Creating APIs in Next.js: A Comprehensive Guide

Next.js is a popular React-based framework that enables developers to build server-rendered applications easily. In addition to server-side rendering and static site generation, Next.js also provides support for building APIs.

In this guide, we will discuss how to create APIs in Next.js and cover the following topics:

  1. What are APIs in Next.js?
  2. How to create an API endpoint in Next.js
  3. Handling HTTP methods in Next.js APIs
  4. Sending responses from Next.js APIs
  5. Securing Next.js APIs
  6. Testing Next.js APIs
  7. Deployment of Next.js APIs

Let’s get started.

What are APIs in Next.js?

APIs in Next.js are server-side functions that handle incoming HTTP requests and return a response. APIs can be used to perform various tasks such as retrieving data from a database, processing data, and sending notifications.

APIs can be defined in the pages/api directory of your Next.js application. Each file in this directory represents an API endpoint that can be accessed by a client using a URL.

How to create an API endpoint in Next.js

To create an API endpoint in Next.js, follow these steps:

  1. Create a file in the pages/api directory with the desired name. For example, to create an API endpoint at /api/hello, create a file named hello.js in the pages/api directory.
  2. Define the API function in the file you created. The function should accept two arguments: req (the incoming request object) and res (the outgoing response object).Here is an example of an API function that returns a JSON response:
    export default (req, res) => {
      res.statusCode = 200;
      res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'application/json');
      res.end(JSON.stringify({ message: 'Hello world!' }));
  3. Start the Next.js server by running npm run dev in your terminal. Once the server is running, you can access your API endpoint at the URLhttp://localhost:3000/api/hello (assuming you created an endpoint at /api/hello).

Handling HTTP methods in Next.js APIs

Next.js APIs support various HTTP methods such as GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, and more. To handle different HTTP methods in your API, you can use a switch statement that checks the value of req.method.

Here is an example of an API endpoint that handles GET and POST requests:

export default (req, res) => {
  switch (req.method) {
    case 'GET':
      // Handle GET request
      res.status(200).json({ message: 'This is a GET request' });
    case 'POST':
      // Handle POST request
      res.status(200).json({ message: 'This is a POST request' });
      res.status(405).json({ message: 'Method not allowed' });

Sending responses from Next.js APIs

Next.js APIs can send responses in various formats such as JSON, HTML, plain text, and more. To set the response format, you can use the res.setHeader method and set the Content-Type header.

Here is an example of an API endpoint that sends an HTML response:

export default (req, res) => {
  res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/html');
  res.status(200).send('<h1>Hello world!</h1>');

Securing Next.js APIs

Security is an essential aspect of API development. To secure your Next.js APIs, you can:

  1. Use authentication to restrict access to your APIs. You can use a variety of authentication mechanisms such as JWT, OAuth, or basic auth.
  2. Use HTTPS to encrypt data transmitted over the network. HTTPS ensures that the data transmitted between the client and server is encrypted and secure.
  3. Validate user input to prevent SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and other security vulnerabilities.

Here is an example of an API endpoint that uses JWT authentication to restrict access:

import jwt from 'jsonwebtoken';

export default (req, res) => {
  const token = req.headers.authorization?.split(' ')[1];

  if (!token) {
    return res.status(401).json({ message: 'Unauthorized' });

  try {
    const decoded = jwt.verify(token, process.env.JWT_SECRET);
    // Access restricted data here
  } catch (error) {
    return res.status(401).json({ message: 'Invalid token' });

Testing Next.js APIs

To test your Next.js APIs, you can use various tools such as Postman, Insomnia, or Jest. You can write unit tests for your API functions using Jest and run them using the npm test command.

Here is an example of a Jest test for an API endpoint:

import { createMocks } from 'node-mocks-http';
import hello from './hello';

describe('/api/hello', () => {
  it('returns a JSON response', async () => {
    const { req, res } = createMocks({
      method: 'GET',

    await hello(req, res);

    expect(res._getJSONData()).toEqual({ message: 'Hello world!' });

Deployment of Next.js APIs

To deploy your Next.js APIs, you can use various hosting providers such as Vercel, Heroku, or AWS Lambda. Vercel provides a seamless deployment experience for Next.js applications and supports serverless functions (which can be used to deploy APIs).

To deploy your Next.js API on Vercel:

  1. Create a new Next.js project using npx create-next-app.
  2. Create an API endpoint in the pages/api directory.
  3. Sign up for a Vercel account and link it to your GitHub repository.
  4. Push your code to GitHub.
  5. Connect your GitHub repository to Vercel.
  6. Deploy your Next.js application using the Vercel dashboard.



In this article, we have covered the basics of creating APIs in Next.js. We have explored how to handle HTTP methods, send responses, and deal with different types of data. We have also discussed some best practices for securing, testing, and deploying your Next.js APIs.

Next.js is a powerful framework for building server-side applications, and with its built-in API support, it makes it easy to create scalable and secure APIs. You can use these APIs to interact with databases, third-party services, or even build your own custom integrations.

By following the best practices discussed in this article, you can ensure that your Next.js APIs are robust, scalable, and secure. With the right tools and techniques, you can build APIs that are reliable, efficient, and easy to maintain.

So, what are you waiting for? Start building your own Next.js APIs today and see how easy it can be to create powerful and scalable applications. Happy coding!

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