Data fetching

Next.js has 2 pre-rendering modes built-in:

You can learn more about the differences in the pages section.

These rendering modes are tightly coupled to the way that you do data fetching.

In Next.js data fetching generally happens at the page level. There are multiple reasons for this:

  • Avoid data fetching waterfalls, having to render then wait then render etc.
  • When pre-rendering React needs to have all data available before rendering.

Static Generation

By default Next.js pages that don't use getInitialProps get rendered to static HTML at next build time.

This is useful for, as an example, dashboards that have a lot of dynamic data that depends on a specific user.

You might not want to server-render that content but instead load the data client-side.

For this particular use case ZEIT has created a data-fetching library called SWR.

// This page doesn't define `getInitialProps`.
// Next.js will export the page to HTML at build time with the loading state
// When the page is loaded in the browser SWR will fetch the data
// Using the defined fetcher function
import fetch from 'unfetch'
import useSWR from 'swr'

const API_URL = ''
async function fetcher(path) {
  const res = await fetch(API_URL + path)
  const json = await res.json()
  return json

function HomePage() {
  const { data, error } = useSWR('/repos/zeit/next.js', fetcher)

  if (error) return <div>failed to load</div>
  if (!data) return <div>loading...</div>
  return <div>Next stars: {data.stargazers_count}</div>

export default HomePage

Server-side rendering

Pages might have to wait on some data before pre-rendering, for example, if you want the page to be indexed with the data by search engines.

Next.js comes with getInitialProps, which is an async function that can be added to any page as a static method.

getInitialProps allows the page to wait for data before rendering starts.

Using getInitialProps will make the page opt-in to on-demand server-side rendering.

// This page has defined `getInitialProps` to do data fetching.
// Next.js will execute `getInitialProps`
// It will wait for the result of `getInitialProps`
// When the results comes back Next.js will render the page.
// Next.js will do this for every request that comes in.
import fetch from 'isomorphic-unfetch'

function HomePage({ stars }) {
  return <div>Next stars: {stars}</div>

HomePage.getInitialProps = async () => {
  const res = await fetch('')
  const json = await res.json()
  return { stars: json.stargazers_count }

export default HomePage


For more information on what to do next, we recommend the following sections: