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Drawing the Line: When to Use Server and Client Components in Your Next.js App


Next.js is a powerful framework for building modern web applications. It excels at both server-side rendering (SSR) and client-side rendering (CSR), offering you the flexibility to optimize performance and user experience. Recently, Next.js introduced Server Components and Client Components, providing more granular control over your application's rendering strategy.

This blog post will guide you through understanding these components, their strengths, and when to leverage each one effectively in your Next.js projects.

Understanding Server and Client in Next.js

In web development, the server refers to the computer in a data center that stores your application code and responds to user requests. The client is the user's web browser that fetches content from the server and displays it to the user.

Next.js maintains two separate module graphs under the hood. One graph holds all the Server Components, which are rendered on the server. The other graph contains Client Components, which are initially rendered on the server but can leverage client-side JavaScript for interactivity.

Server Components in Next.js

Every component in Next.js is initially considered a Server Component by default. This means it's rendered on the server and sent to the browser as pre-rendered HTML. Server Components offer several advantages:

  • Improved SEO: Search engines can easily crawl and index the initial HTML content generated by the server.
  • Faster Initial Load: Users see the content instantly without waiting for JavaScript to download and execute.
  • Reduced Client-Side JavaScript: Less code running in the browser can lead to better performance.

Here's a simple example of a Server Component that displays a greeting message:

// server-component.js
export default function ServerComponent() {
  return (
    <h1>Hello from the Server!</h1>
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Client Components in Next.js

Client Components are ideal for situations where you need interactivity or complex UI elements that require client-side JavaScript manipulation.

To define a Client Component, we simply add the use client directive at the top of the file:

"use client"

// client-component.js
import { useState } from 'react'; // Import useState hook

export default function ClientComponent() {
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

  const handleClick = () => setCount(count + 1);

  return (
      <p>You clicked {count} times</p>
      <button onClick={handleClick}>Click me</button>
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The use client directive indicates the start of a Client Component. These components are initially rendered on the server using placeholders, and then hydrated with actual content on the client-side using the RSC Payload.

Here's when Client Components are your best bet:

  • Interactive elements like forms, user input, and real-time updates.
  • Complex UI components that rely on heavy client-side JavaScript libraries.
  • Content that requires user-specific data or personalization.

The example above demonstrates how to use the useState hook in a Client Component. This hook allows us to manage the state of the component (the count variable) and update it using the setCount function triggered by the button click. This state management happens entirely on the client-side.

Interleaving Server and Client Components

The beauty of Next.js lies in its ability to combine Server Components and Client Components within your application. You can nest Server Components inside Client Components using the children prop. However, keep in mind that nested Server Components within Client Components will require additional data fetching on the client-side.


By understanding Server Components and Client Components in Next.js, you're equipped to make informed decisions about where to use each type in your application. This strategic approach leads to performant, SEO-friendly, and interactive user experiences.

For a deeper dive into these concepts, refer to the official Next.js documentation:

Feel free to experiment with Server and Client Components in your Next.js projects and explore the possibilities they offer!

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Don't forget to like this post and share your thoughts or any additional insights you have on Server and Client Components in the comments below!

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