Streaming and Suspense

The app directory introduces support for streaming with Suspense for both Node.js and Edge runtimes.

What is Streaming?

To learn how Streaming works in React and Next.js, it's helpful to understand Server-Side Rendering (SSR) and its limitations.

With SSR, there's a series of steps that need to be completed before a user can see and interact with a page:

  1. First, all data for a given page is fetched on the server.
  2. The server then renders the HTML for the page.
  3. The HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for the page are sent to the client.
  4. A non-interactive user interface is shown using the generated HTML, and CSS.
  5. Finally, React hydrates the user interface to make it interactive.
Chart - Server Rendering without Streaming

These steps are sequential and blocking, meaning the server can only render the HTML for a page once all the data has been fetched. And, on the client, React can only hydrate the UI once the code for all components in the page has been downloaded.

SSR with React and Next.js helps improve the perceived loading performance by showing a non-interactive page to the user as soon as possible.

Server Rendering without streaming

However, it can still be slow as all data fetching on server needs to be completed before the page can be shown to the user.

Streaming allows you to break down the page's HTML into smaller chunks and progressively send those chunks from the server to the client.

Streaming components

This enables parts of the page to be displayed sooner, without waiting for all the data to load before any UI can be rendered.

Streaming works well with React's component model because each component can be considered a chunk. Components that have higher priority (e.g. product information) or that don't rely on data can be sent first (e.g. layout), and React can start hydration earlier. Components that have lower priority (e.g. reviews, related products) can be sent in the same server request after their data has been fetched.

Chart - Server Rendering with Streaming

Streaming is particularly beneficial when you want to prevent long data requests from blocking the page from rendering as it can reduce the Time To First Byte (TTFB) and First Contentful Paint (FCP). It also helps improve Time to Interactive (TTI), especially on slower devices.

Streaming in Next.js

You can implement streaming in Next.js using loading.js (for an entire route segment) or with Suspense boundaries (for more granular control).

Using streaming requires implementing fallback UI that will render while your route is being suspended. This UI should be designed to match the real content that will eventually load.

You can view an example of streaming here.

Example: Using loading.js

The special file loading.js allows you to show an instant loading state from the server while the content of a route segment loads. Once all data fetching in the route segment has finished, the loading UI will be swapped for the content.

export default function Loading() {
  return <p>Loading...</p>

Learn more about loading.js.

Example: Using Suspense Boundaries

For more granular control, you can wrap your own components in a React Suspense Boundary. <Suspense> works by wrapping a component that performs an asynchronous action (e.g. fetch data), showing fallback UI (e.g. skeleton, spinner) while it's happening, and then swapping in your component once the action completes.

import { Suspense } from "react";
import { PostFeed, Weather } from "./Components";

export default function Posts() {
  return (
      <Suspense fallback={<p>Loading feed...</p>}>
        <PostFeed />
      <Suspense fallback={<p>Loading weather...</p>}>
        <Weather />

By using Suspense, you get the benefits of:

  1. Streaming Server Rendering - Progressively rendering HTML from the server to the client.
  2. Selective Hydration - React prioritizes what components to make interactive first based on user interaction.

For more Suspense examples and use cases, please see the React Documentation.

Streaming and SEO

  • Next.js will wait for data fetching inside generateMetadata to complete before streaming UI to the client. This guarantees the first part of a streamed response includes <head> tags.
  • Since streaming is server-rendered, it does not impact SEO. You can use the Mobile Friendly Test tool from Google to see how your page appears to Google's web crawlers and view the serialized HTML (source).

Next Steps