Don’t let the title fool you – Gatsby is an awesome solution and one that really suits a lot of development projects, yet you should be aware of when not to use it.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about how great Gatsby is for creating new websites and apps.

But…as with every framework, it does have its drawbacks, and there are times when it really isn’t the best solution. So, let’s take a look at when this could be the case.

Do not use Gatsby with tons of content

a lot of papers on a desk

If you’re constantly adding new content to your website (like few times per day) publishing updates can be kind of slow with Gatsby.

Take a large magazine-type blog, for example, it can take up to 15 minutes to generate your static website and put it on the live server.

Plus, you need to have advanced build machines that can build the page concurrently.

Why it’s like that? It’s a general problem for static generating websites.

You have to generate all the pages again, when you change anything content-wise. Like this, you save a generation time for end-user (because page is already generated) but it will take more time for developers.

You can check more about it on the official Gatsby blog.

Do not use Gatsby for corporate size e-shops

lady with many shopping bags

As we’ve already hinted in the previous paragraph, the more content you have, the larger the build time with Gatsby will be. This is the case when this solution could slow you down rather than speed you up.

Imagine you have a number of people who are responsible for adding new products to your company’s enterprise-sized e-shop, and they have to work on the site at the same time.

As the database is going to be pretty large, things can get complicated. You need to pay to build a machine that can cope with the high load, and that can be pricey.

This is why Gatsby is perfect for small/medium-sized businesses, but not quite so much for large enterprises.

We should also note that this won’t be the case forever, though. They announced they’re working on incremental builds. Exciting!


Do not use Gatsby for client-side web apps

a man is holding a cellphone showing app

While technically you can use Gatsby to create a standard web app, this framework will mostly be well suited for static presentation sites, blogs, e-shops, etc.

If you want to create your own next big thing, (maybe a new and improved version of something like Twitter) it is definitely possible. Just think twice before.

CMS and hosting

a man is typing on his laptop

With Gatsby, CMS and web hosting get a little complex – it’s unfortunately not as easy as signing up to GoDaddy and there’s your WordPress site hosted.

You can have both a self-hosted CMS using the likes of Netlify and a CMS that’s hosted elsewhere.

The bad part here is that updating Gatsby websites is usually handled by a service that makes sure the page is rebuilt automatically when you send in the data. And you can’t host WordPress sites on hosting solutions like Netlify.

This is why you should only be using a self-hosted CMS for Gatsby sites like Netlify or Contentful.

What can I use instead of Gatsby?

bargain with a lot of different hats

There are a number of different solutions you can use instead, and they start with the likes of a general Create React App.

What you can do is SSR parts of your app/site which will give you close to (if not all) of the benefits Gatsby has to offer. Then you’ve got Next.js.

Next.js is a framework for React that’s very similar to Gatsby. It allows you to make requests server-side and then render server-side which’ll help speed up your site/app and give you good SEO benefits, too.

Chances are if Gatsby isn’t really working out, Next.js is going to be the one.

I have already done some research in my article “Is Gatsby The Best Framework For Building Static Websites? What Are The Other Alternatives?”

Final thoughts

We hope we’ve given you a brief insight into when Gatsby isn’t the best solution for you.

As you can probably tell, it’s not really a black and white kind of thing.

So if you’d like to know more and talk about a concrete project, please get in touch.

We’re used to helping companies like yours choose the best solution for their project!


Jakub Dakowicz

Jakub, the Chief Technology Officer at Pagepro, stands as a pillar of technical expertise and leadership within the company. With an impressive tenure of nearly nine years at Pagepro, and over five years leading the development team, he has been a key figure in shaping the company's technological advancements and strategies.

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  • wwwebman

    Posted on

    Nice article! Thanks.

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