Understanding React Production vs. Development Modes

Ramesh Murukesan
3 min readSep 6, 2023


React is a powerful JavaScript library for building user interfaces. When working with React, you’ll often switch between two modes: development and production. These modes serve different purposes, and it’s essential to know when and how to use them.

Development Mode

Development mode, as the name suggests, is primarily used during the development phase of your React application. Here are some key characteristics of React’s development mode:

  1. Debugging Information: In development mode, React provides helpful error messages and warnings in the console. This makes it easier to identify and fix issues in your code.
  2. Fast Refresh: React’s development server supports a feature called “Fast Refresh,” which allows you to see changes in your code almost instantly without having to manually refresh the browser.
  3. Optimizations Disabled: The development mode intentionally avoids certain performance optimizations to provide a better debugging experience. This may result in slower application performance compared to production mode.
  4. Large Bundle Size: The JavaScript bundle generated in development mode is larger because it includes development-specific code and warnings.

Production Mode

Production mode is optimized for deploying your React application in a production environment. Here are the key characteristics of React’s production mode:

  1. Performance Optimization: React removes development-specific code and optimizations to make your application faster and more efficient.
  2. Smaller Bundle Size: The JavaScript bundle generated in production mode is smaller, reducing load times for your users.
  3. Minification and Compression: In production mode, your code is minified and compressed, further reducing bundle size.
  4. No Debugging Information: React suppresses error messages and warnings in the console by default in production mode. This is to prevent potentially sensitive information from being exposed to users.
  5. Caching: Production builds often include caching strategies to improve load times for returning users.

When to Use Production Build for Static Hosting

You should use the production build of your React application when deploying it to a static hosting service or any production environment. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to deploying your React app in production mode:

  1. Build Your Application: Run the following command to create a production-ready build of your React app:
npm run build

This command generates an optimized build in the build directory of your project.

2. Deploy to Static Hosting: You can use static hosting services like Netlify, Vercel, GitHub Pages, or AWS S3 to host your production build. Simply upload the contents of the build directory to your hosting service of choice.

3. Configure Routing: If your React app uses client-side routing (e.g., React Router), ensure that your hosting service is configured to handle these routes correctly. This may involve creating a 404.html file or configuring rewrite rules.

4. Set Environment Variables: If your app relies on environment variables, make sure to configure them in your hosting environment. Many hosting services allow you to set environment variables directly through their dashboards.

5. Monitor and Test: Regularly monitor your hosted application for any issues and test it in a production-like environment.

Testing the Production Build Locally

To test the production build of your React app locally before deploying, you can use a tool like serve. Here's how to do it:

  1. Install serve globally if you haven't already:
npm install -g serve

2. Navigate to your project’s build directory:

cd path/to/your/project/build

3. Start a local server using serve:

serve -s

4. Open your browser and visit http://localhost:5000 (or another port specified by serve). This will serve your production build locally.

Testing your production build locally allows you to catch any issues before deploying it to a live environment.

Remember that understanding when to use production and development modes in React is crucial for building and deploying robust applications. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a smooth deployment process and provide a fast and reliable user experience.



Ramesh Murukesan

I am a techie guy born in India, developing products to fulfil gaps in technology.