React Server Components vs Client Components in Next.js: Building High-Performance Web Applications

Mar 21, 2023·

4 min read

Next.js has become very popular among developers because it helps them make modern, high-performance web apps. In fact, the official documentation for React suggests using Next Js, which is a full-stack React framework that can be used to make simple or complex React apps. In this post, we'll talk about the main differences between React Server Components and client components in Next.js, as well as how you can use both to improve the speed and interactivity of your apps.

React Server Components: Server-Side Rendering (SSR) for Optimal Performance

React Server Components (RSC) have been introduced in the Next.js version 13 and aim to make React apps run faster by reducing the amount of code that needs to be run and data that needs to be fetched on the client side. RSCs are different from traditional React components because they run on the server and only send the rendered HTML and a small amount of JavaScript to handle interactions to the browser. Some of the advantages of using RSCs are:

  • Reduced bundle size: By rendering components on the server, you can avoid sending unnecessary JavaScript code to the client.

  • Improved performance: Since RSCs fetch data on the server, they can reduce the number of client-side API calls, resulting in faster initial load times.

  • Enhanced SEO: Server-rendered content is generally more SEO-friendly, as search engine crawlers can more easily parse and index the content.

React Client Components

React Client Components are great at making web apps interactive, letting users interact with the content in different ways such as live searching, collapsible sections and accordions, modals and pop-ups, among others. This interactivity, however, comes at the cost of a bigger JavaScript bundle and a longer time for the first page to load. The best uses for Client Components are:

  • Highly interactive user interfaces: For components that require complex animations or frequent user interactions, Client Components can provide a smooth, responsive experience.

  • Progressive enhancement: By using Client Components, you can selectively enhance parts of your application, only downloading and executing code when needed.

  • Real-time updates: Client Components enable real-time data fetching and updates, making them suitable for applications like chat applications, dashboards, and other data-driven interfaces.

Combining React Server Components and Client Components in Next.js

Next.js makes it easy to combine React Server Components and Client Components to create a high-performance web application. To leverage the best of both worlds, consider the following guidelines:

  1. Use React Server Components for static content and data fetching: When you have static content or components that fetch data from external sources, RSCs can significantly reduce the amount of JavaScript sent to the client and improve performance.

  2. Use Client Components for interactivity and dynamic content: For components that require user interactions or real-time updates, opt for traditional Client Components to provide the most engaging user experience.

  3. Optimize data fetching: Utilize Next.jsdata fetching methods like getStaticProps, getServerSideProps, and getInitialProps to optimize data fetching based on the specific requirements of your application.

How to Differentiate between React Server and Client Components

You may ask yourself, how do I differentiate between the two? I understand how complex the two terms may sound, especially to a beginner. However, let me make it easier for you.

You can tell the difference between React Server Components and React Client Components by how they are imported, the file extension they use, and the features they implement. Here's a simple example that shows how the two are different:

In Next 13, all components incorporated in the app directory are React Server Components by default. This enables you to effortlessly adopt Server Components, ensuring excellent performance right from the start without any additional effort.

However, to use client components, one imports the line 'use client'; before any imports are made on the component. The following example illustrates that.

'use client';
import { useState } from 'react';

export default function MyClientComponent() {

  const [count, setCount] = useState(0);
  return (
      <p>You clicked {count} times</p>
      <button onClick={() => setCount(count + 1)}>Click me</button>


By putting together React Server Components and Client Components, Next.js has made it very easy to make high-performance web apps. By knowing the pros and cons of both types of components and using them wisely, you can make applications that are fast, responsive, and scalable and can be used in many ways. As React Server Components continue to grow and change, we can expect even more performance improvements and cool new features in the future.