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Using Server-side Rendering (SSR)


Server-side Rendering (SSR) is one of Gatsby’s rendering options and allows you to pre-render a page with data that is fetched when a user visits the page. While it is recommended to use Static Site Generation (SSG) or Deferred Static Generation (DSG) over SSR you might have use cases that require it, e.g. dynamic personalization, authenticated data, A/B testing, configurability based on location or user data. If you don’t need to pre-render the page you can use client-only routes.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to use getServerData, fetch an image from a dog API, and display it dynamically on the page.

For full documentation on all options, see the reference guide.


Before you begin, you should already have:

  • An existing Gatsby site. (Need help creating one? Follow the Quick Start.)


The general process for using SSR looks like this:

  1. Adding getServerData function
  2. Requesting data inside getServerData & displaying it

To follow this guide, create a new page at src/pages/ssr.js.

Step 1: Adding getServerData function

By adding an async function called getServerData to your page, you tell Gatsby to choose the SSR rendering option. Add it to your new page:

Step 2: Requesting data inside getServerData & displaying it

You can execute anything you want inside the getServerData function, but you need to return an object containing props. You then can access the data as a serverData prop inside your page component (similarly to how page queries automatically pass in a data prop to page components).

Use fetch to pull data from the dog.ceo API:

Every time a user visits the page now the URL https://dog.ceo/api/breeds/image/random is requested and the response available as serverData to the page. The API gives back the response in the shape of { "message": "img-url", "status": "" }.

Display the image using the data from the API now:

If you haven’t already, start gatsby develop and visit http://localhost:8000/ssr. Refreshing the page should give you a new dog image on every refresh.

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