React JS

Static Site Generation (SSG) vs. Server Side Rendering (SSR) in Next.js: How are they different?

April 12, 2024
11 min
SSG vs SSR in Next.js

Hey there, fellow tech enthusiast! 🚀

In the ever-evolving world of web development, the battle between different rendering methods continues to intrigue us. Today, we're diving deep into the realm of Static Site Generation (SSG) and Server-Side Rendering (SSR) in the context of Next.js, one of the most popular JavaScript frameworks out there.

By the end of this comprehensive guide, you'll not only understand the intricacies of SSG and SSR but also discover when and how to make the right choice for your web application. We'll also explore the impact of these choices on your website's SEO and user experience. So, grab your favorite coding beverage, and let's embark on this enlightening journey!

Understanding SSG and SSR

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details, let's ensure we're on the same page when it comes to SSG and SSR.

Static Site Generation (SSG): SSG is a method where web pages are pre-built at build time and served as static HTML files to clients. This approach offers several advantages, including improved performance and enhanced security.

Server-Side Rendering (SSR): SSR, on the other hand, involves generating web pages on the server in real-time before sending them to clients. It provides dynamic content loading and server control.

13 Key Differences between SSR and SSG

Feature / Output Static Site Generation (SSG) Server-Side Rendering (SSR)
Definition Generates static HTML pages at build time. Renders pages on the server in response to user requests.
Framework for Building Often used with Next.js, a popular React framework. Compatible with Next.js and other JavaScript frameworks.
Rebuild Time Occurs during the build process, rebuilding the entire site. Occurs on each user request, leading to dynamic content.
Use Case Ideal for largely static sites with little dynamic content. Suitable for web applications that require real-time updates.
User Request Server responds with pre-built HTML on user request. Server processes requests and generates HTML dynamically.
Request Time Generally shorter, as pre-built HTML is served. May have longer response times due to server-side rendering.
Single Page Application Well-suited for single-page applications. Appropriate for various application types, including SPAs.
SEO Benefits Provides SEO benefits, especially when paired with proper configurations. Offers SEO advantages but requires proper setup.
Client-Side Rendering Pre-rendered content is sent to the client. HTML is generated on the server and sent to the client.
Content Update Updates require rebuilding the entire site. Content updates can occur without rebuilding the site.
Recommended from Medium Medium recommends SSG for performance and SEO benefits. SSR is suitable for real-time web applications.
Server Control Limited server-side control, as content is pre-generated. Greater control over server-side logic and interactions.
Load Time Generally faster load times due to pre-built content. May have slightly longer load times, depending on server load.
Use of API Can utilize APIs during build time to fetch data. APIs can be used for fetching data during the server request.
Version Compatibility Compatible with various Next.js versions, including Next.js 13. Compatible with different Next.js versions and frameworks.

Advantages of SSG

1. SEO Benefits:

Static Site Generation (SSG) offers significant SEO benefits. In the battle of SSR vs. SSG in Next.js, SSG comes out on top for search engine optimization. SSG generates HTML files during build time, making content readily available to search engine crawlers. This results in faster indexing, improved search rankings, and ultimately better discoverability for your web app. It's a winning choice for ensuring your site gets noticed in the modern web landscape.

2. Improved Performance:

When it comes to performance, SSG takes the lead. Unlike SSR, where pages are generated on the server for every request, SSG generates static files during build time. This means users receive pre-rendered content, resulting in lightning-fast page loads and reduced server load. SSG's efficient approach optimizes performance and ensures a smooth user experience, making it ideal for modern web development.

3. Offline Support:

Static Site Generation (SSG) inherently provides offline support. By generating static files, your web app can be cached and served to users even when they're offline. This is a game-changer for ensuring your application remains accessible in various network conditions, contributing to a seamless user experience.

4. Enhanced Security:

In the realm of SSR vs. SSG, security is paramount. SSG, being built around the generation of static files, reduces the attack surface compared to SSR. With SSR, the server generates pages on every request, which can potentially expose vulnerabilities. SSG's approach limits server-side interactions, making it a more secure choice for building modern web applications.

In conclusion, SSG offers advantages in terms of SEO, performance, offline support, and security when compared to SSR in Next.js. Understanding the differences between these two rendering methods is crucial for making the best choice for your web app, and SSG often emerges as the preferred option for modern web development.

Advantages of SSR

1. Dynamic Content Loading:

In the context of Next.js, understanding the differences between ISR (Incremental Static Regeneration) and SSR (Server-Side Rendering) is crucial for dynamic content loading. ISR allows you to update specific pages at runtime, without regenerating the entire site. This feature is a game-changer for applications that require real-time data updates or dynamic content.

2. Real-time Updates:

ISR shines when it comes to real-time updates in your web application. With SSR, you typically render pages on every request, which can be resource-intensive. However, ISR generates pages per request, allowing for seamless real-time updates without overloading your server. This is especially valuable for single-page applications built using Next.js.

3. SEO Considerations:

When deciding between SSG (Static Site Generation) and SSR, SEO considerations come into play. SSR generates each page per request, ensuring that the latest content is always visible to search engines. On the other hand, SSG might cause delays in content updates. Understanding these trade-offs is vital for optimizing your site's search engine visibility.

4. Server Control:

Server control is a key aspect to consider when choosing between different rendering methods in Next.js. With SSR, the server generates pages on every request, giving you fine-grained control over the server-side logic. In contrast, SSG and ISR generate pages at build time and runtime, respectively, which may limit server-side control. Understanding which approach aligns with your application's needs is essential for effective server-side rendering.

Use Cases

Now that we've explored the advantages, let's delve into the practical side: when to choose SSG and when to opt for SSR.

When to Choose SSG

Static Content Websites: If your website's content doesn't change frequently, SSG is an excellent choice.
SEO-Critical Sites: SSG is perfect for websites where SEO is a top priority.
Optimal User Experience: For lightning-fast load times and a seamless user experience, SSG is hard to beat.

When to Choose SSR

Real-Time Data: If your application relies heavily on real-time data updates, SSR is the way to go.
Server Control: When you need control over server-side logic, SSR is your friend.
Dynamic Content: Applications with dynamic content that needs to be loaded on the fly benefit from SSR.

Performance Comparison

Load Time Metrics

To comprehensively evaluate performance, it's essential to delve into load time metrics.

SSG (Static Site Generation): SSG takes the lead here, offering swifter initial load times. This agility can be attributed to the pre-rendering of pages during the build process, resulting in readily available HTML pages. Users benefit from near-instant access to content, a game-changer for both user satisfaction and SEO rankings.

SSR (Server-Side Rendering): While SSR isn't quite as brisk as SSG, it outpaces client-side rendering (CSR) in terms of initial load times. SSR dynamically generates HTML content on the server, diminishing the client-side load. The outcome is a snappier experience compared to CSR, making SSR a remarkable choice for dynamic content that necessitates real-time updates.

Time to First Byte (TTFB)

Time to First Byte (TTFB) is a pivotal metric that gauges the duration for a user's browser to receive the initial byte of content from the server.

SSG (Static Site Generation): SSG excels here, boasting minimal TTFB since pages are pre-rendered during the build process. This results in virtually instantaneous content delivery to users.

SSR (Server-Side Rendering): SSR also demonstrates low TTFB, thanks to server-side rendering. The server dynamically generates HTML content, reducing the wait time for the first byte.

Client-Side Interactivity

Client-side interactivity is another crucial aspect of performance to consider.

SSG (Static Site Generation): While SSG excels in providing rapid load times, it typically requires client-side JavaScript for interactivity. This implies that user interactions may rely on additional client-side scripting.

SSR (Server-Side Rendering): SSR, on the other hand, offers server-side interactivity, diminishing the need for extensive client-side scripting. Nevertheless, particular interactive elements may still necessitate client-side JavaScript.

SEO Implications

SEO Advantages of SSG

When it comes to SEO, SSG holds a range of advantages:

Crawlability: Static HTML pages inherently possess SEO-friendly attributes, enabling search engines to efficiently crawl and index them.

Speed: Accelerated load times contribute to an improved user experience and positively affect search rankings.

Metadata Optimization: Static pages offer precise control over meta tags, enhancing SEO efforts.

Mitigating SSR's SEO Challenges

While SSR may present certain SEO challenges, there are strategies to surmount them:

Server-Side Rendering with Prerendering: Implementing SSR with prerendering allows the creation of static pages where necessary, combining the merits of both approaches.

SEO-Friendly Routing: Utilize SEO-friendly URLs and routes to enhance discoverability, ensuring that your SSR-powered site secures a strong standing in search engine results.

In the world of Next.js, an in-depth understanding of the trade-offs between SSG and SSR is fundamental for selecting the most suitable rendering method for your web application. Each approach brings its unique strengths, whether it's SSG's exceptional load times or SSR's server-side interactivity. By meticulously assessing your specific use case and contemplating factors such as user experience and SEO, you can make an informed decision on whether to opt for SSG or SSR, or even a blend of both. The choice of rendering method plays a pivotal role in the success of your web development project, so make your selection judiciously.

Implementation in Next.js

Let's explore how you can implement SSG and SSR in your Next.js application.

How to Implement SSG

Pre-rendering: In Next.js, pre-rendering can be achieved using the `getStaticProps` function. This allows you to fetch data at build time and generate static pages.

Data Fetching: Use `fetch` or other data-fetching methods to populate your pre-rendered pages with dynamic content.

How to Implement SSR

Server-side Rendering Process : Next.js simplifies SSR with the `getServerSideProps` function, enabling you to generate content on each request.

Handling Dynamic Data : Manage dynamic data by fetching it on the server side using "getServerSideProps".

Case Studies

To better understand the real-world applications of SSG and SSR in Next.js, let's explore some case studies.

Real-world Examples of SSG

E-commerce Websites: Static product listings and category pages that update periodically.
Blogs: Static blog posts with updated content, such as comments and social sharing counts.

Real-world Examples of SSR

Chat Applications: Real-time chat apps that require instant updates and server-side logic.
News Portals: News websites that deliver breaking news and updates to users.

CodeWalnut will be able to help you choose which is better for your project SSR or SSG?

When it comes to deciding between static site generation (SSG) and server-side rendering (SSR) for your project, CodeWalnut can provide valuable guidance. Understanding the differences between SSG and SSR is crucial. SSG generates static pages during the build process, resulting in fast-loading, prebuilt pages that are ideal for content that doesn't change frequently. On the other hand, SSR uses the server to render pages on every request, making it suitable for dynamic content.

CodeWalnut can help you evaluate your project's needs and recommend the best approach. Whether you need to use SSR for specific pages or prefer SSG for others, or even consider SSR with prerendering to blend the benefits of both, they have the expertise to assist you in making the right choice. Don't hesitate to consult CodeWalnut when navigating the SSR vs. SSG decision to ensure your project achieves optimal performance and SEO.


1. Which is better for SEO: SSG or SSR?

When it comes to SEO, the choice between SSG (Static Site Generation) and SSR (Server-Side Rendering) depends on your specific needs. SSG tends to be more SEO-friendly because it generates static HTML pages that search engines can easily crawl and index. However, you can combine SSR with prerendering to achieve the benefits of both approaches. With prerendering, SSR-generated pages can be precomputed and served as static HTML, improving SEO while maintaining dynamic functionality.

2. Can I use a combination of SSG and SSR in Next.js?

Yes, Next.js allows you to seamlessly blend SSG and SSR in your web application. You have the flexibility to choose the rendering method on a per-page basis, optimizing performance and SEO according to the unique requirements of each page.

3. What factors should I consider when choosing  between SSG and SSR?

Several factors should guide your choice between SSG and SSR. For content that doesn't change frequently and requires strong SEO, SSG is a great choice. SSG can offer fast loading times and prebuilt pages. On the other hand, if your site relies on real-time updates, interactive features, or dynamic data, SSR can provide a better user experience. The decision should align with your specific project goals and content

4. How can I optimize SEO for SSR-rendered pages in Next.js?

To optimize SEO for SSR-rendered pages in Next.js, pay attention to key aspects such as URL structure, meta tags, and content quality. Ensure that your URLs are descriptive and reflect the content of the page. Optimize meta titles and descriptions to include relevant keywords. Make sure the content is high-quality, informative, and well-structured. Additionally, consider implementing SSR with prerendering, as this can improve SEO by serving precomputed static HTML versions of dynamically generated pages to search engines, enhancing their crawlability and indexability.


Phew, we've covered a lot, haven't we? 🚀

In the world of web development, the choice between Static Site Generation (SSG) and Server-Side Rendering (SSR) in Next.js isn't always black and white. It depends on your specific use case, and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each approach is crucial.

Remember, SSG is the SEO superstar, while SSR excels in real-time updates and dynamic content. By choosing the right rendering method for your project and optimizing it for search engines, you can build web applications that deliver exceptional user experiences.

So, whether you're leaning towards SSG, SSR, or a mix of both, keep coding, keep experimenting, and keep delivering top-notch web experiences. And who knows, your next web project might just be the one that changes the digital landscape!

Key Takeaways

- SSG and SSR have their unique strengths; choose wisely based on your project's needs.
- SEO matters, and SSG offers a significant advantage in this regard.
- CodeWalnut and similar services can assist you in implementing SSR and SSG effectively.
- Don't forget to keep the user experience top-notch – speed and dynamic content matter!
- And always remember, in the ever-changing world of web development, the only constant is change itself. Embrace it with open arms! 🌐🚀

Now, go forth and code like the web wizard you are! 🖥️💡

Feature / Output Static Site Generation (SSG) Server-Side Rendering (SSR)
Definition Generates static HTML pages at build time. Renders pages on the server in response to user requests.
content Generates static Renders pages on
Disclaimer: This article outline is created by Humans, content is written by AI and the final article is reviewed & edited by a CodeWalnut engineer.
Next-JS Logo
Kickstart your
React JS

Experience coding prowess firsthand. Choose CodeWalnut to build a prototype within a week and make your choice with confidence.

Book a Meeting
Vercel Logo
Kickstart your
React JS

Accelerate your web app vision with CodeWalnut. In just a week, we'll shape your idea into a polished prototype, powered by Vercel. Ready to make it real? Choose us with confidence!

Book a Meeting
Heroku Logo
Kickstart your

Dreaming of a powerful web app on Heroku? Let CodeWalnut bring it to life in just one week. Take the leap and trust us to deliver with confidence!

Book a Meeting

Related posts

Partner with CodeWalnut to drive your digital growth!
Tell us about yourself and we will show you how technology can help drive business growth.
Thank you for your interest in CodeWalnut.Our digital expert will reach you within 24-48 hours.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.