SendGrid
  • Hasura
  • Car Loans Canada

Jinesh Shah



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