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Njabulo Majozi
Njabulo Majozi

Posted on • Originally published at

NextAuth.js over Clerk

The prior article examined how Clerk may simplify user authentication for Next.js applications. Clerk provides a handy managed service option, but it's wise to weigh your options before making a choice. Today, we'll examine and contrast Clerk and NextAuth.js, two more well-liked authentication libraries for Next.js, to help you decide which is ideal for your project.

Why Next Auth instead of Clerk?

  • Control and Flexibility
    • Self-Hosted vs. Managed Service: NextAuth enables you to fully self-host the authentication flow, giving you more control over user data and security procedures. Conversely, Clerk is a managed service, meaning that its servers hold your user data.
    • Customization: NextAuth provides more flexibility, such as customizing the authentication procedure using callbacks, which are flexible enough to adjust to your unique requirements. The clerk's experience is more preconfigured, but you can still get some flexibility using webhooks
  • Community and Support:
    • Larger Community: NextAuth benefits from a larger and more active developer community. You'll find more resources, tutorials, and support online if you encounter issues. Clerk, a relatively newer service, might have a smaller support pool.
    • Integration Flexibility: NextAuth integrates seamlessly with various social providers and other authentication services. You can leverage existing libraries and solutions within your development stack.
  • Cost:
    • Open-Source vs. Freemium: NextAuth is an open-source library with no direct cost for its basic functionalities. Clerk offers a free tier with limitations and paid plans for additional features and user management capabilities.

Setting Up Next Auth in Next.js

  • Install NextAuth

    npm install next-auth
  • Configure NextAuth

    • Server

      NextAuth.js will handle all queries to /api/auth/* (signIn, callback, signOut, etc.) automatically.

      import NextAuth from "next-auth";
      import GoogleProvider from 'next-auth/providers/google';
      export const authOptions = {
        providers: [
            clientId: process.env.GOOGLE_CLIENT_ID,
            clientSecret: process.env.GOOGLE_CLIENT_SECRET
      export default NextAuth(authOptions)
    • Client

      • Provider

        import { SessionProvider } from "next-auth/react"
        export default function App({
          Component, pageProps: { session, ...pageProps }
        }) {
          return (
            <SessionProvider session={session}>
              <Component {...pageProps}/>
      • Consumer

        import { useSession, signIn, signOut } from "next-auth/react"
        export default function Component() {
          const { data: session } = useSession()
          if(session) {
            return <>
              Signed in as {} <br/>
              <button onClick={() => signOut()}>Sign out</button>
          return <>
            Not signed in <br/>
            <button onClick={() => signIn()}>Sign in</button>

    NextAuth.js is a compelling alternative to Clerk, offering developers greater control, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. Its open-source nature, extensive community support, and seamless integration capabilities make it an attractive choice for Next.js applications. Whether you're looking for a self-hosted solution or prefer a managed service, NextAuth.js provides a robust and customizable authentication framework to meet your project's needs.

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