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Remix vs. Next.js: A side-by-side comparison

Remix or Next.js? Discover which React framework suits your needs. Compare features, performance, and use cases.
Chidi Eze

Written by Chidi Eze

Jul 01, 2024
Remix vs. Next.js: A side-by-side comparison

Next.js and Remix are popular frameworks built on React. They extend React's capabilities by providing essential features and tools for building complete, high-performance, and SEO-friendly web applications. While both are built upon React's foundation, their approaches and strengths differ.

Next.js, a well-established favorite in the developer community, ranked first in the State of JavaScript 2023 survey. Its popularity stems from its robust features, extensive ecosystem, and mature tooling. Remix is newer and not as widely used as Next.js, but it's becoming well-known for its focus on improving website loading speed and improved developer experience.

This article won't crown a winner; it will be your objective guide to understanding their strengths and weaknesses. By exploring their problem-solving philosophies and ideal use cases, you'll learn to make an informed decision and choose the framework that perfectly aligns with your next project's needs.

#What is Remix?

Remix is a React framework that aims to provide a more modern and opinionated approach to web development. It was created by the founders of React Router and first announced in 2020. Remix champions the "Fullstack React" approach, prioritizing an enhanced developer experience through features like server-side rendering, data loading, and routing.

Remix distinguishes itself by focusing on structured application architecture and data loading patterns, which aim to simplify complex tasks like server-side rendering and state management. Another spotlight feature of Remix is its "Routes as Data" concept, where routes are treated as data sources, enabling a more streamlined approach to handling data fetching and rendering.

Furthermore, Remix's built-in server and client-side hydration mechanisms and the ability to define precise cache-control headers ensure fast initial page loads and smooth transitions while minimizing unnecessary reloads. With its unique way of handling form elements and static route definitions and emphasis on server rendering, Remix empowers developers to create highly performant and maintainable web applications while shipping little or no client-side JavaScript. Let’s look at its standout features.

#Key features of Remix

A unique aspect of Remix is that it runs a server built on the Web Fetch API, unlike many frameworks that rely solely on Node.js. This enables Remix to run in any Node.js server like Vercel, Netlify, Architect, etc., as well as non-Node.js environments like Cloudflare Workers and Deno Deploy.

In contrast to other frameworks that offer multiple rendering options, Remix prioritizes Server-Side Rendering (SSR) as the default. This emphasis on SSR ensures optimal performance, boosts your website's visibility on search engines (SEO), and enhances the overall user experience by delivering content quickly and reliably.

Another standout feature of Remix is its automatic code splitting. By intelligently dividing your application code based on routes, Remix ensures that only the essential code for the current page is loaded initially, resulting in notably faster initial page loads.

Remix's intuitive file-based routing system is another feature that simplifies development. You can define route components using standard file structures, promoting consistency and clarity throughout your project.

Also, Remix includes built-in error-handling mechanisms that automatically manage errors that occur during data fetching or rendering. This proactive approach prevents unexpected application crashes and provides a more stable and reliable user experience.

#Advantages of Remix

Remix is becoming increasingly popular as a framework because of its attractive benefits, which draw developers' attention. Below are some of the advantages:

  • Remix simplifies the management of complex navigation structures and code reusability thanks to its nested routing and layouts.

  • With the built-in Loaders and Actions, Remix makes managing website data much easier. Loaders fetch data on the server before a page is rendered, while Actions streamline updates and changes.

  • With Remix, you can be sure of a streamlined developer experience with clear conventions and minimal configurations.

  • Remix handles sensitive data on the server side, reducing the risk of exposing confidential information, such as API keys, credentials, or personal data, in the user's browser.

#Disadvantages of Remix

Remix is not without drawbacks. Before making your decision, consider the following disadvantages:

  • Compared to Next.js, Remix has a smaller community of users both on GitHub and Discord, potentially meaning fewer third-party libraries and resources.

  • While Remix supports client-side navigation, it's not its primary focus, potentially limiting flexibility in certain scenarios.

  • Remix prioritizes server-side operations, which can be challenging for apps that need heavy client-side state management for real-time features.

Below are some big brands with applications powered by Remix.

  • Shopify: Uses Remix for its Hydrogen storefront framework.
  • NASA: Uses Remix for its time-domain and multimessenger alert system.
  • Docker: Uses Remix for its website and dashboard.
  • Webstudio: Uses Remix for its website.
  • Hygraph: Uses Remix for its studio.

Next, let’s look at the counterparty.

#What is Next.js?

Next.js is a React-based framework developed and maintained by Vercel, formerly known as Zeit. It was first released in 2016 and has since gained widespread adoption due to its flexibility, performance, and ease of use. Next.js is designed to streamline the process of building server-rendered and static websites and single-page applications (SPAs). It offers automatic code splitting, server-side rendering, and static site generation features, making it a versatile choice for various web development projects.

Next.js is a powerful choice for delivering fast, SEO-friendly web experiences. It also offers built-in support for TypeScript, CSS-in-JS, API routes, and a simple integration with the Vercel platform for deployment and hosting.

#Key features of Next.js

Let's examine some features that set Next.js apart from other frameworks.

Next.js also boasts a file-based routing system. It automatically maps pages within a designated directory to URLs, simplifying navigation and organization within your application.

Additionally, Next.js API Routes allows you to quickly integrate backend functionality by building API endpoints as serverless functions directly within your project, eliminating the need for separate servers.

Next.js enhances website performance through its built-in image optimization feature. It automatically serves images in the most suitable format and size for each user's device, significantly improving page load times and enhancing the overall user experience.

Furthermore, Next.js offers versatile styling options with built-in support for CSS Modules, promoting modular and maintainable styles for your components. This versatility is also pronounced with support for popular CSS-in-JS libraries like Styled Components and Emotion.

#Advantages of Next.js

Next.js, like any framework, comes with its strengths and weaknesses. Let's discuss the advantages that make it a compelling choice for many developers:

  • Next.js' hybrid rendering offers unmatched flexibility, including server-side rendering (SSR), static site generation (SSG), incremental static generation (ISR), and client-side rendering (CSR).

  • Next.js recently introduced Server Actions; these are asynchronous functions that run on the web server, not in your browser. They're designed to handle things like form submissions and data changes.

  • With the Next.js API Routes, you can develop APIs within your project.

  • Next.js has a larger community and ecosystem, translating to manya resources, libraries, and tools.

#Disadvantages of Next.js

Now let’s discuss the disadvantages of choosing Next.js:

  • While Next.js offers SSR, it can sometimes feel less flexible than other frameworks like Remix, which is designed with SSR as a core principle.

  • Next.js ships with many built-in features, which can lead to larger bundle sizes compared to more minimalist frameworks. This might impact initial load times, especially on slower internet speeds.

  • The Next.js SSR can demand significant server resources, especially when handling dynamic, data-heavy pages or high traffic. This might necessitate optimizing data fetching or increasing server capacity to maintain performance.

Despite the aforementioned considerations, Next.js remains a popular choice for numerous companies when developing their applications. Let's take a look at some of those companies.

In addition to the brands mentioned, this blog you're reading is also built with Next.js, showcasing its versatility in real-world applications.

#A side-by-side comparison

Having discussed these frameworks in detail, let's look at the below comparison.

FeaturesRemixNext.js
RoutingRemix supports file-based routing, nested routing, and layouts, and uses React Router under the hood.Next.js supports file-based routing, but creating nested layouts used to be tricky. This was improved in version 13.
Data fetchingRemix's server-side focus (Loaders and Actions) ensures fresh data and simplifies data flow.Next.js offers several ways to get data for your website, including SSR, SSG, ISR, or even fetching it directly in the browser (client-side).
RenderingRemix shines in fast initial page loads, excellent SEO, and robust accessibility through its SSR and streaming HTML capabilities.Next.js involves hybrid rendering (SSR, SSG, ISR, CSR). It offers flexibility for different use cases.
Serverless supportRemix is designed with serverless architectures in mind. Loaders and Actions are serverless functions that run on the edge (close to the user).The core concept of serverless functions remains fully supported and even enhanced in Next.js 13.
SSR (Server-Side Rendering)Remix was built with SSR as a core principle. It is prioritized for every requestNext.js involves hybrid rendering; SSR is an option and SSG/ISR are alternatives,
SSG (Static Site Generation)Remix does not natively support SSG, but it is achievable with workaroundsBuilt-in feature, excellent for performance, especially for content-heavy sites
SizeRemix has a smaller initial bundle size than Next.js, but the final size depends on project-specific factors.Next.js has a slightly larger bundle size due to more features and flexibility. It sends more JavaScript to the browser.
ISR (Incremental Static Regeneration)Remix does not have built-in ISR like Next.js. However, you can achieve the same result as Next.js using background revalidation or client-side fetching.Next.js has built-in support for ISR. It creates static pages initially and then automatically updates them in the background later.

Remix and Next.js are both powerful React frameworks with dedicated communities. Next.js, boasting over 120,000 GitHub stars, enjoys widespread popularity and a mature ecosystem due to its longer history. Remix, while newer with around 27,000 stars according to npm compare, is rapidly gaining traction.

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#Remix use cases

Having explored the strengths and weaknesses of both frameworks, let's now look at the scenarios where Remix shines:

  • Remix excels in building SEO-friendly websites and apps with fast loading times, excellent accessibility, and smooth user experience. Its focus on server-side rendering and efficient content delivery makes it ideal for complex applications with nested layouts and dynamic content.

  • Remix is ideal for creating applications that can withstand unreliable network conditions. Because of its emphasis on progressive enhancement and offline-first capabilities, users can still interact with the application even when offline, providing a more reliable and fault-tolerant experience.

  • Remix is great for applications with intricate user interactions and data workflows. This is due to its unique approach to form handling and data mutations that simplify building complex forms and managing data updates on the server side.

  • If your applications require frequent data updating, Remix's Action functions simplify complex data updates and form submissions, making Remix suitable for applications with frequent user interactions.

#Next.js use cases

Next.js will be a great choice in the following scenarios:

  • For projects demanding a variety of rendering strategies, Next.js is the best fit. Its hybrid rendering capabilities allow you to seamlessly blend SSR, Static Site Generation (SSG), Incremental Static Regeneration (ISR), or even Client-Side Rendering, depending on each page or feature's specific requirements.

  • Next.js is an excellent choice for projects with complex features or advanced functionality. Its popularity among developers, as evidenced by Stack Overflow surveys, means you'll have access to a vast array of resources, plugins, and expert help, making your development process smoother and faster.

  • If scalability is prioritized and your application involves heavy content, Next.js scales exceptionally well and optimizes content for blog posts, news sites, and other rich websites. Features like nested routes ensure that Next.js maintains smooth navigation even with large content.

  • Next.js has built-in support for internationalization, simplifying the creation of websites and applications that can be localized for different languages and regions. This is crucial for businesses targeting global audiences.

#Remix and Next.js with a CMS

Both Remix and Next.js readily support integration with CMS platforms. This integration simplifies content workflows, enhances development efficiency, and enables the creation of high-performance, dynamic digital experiences. Whether you choose Remix's server-side rendering prowess or Next.js's hybrid rendering flexibility, integrating with a CMS like Hygraph can significantly elevate your content management and delivery capabilities.

Hygraph is a leading headless CMS that empowers developers to create content-rich applications by integrating with popular frameworks. Its flexible API-based architecture allows efficient content delivery and management, making it a valuable tool for technical and non-technical users.

#What's next?

Remix and Next.js are leading the way in the future of web development, with a growing trend toward combining server-side, pre-generated, and client-side rendering for optimal performance and interactivity. Next.js 15's Parallel Routes will further enhance the user experience by loading multiple parts of a page simultaneously. This approach allows for an instant loading of static elements and background updates of dynamic content, improving responsiveness and user engagement. Additionally, streaming architectures will deliver content incrementally, enhancing perceived load times and responsiveness.

Join the Hygraph Slack community to connect with experts who share a passion for building exceptional web experiences and to stay ahead of the curve with the latest insights, tips, and discussions on all things Hygraph, Remix, and Next.js.

Blog Author

Chidi Eze

Chidi Eze

Technical writer

Chidi is a software engineer and technical writer with experience in building user-friendly applications and creating content around composable architectures.

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