Understanding the Basics of Next.js: A Beginner’s Guide Link to heading

Next.js is a popular React framework that enables developers to build server-side rendered and statically generated web applications. It is known for its simplicity, performance, and developer experience. In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of Next.js, including its core features, how to set up a project, and provide some practical code examples to get you started.

Why Choose Next.js? Link to heading

Next.js offers several advantages over plain React applications, including:

  • Server-Side Rendering (SSR): Improves performance and SEO by rendering pages on the server.
  • Static Site Generation (SSG): Generates static HTML at build time, which can be served by a CDN.
  • API Routes: Allows you to create backend endpoints within your Next.js application.
  • File-Based Routing: Simplifies routing by using the file system to define routes.
  • Built-In CSS and Sass Support: Easily integrate CSS and Sass for styling your components.

Getting Started with Next.js Link to heading

To start a Next.js project, you need to have Node.js and npm (or yarn) installed on your machine. Follow these steps to create a new Next.js application:

  1. Install Node.js: If you haven’t installed Node.js yet, download it from the official website.

  2. Create a New Next.js Project:

    npx create-next-app my-nextjs-app
    cd my-nextjs-app
    npm run dev
  3. Open Your Project: Navigate to http://localhost:3000 in your browser to see your new Next.js application running.

Understanding the Project Structure Link to heading

After creating a Next.js project, you’ll notice a specific project structure:

  • pages/: This directory contains all the application routes. Each file in this folder corresponds to a route.
  • public/: This folder is used to store static assets like images, fonts, etc.
  • styles/: This directory contains global styles and component-specific styles.

Creating Your First Page Link to heading

Let’s create a simple page in our Next.js application. Inside the pages/ directory, create a new file called about.js:

// pages/about.js
import React from 'react';

const About = () => {
  return (
      <h1>About Us</h1>
      <p>Welcome to the about page of our Next.js application.</p>

export default About;

Now, navigate to http://localhost:3000/about in your browser, and you should see the “About Us” page.

Linking Between Pages Link to heading

Next.js provides a built-in <Link> component to navigate between pages. Let’s add a link to the “About Us” page from the homepage:

// pages/index.js
import React from 'react';
import Link from 'next/link';

const Home = () => {
  return (
      <h1>Welcome to Next.js!</h1>
        <Link href="/about">
          <a>Go to About Us</a>

export default Home;

Adding CSS to Your Project Link to heading

Next.js supports CSS out of the box. You can create a global stylesheet or use CSS modules for component-level styles.

To create a global stylesheet, add a styles/globals.css file and import it in pages/_app.js:

/* styles/globals.css */
body {
  font-family: Arial, sans-serif;
// pages/_app.js
import '../styles/globals.css';

function MyApp({ Component, pageProps }) {
  return <Component {...pageProps} />;

export default MyApp;

Using API Routes Link to heading

Next.js allows you to create API routes within the pages/api/ directory. Let’s create a simple API endpoint that returns a greeting message:

// pages/api/hello.js
export default function handler(req, res) {
  res.status(200).json({ message: 'Hello, world!' });

You can access this API endpoint at http://localhost:3000/api/hello.

Deploying Your Next.js Application Link to heading

Next.js applications can be deployed on various platforms, including Vercel, which is the company behind Next.js. Vercel offers seamless integration and optimized performance for Next.js applications.

To deploy your application on Vercel:

  1. Install Vercel CLI:

    npm install -g vercel
  2. Deploy Your Application:


Follow the prompts to complete the deployment process.

Conclusion Link to heading

Next.js is a powerful framework that simplifies the development of React applications with features like server-side rendering, static site generation, and API routes. By following this guide, you should have a basic understanding of how to set up and build a Next.js application. Explore the Next.js documentation for more advanced features and best practices.

References Link to heading

  1. Next.js Documentation
  2. React Documentation
  3. Vercel

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