GatsbyJS - Build Blazing Fast Websites [Part 1]


Table of Contents

In the world of web development, there is a continuous search for tools and frameworks that can make the development process more efficient and the final product better. One such tool that has recently gained popularity is GatsbyJS, a modern static site generator that combines the best of React, Webpack, and GraphQL.

GatsbyJS enables developers to create blazing-fast websites with rich features and excellent performance. On LinuxAndUbuntu, I am starting a series of articles to teach GatsbyJS. The series will cover various topics that will help any new users with basic understanding of React library to develop applications with GatsbyJS.

This is the first article of the series. It will provide an in-depth introduction to GatsbyJS, including its benefits, features, and how it can revolutionize how you build websites.

What is GatsbyJS?

GatsbyJS is an open-source, modern website framework that allows developers to build fast, secure, and scalable static sites using React and GraphQL. Created by Kyle Mathews in 2015, Gatsby has evolved into a powerful platform for building static sites and dynamic web applications.

Gatsby is based on the JAMstack architecture, which stands for JavaScript, APIs, and Markup. It is designed to optimize the performance of websites and improve their loading times, making it an excellent choice for developers who prioritize performance and user experience.

Benefits of Using GatsbyJS

Blazing Fast Performance

GatsbyJS optimizes performance by default. It employs techniques like code splitting, pre-fetching, and lazy-loading to ensure your site loads quickly and efficiently. It also optimizes images by compressing and loading them as the user scrolls, reducing the initial payload size. Gatsby’s focus on performance is one of its most significant advantages, as faster websites lead to better user experience and higher search engine rankings.

Enhanced Security

Gatsby sites are static by nature, meaning they don’t rely on a backend server. This makes them less vulnerable to common security threats that target server-side applications. As a result, Gatsby sites are more secure than their server-rendered counterparts.

Improved Developer Experience

GatsbyJS utilizes React, a popular front-end library, for building user interfaces. This allows developers to create reusable components and easily manage their application’s state. Gatsby also uses GraphQL for querying data, simplifying data handling and making it more efficient.

10 Steps To Secure Linux Server + {Bonus Tips}

Linux servers are already extremely secure by default; that’s why 100% of supercomputers, most of the top 1 million servers, and top 25% of websites on the internet run on Linux. Besides having security tools in place, users should follow a few steps to further secure Linux servers.

SEO Friendly

Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any website. Thanks to their static nature and fast loading times, Gatsby sites are easily discoverable by search engines. Gatsby also allows you to use plugins to manage meta tags, create sitemaps, and more, making optimizing your site for search engines easier.

Plugin Ecosystem

Gatsby’s extensive plugin ecosystem allows you to extend its functionality easily. You can find plugins for handling data sources, optimizing images, managing SEO, and more. This enables you to customize your site’s features and improve its overall performance without reinventing the wheel.

Great Documentation and Community Support

GatsbyJS’s active and supportive community contributes to its extensive documentation, tutorials, and blog posts. This makes it easier for developers to learn Gatsby and get the help they need when encountering issues.

Key Features of GatsbyJS

Static Site Generation

Gatsby generates static HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files during the build process. This means the server doesn’t have to render the content for each request, resulting in faster load times and improved performance. Static sites are also more secure and easier to scale, as they don’t require a backend server.

React and JSX

Gatsby uses React to build user interfaces. React is a popular front-end library that allows you to create reusable components, making it easier to manage your site’s structure and maintain its code. Gatsby also supports JSX, a syntax extension for JavaScript that enables you to write HTML-like code within your JavaScript files. JSX simplifies creating and managing React components, leading to cleaner and more maintainable code.


Gatsby incorporates GraphQL, a powerful query language, for fetching and managing data. GraphQL allows you to request only the needed data, making your application more efficient and reducing the amount of data transferred. Gatsby’s integration with GraphQL means you can easily fetch data from multiple sources, such as APIs, databases, and local files, and use it within your application.

Progressive Web App (PWA) Support

GatsbyJS supports the creation of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) out of the box. PWAs are web applications that behave like native apps, offering features like offline access, push notifications, and more. By building your site with Gatsby, you can easily create a PWA that offers a better user experience and increased engagement.

Image Optimization

Images can be a major source of performance issues on websites. Gatsby automatically optimizes images by compressing them, resizing them, and serving them in modern formats like WebP. It also employs lazy-loading techniques, which means images are only loaded when they become visible to the user. This greatly improves your site’s performance and reduces the initial payload size.

Hot Reloading

GatsbyJS supports hot reloading, which means that changes made to your site’s code are immediately reflected in the browser without requiring a page refresh. This speeds up the development process and makes it more efficient, as developers can see their changes in real time.

Getting Started with GatsbyJS

To get started with Gatsby, you must have Node.js and npm (Node Package Manager) installed on your machine. Once these are in place, you can install the Gatsby CLI globally by running the following command in your terminal –

npm install -g gatsby-cli

After installing the Gatsby CLI, you can create a new Gatsby project by running the following command –

gatsby new my-gatsby-site
GatsbyJS create site
GatsbyJS create site

This command creates a new Gatsby site in a folder called my-gatsby-site. You can then navigate to the newly created folder and start the development server by running the following command –

cd my-gatsby-sitegatsby develop
start gatsbyjs develop server
start gatsbyjs develop server

Your Gatsby site will now be running on http://localhost:8000, and you can start building your site using Gatsby’s features and plugins.

GatsbyJS starter page
GatsbyJS starter page


GatsbyJS is a powerful and flexible framework for building modern, high-performance websites. With its focus on performance, security, and developer experience, Gatsby has become a popular choice among developers. Its integration with React, Webpack, and GraphQL allows you to create feature-rich websites that are both fast and easy to maintain.

If you’re looking for a framework to help you build blazing-fast websites with excellent performance, GatsbyJS is worth considering.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is GatsbyJS used for?

GatsbyJS is a popular open-source framework used to build fast, secure, and modern websites and applications. It is built on top of React, which is a widely-used JavaScript library for building user interfaces.

GatsbyJS uses modern web technologies like GraphQL, Webpack, and modern JavaScript to create static websites that can be hosted on any platform. The framework is designed to help developers build high-performance websites that load quickly and provide a seamless user experience.

How is Gatsby different from React?

React is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces. It allows developers to create reusable UI components and render them efficiently. React is typically used for building dynamic, interactive web applications. It provides a virtual DOM (Document Object Model), allowing developers to update the UI efficiently without manually manipulating the real DOM.

On the other hand, Gatsby is a static site generator built on React. It uses React to build pre-rendered static websites and serves the user as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files. Gatsby is designed to optimize performance and improve the user experience by reducing page load times and improving SEO.

One of the key differences between Gatsby and React is that Gatsby provides additional features such as static site generation, server-side rendering, and support for GraphQL, which allows developers to query data from various sources and integrate it into their websites.

Is Gatsby backend or frontend?

Gatsby and React are popular web development tools, but they serve different purposes and features.

Gatsby is a front-end framework for building fast, modern websites and web applications. It is a static site generator built on top of React, which means that it uses React to build the user interface and generates static HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files that can be served directly from a web server or a content delivery network (CDN).

Although Gatsby is primarily a front-end framework, it has some backend capabilities. It can source data from various backend systems, including content management systems (CMS), APIs, databases, and files, and use that data to generate static pages at build time. It can also handle server-side rendering (SSR) and code splitting, which can help improve the performance and SEO of your website. However, Gatsby does not have a traditional backend with a server, database, or application logic.

Learn Gatsby