Mapping Request Paths using Next

What's the difference between rewrites and redirects, and how to use them?

Inside your Next application, your next.config.js file is a regular Node module used by the server and build phases where you can configure rewrites and redirects for your application. What's the difference between them?

  • Rewrites allow you to map a request path to a different destination as a URL proxy (masking the destination path, without changing the User's location at all).
  • In contrast, redirects will reroute you to a new page fully disclosing the destination URL.

Both of them are async functions that return at least an array of objects that require the following key-value pairs: source, destination, permanent (only for redirects). Rewrites can be incredibly useful to temporarily map old paths: /old-blog/:slug to /new-blog/:slug ensuring there are no broken links in your application. However, let's say if you'd want to map /github to your GH profile. Here, you'd use a redirect instead.

/*** `next.config.js` ***/
module.exports = {
  async redirects() {
    return [
        source: "/github",
        // `source` type `String` - is the incoming request path pattern
        destination: "https://github.com/iamhectorsosa",
        // `destination` type `String` - is the path you want to route to
        permanent: true,
        // `permanent` type `Boolean` Only for Redirects
        // `true` will use 308 to cache the redirect
        // `false` will use 307 as temporary

Vercel also offers a solution for redirects and rewrites within their vercel.json Project config file. Here, redirects and rewrites are framework agnostic. You can use them with any framework supported on their platform. However, in case of a Next.js application, Vercel recommends framework level redirects as they do have precedence over platform level redirects. Here's Lee Rob's project config file.

What about subdomains?

With subdomains such as subdomain.domain.com, Vercel explains this incredibly easy (here's their redirecting subdomain guide). In short, let's say you want to rewrite app.acme.com to acme.com/app, you'll need to configure a rewrite making use of the has field.

/*** `vercel.json` ***/
  "rewrites": [
    // Requests to app.acme.com, will be rewritten to acme.com/app.
      "source": "/:path*",
      "has": [
          "type": "host",
          "value": "app.acme.com"
      "destination": "/app/:path*"