React Server-Side Rendering: What It Is and How to Use It

React is a popular JavaScript library used for building user interfaces. While React is often used to build client-side applications, it can also be used for server-side rendering. In this article, we’ll explore what server-side rendering is, why you might want to use it, and how to implement it with React.

What is Server-Side Rendering?

Server-side rendering (SSR) is a technique for rendering web pages on the server rather than in the browser. With SSR, the server sends a fully rendered HTML page to the browser, which can improve page load times and provide better SEO. SSR is particularly useful for websites with complex user interfaces or dynamic content.

Why Use Server-Side Rendering with React?

There are several reasons why you might want to use server-side rendering with React:

  1. Improved Performance: By rendering your React components on the server, you can reduce the amount of JavaScript that needs to be downloaded and executed in the browser, improving performance and page load times.
  2. Better SEO: Search engines can more easily index server-rendered pages, leading to better SEO and improved search engine rankings.
  3. Improved User Experience: By rendering the initial content on the server, users can see the content more quickly and don’t have to wait for JavaScript to load before the page is usable.

How to Implement Server-Side Rendering with React

To implement server-side rendering with React, you’ll need to use a Node.js server and a rendering engine. Here are the steps to get started:

Step 1: Set up a Node.js server

First, you’ll need to set up a Node.js server that can render your React components. You can use a popular web framework like Express.js or Hapi.js to create your server. Once you have your server set up, you can define routes and handle requests for your React components.

Step 2: Choose a Rendering Engine

There are several rendering engines you can use to render your React components on the server. Some popular options include:

  • React DOM Server: The official rendering engine from the React team. It can be used to render your React components to HTML on the server.
  • Next.js: A popular framework for building server-rendered React applications. It includes a rendering engine and provides a simple way to set up server-side rendering.

Step 3: Render Your Components on the Server

Once you have your server set up and a rendering engine in place, you can render your React components on the server. To do this, you’ll need to use the rendering engine to render your components to HTML and send the HTML to the browser.

Here’s an example of how to use React DOM Server to render a React component on the server:

import React from 'react';
import { renderToString } from 'react-dom/server';

function App() {
  return (
    <div>Hello, World!</div>

app.get('/', (req, res) => {
  const html = renderToString(<App />);
    <!DOCTYPE html>
        <title>My Server-Side Rendered React App</title>
        <div id="app">${html}</div>
        <script src="client.js"></script>

In this example, we’re using React DOM Server’s renderToString method to render our App component to HTML on the server. We then send the HTML to the browser in response to a request for the root URL.


Server-side rendering can provide significant performance benefits and better SEO for your React applications. By using a Node.js server and a rendering engine, you can render your React components on the server and send fully rendered HTML to the browser. This can lead to faster page load times, improved user experience, and better search engine rankings.

While server-side rendering can be more complex than client-side rendering, it’s a powerful technique that can be used to create high-performance, SEO-friendly React applications. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can get started with server-side rendering and take your React applications to the next level.