How to Route Between Pages Using React Router?

15 minutes read

In React, routing between pages can be efficiently handled using a library called React Router. React Router is a third-party package that allows us to define the navigation paths and render different components based on the URL. Here's how you can route between pages using React Router:

  1. First, ensure that React Router is installed in your project. You can do this by running the following command in your project directory: npm install react-router-dom
  2. In your main component (usually App.js), import the necessary modules: import { BrowserRouter as Router, Route, Switch } from 'react-router-dom';
  3. Wrap your application components inside the component provided by React Router: function App() { return ( {/* your application components */} ); }
  4. Define your routes using the component. The component maps a specific URL path to a corresponding component to be rendered. It can be used in multiple ways depending on the requirement. For example: function App() { return ( ); }
  5. Replace the placeholder comments inside the component with the components you want to render for each route. For example: function App() { return ( ); }


This setup will render the corresponding component when the user navigates to the specified URL. For instance, when the user visits the homepage (/), the Home component will be rendered.


You can also leverage additional features provided by React Router, such as nested routes, route parameters, and redirects, to build more complex routing systems.

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How to handle not found routes using React Router?

There are multiple ways to handle not found routes in React Router. Here are some common approaches:

  1. Create a custom NotFound component and render it when no other routes match:
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import { Switch, Route } from 'react-router-dom';

const NotFound = () => {
  return <h1>404 - Not Found</h1>;
};

const App = () => {
  return (
    <Switch>
      <Route exact path="/" component={Home} />
      <Route exact path="/about" component={About} />
      <Route component={NotFound} />
    </Switch>
  );
};


  1. Redirect to a specific route if no match is found:
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import { Switch, Route, Redirect } from 'react-router-dom';

const NotFound = () => {
  return <Redirect to="/" />;
};

const App = () => {
  return (
    <Switch>
      <Route exact path="/" component={Home} />
      <Route exact path="/about" component={About} />
      <Route component={NotFound} />
    </Switch>
  );
};


  1. Render a custom component based on the current location:
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import { Switch, Route, useLocation } from 'react-router-dom';

const NotFound = () => {
  const location = useLocation();

  return <h1>404 - Not Found: {location.pathname}</h1>;
};

const App = () => {
  return (
    <Switch>
      <Route exact path="/" component={Home} />
      <Route exact path="/about" component={About} />
      <Route component={NotFound} />
    </Switch>
  );
};


These are just a few examples, and the approach you choose depends on your specific requirements and preferences.


What is the difference between BrowserRouter and MemoryRouter?

The BrowserRouter and MemoryRouter are both components provided by the React Router library, but they serve different purposes.

  1. BrowserRouter: The BrowserRouter is used for routing in a web application. It utilizes the HTML5 history API to manipulate the browser history and provide navigation functionality. It is typically used when you are building a web application that will be deployed on a web server. It creates a history object that keeps track of the current location (URL) and renders the appropriate components based on the URL.


Example usage:

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import { BrowserRouter, Route } from 'react-router-dom';

ReactDOM.render(
  <BrowserRouter>
    <Route exact path="/" component={Home} />
    <Route path="/about" component={About} />
  </BrowserRouter>,
  document.getElementById('root')
);


  1. MemoryRouter: The MemoryRouter is used for in-memory navigation and is typically used in non-web environments or for unit testing purposes. It does not manipulate the browser history or URL, but instead keeps the history in memory. It is useful when testing your application without needing a browser environment or when you want to keep the navigation state isolated.


Example usage:

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import { MemoryRouter, Route } from 'react-router-dom';

ReactDOM.render(
  <MemoryRouter initialEntries={['/']} initialIndex={0}>
    <Route exact path="/" component={Home} />
    <Route path="/about" component={About} />
  </MemoryRouter>,
  document.getElementById('root')
);


In summary, the BrowserRouter is used for web routing and interacts with the browser history and URL, while the MemoryRouter is used for in-memory navigation or testing purposes.


What is the difference between BrowserRouter and HashRouter in terms of SEO?

In terms of SEO, there is no difference between BrowserRouter and HashRouter as they both achieve the same goal of rendering React components based on the URL path.


BrowserRouter uses the HTML5 history API to manipulate the browser history, allowing for clean and pretty URLs without the need for a hash sign (#). This can be beneficial for SEO as search engine crawlers can more easily navigate and understand the website's URL structure.


On the other hand, HashRouter uses the URL hash (the part after the # sign) to manage the routing. As the hash is never sent to the server, the server treats the whole URL before the # sign as a single path. This can be useful in environments where you lack control over the server configurations or if you are using a static site generator that does not support the HTML5 history API.


So, while there is no direct impact on SEO between BrowserRouter and HashRouter, BrowserRouter is generally preferred when considering SEO as it allows for cleaner and more readable URLs for search engines.

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What is the difference between Route and Redirect components in React Router?

In React Router, the Route component is used to define a specific mapping between a URL path and the component to render when that path is matched. It does not perform any navigation or redirection. Instead, it renders the specified component when the URL matches the path specified in its props.


The Redirect component, on the other hand, is used to perform client-side redirects to another route. It does not render anything to the DOM. When a Redirect component is rendered, it updates the current URL to the specified path or URL, causing the browser to navigate to the new location. It is commonly used for handling protected routes or for handling redirections after certain actions, such as form submissions.


In summary, the Route component defines a mapping between a URL and a component to render, while the Redirect component triggers a navigation to a different URL.


What are the benefits of using React Router over traditional routing?

There are several benefits of using React Router over traditional routing:

  1. Declarative Syntax: React Router allows you to define routes declaratively using JSX, which makes it easier to understand and maintain the routing logic of your application.
  2. Single Page Application (SPA) Support: React Router is designed specifically for building single-page applications, where a single HTML page dynamically updates the content based on the URL. It provides seamless navigation between different parts of the application without reloading the entire page.
  3. Component-based Routing: React Router allows you to map routes to specific components, making it easier to organize and reuse code. Each route can have its own associated component, which encapsulates the logic and UI for that specific route.
  4. Nested Routing: React Router supports nested routes, allowing you to define routes within routes. This helps in creating more complex application structures with different levels of hierarchy.
  5. Route Parameters and Query Parameters: React Router allows you to define dynamic routes with parameters, which can be accessed within the associated component. Additionally, it also supports query parameters, which can be used to pass data to the components.
  6. History Management: React Router provides a history API that allows you to manage the browser history, enabling functionality like back and forward navigation, redirecting, and history manipulation.
  7. Route Transitions: React Router provides hooks and APIs for animating route transitions, allowing you to add smooth animations when navigating between routes.
  8. Integration with React Ecosystem: React Router integrates seamlessly with other React libraries and frameworks, making it a popular choice among developers who are already using React.


Overall, React Router simplifies the process of implementing routing in React applications by providing a comprehensive set of features and APIs, specifically designed for single-page applications.

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