• Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

Understanding React Router: A Comprehensive Guide

Alejandra Reynoso

ByAlejandra Reynoso

Oct 5, 2023

As the leading JavaScript library for building user interfaces, React.js has become a standard tool for web developers worldwide. One integral aspect of creating dynamic user interfaces is managing and implementing routing. By using a tool like React Router, developers can create single page applications with dynamic, changing interfaces. This article will walk you through exactly how to use React Router in your applications, providing a comprehensive guide to this essential tool.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to React Router
  2. Installation and Setup
  3. Creating Routes
  4. Link and NavLink Components
  5. Nested and Dynamic Routing
  6. Redirects and 404 Pages
  7. Frequently Asked Questions

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding what React Router does and why it’s essential for single page applications
  • How to install and set up React Router in your projects
  • The difference between <Route> and <Link> components and when to use each
  • How to implement nested and dynamic routes
  • How to handle redirects and 404 errors

Introduction to React Router

React Router is a collection of navigational components that compose declaratively with your application. It allows you to create routes to different pages in your application without having to reload the entire page. This makes your application faster and more efficient, providing a smoother user experience. For more information about the philosophy and benefits of React Router, you can visit their official documentation here.

Installation and Setup

To start using React Router, you first need to install it in your project. You can do this using either npm or yarn. Run the following command in your project directory:

npm install react-router-dom

yarn add react-router-dom

In your main application file (typically App.js), you’ll need to import the BrowserRouter component from react-router-dom. Wrap your entire application in this component, and you’re ready to start creating routes!

Creating Routes

With React Router installed and set up, you can now start creating routes. To do this, you’ll need to use the <Route> component. This component takes two main props: path and component. The path prop is the URL path that you want this route to match, and the component prop is the React component that should be rendered when this path is matched.

Let’s look at an example. Say you have a component About and you want it to be rendered when a user visits /about. Here’s how you’d set that up:


For more examples and detailed usage, visit this link.

Link and NavLink Components

React Router provides two components for creating navigational links in your application: <Link> and <NavLink>. Both of these components create a standard anchor tag in your HTML, but they prevent the default browser behavior of reloading the page when the link is clicked.

The <Link> component is the simpler of the two. It takes a to prop, which is the path that the link should navigate to. Here’s an example:


The <NavLink> component works similarly, but it also allows you to add styling to the link when it’s active. This is useful for indicating the current page in your navigation. Check this tutorial for more details.

Nested and Dynamic Routing

React Router supports both nested and dynamic routing. Nested routing allows you to create routes within routes, while dynamic routing allows you to create routes where some or all of the path is variable.

To create nested routes, simply render a <Route> component within another <Route> component. For dynamic routes, you can use path parameters, which are segments of the URL that start with a colon (:). Here’s an example:


In this route, :id is a path parameter. When this route is matched, the User component will be rendered, and the id prop will be available on this.props.match.params. Find more examples here.

Redirects and 404 Pages

React Router also provides a way to redirect users and handle 404 errors. The <Redirect> component allows you to automatically navigate to a different route, and the <Switch> component can be used to render a “Not Found” page when no other routes match.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Question: Can I use React Router with other libraries like Redux?
    Answer: Yes, React Router works well with other libraries and can be integrated easily into your existing projects.

  2. Question: How can I pass props to the components rendered by <Route>?
    Answer: You can use the render prop instead of component and pass props directly to the rendered component.

  3. Question: What’s the difference between <BrowserRouter> and <HashRouter>?
    Answer: <BrowserRouter> uses the HTML5 history API to keep your UI in sync with the URL, while <HashRouter> uses the hash portion of the URL as a route path.

Mastering React Router will make your applications more dynamic and user-friendly. With this knowledge, you can create complex, feature-rich applications with ease. Happy coding!

Alejandra Reynoso

By Alejandra Reynoso

Alejandra Reynoso is a passionate writer with a gift for creating engaging and informative website articles. With a background in journalism and business with a flair for storytelling, she has mastered the art of captivating readers with her words. Alejandra's writing covers a diverse range of topics, from business and money to news and politics.