State Persistence in React

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State is a crucial aspect of any React application as it allows components to manage and store data that can change over time. However, when a user refreshes the page or navigates away from it, the state is typically lost. This can be problematic, especially when you want to maintain the application’s state across different sessions or page reloads.

In this article, we will explore different techniques and strategies for achieving state persistence in React. We will discuss various approaches, ranging from simple local storage to more advanced methods such as using server-side storage or third-party libraries. So, let’s dive in!

Understanding State in React

Before we delve into the topic of state persistence, let’s quickly recap what state means in the context of React. In React, state is an object that represents the data specific to a component. It is mutable and can be updated using the setState method. By modifying the state, React triggers a re-render of the component, ensuring that the UI reflects the updated state.

Do you want a deeper dive into State Management in React? View this article.

In a typical React application, state is stored and managed within individual components. When a component is unmounted or the page is refreshed, the state is lost, and the component reverts to its initial state. This behavior is by design and follows React’s philosophy of managing state within the component’s lifecycle.

Local Storage

One of the simplest ways to achieve state persistence in React is by leveraging the browser’s local storage. The local storage provides a key-value storage mechanism that persists data even when the page is refreshed or closed.

To store the state in the local storage, we can use the localStorage object available in the browser’s JavaScript environment. Here’s a basic example of how you can implement state persistence using local storage:

import React, { useState, useEffect } from 'react';

const App = () => {
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

  useEffect(() => {
    const storedCount = localStorage.getItem('count');
    if (storedCount) {
      setCount(parseInt(storedCount, 10));
  }, []);

  useEffect(() => {
    localStorage.setItem('count', count);
  }, [count]);

  return (
      <p>Count: {count}</p>
      <button onClick={() => setCount(count + 1)}>Increment</button>
      <button onClick={() => setCount(count - 1)}>Decrement</button>

export default App;

In the code snippet above, we use the useState hook to manage the count state. In the useEffect hook with an empty dependency array ([]), we retrieve the stored count value from the local storage and update the component state if it exists. The second useEffect hook listens to changes in the count state and stores it in the local storage whenever it changes.

By leveraging the local storage, the count value will persist even if the user refreshes the page or closes and reopens it.

Session Storage

Similar to local storage, the browser’s session storage provides another option for achieving state persistence in React. The session storage has the same API as the local storage but with a key difference – the data stored in session storage is cleared when the user closes the browser tab or window.

To use session storage for state persistence, the implementation is almost identical to the previous example using local storage. The only change required is replacing localStorage with sessionStorage:

// ...

  useEffect(() => {
    const storedCount = sessionStorage.getItem('count');
    if (storedCount) {
      setCount(parseInt(storedCount, 10));
  }, []);

  useEffect(() => {
    sessionStorage.setItem('count', count);
  }, [count]);

// ...

Using sessionStorage instead of localStorage ensures that the state is persisted only until the user closes the tab or window.

Server-Side Storage

While local storage and session storage are useful for maintaining state persistence within a single user session, they are limited to the user’s browser. If you want to maintain state across different devices or users, you need to consider server-side storage options.

When it comes to server-side storage, there are various approaches you can take depending on your application’s requirements. Here are a few commonly used options:

Database Storage

One of the most common server-side storage solutions is to utilize a database to persist state data. You can choose a database that suits your needs, such as PostgreSQL, MySQL, MongoDB, or Firebase Realtime Database.

To store state in a database, you need to establish a server-side API or backend that handles the data storage and retrieval operations. React can communicate with the server-side API using techniques like RESTful APIs or GraphQL.

The basic workflow involves sending state updates from the React application to the server-side API, which then stores the data in the database. When the user revisits the application, the React app retrieves the stored state from the server and updates the component accordingly.


Cookies are small pieces of data stored in the user’s browser. They are often used for session management and can be utilized for state persistence as well. However, cookies have limitations on the amount of data they can store, typically limited to a few kilobytes.

To achieve state persistence using cookies, you can serialize the state data and store it as a cookie value. When the user returns to the application, the React app can read the cookie and deserialize the state data to restore the previous state.

It’s worth noting that cookies are sent with every HTTP request, which can increase the request payload size. If the state data is large or sensitive, you might want to consider other server-side storage options.

Server-Side Sessions

Server-side sessions involve storing the session data on the server and associating it with a unique session identifier. The session identifier is then stored in a cookie or sent as a token to the client. The server can use the session identifier to retrieve the corresponding session data whenever the client makes a request.

Server-side sessions can be implemented using frameworks and libraries such as Express.js, Django, or Ruby on Rails. The session data can be stored in memory, a database, or other persistent storage mechanisms supported by the chosen framework.

Server-side sessions provide more flexibility and control over the data storage, allowing you to handle complex state persistence scenarios.

Third-Party Libraries

In addition to the aforementioned methods, several third-party libraries can simplify state persistence in React. These libraries provide abstractions and utilities to handle state management and persistence, saving you time and effort in building custom solutions. Here are a few notable libraries:

Redux Persist

Redux Persist is a popular library for persisting Redux state in React applications. Redux is a predictable state container for JavaScript applications, and Redux Persist adds the ability to save and load the state from storage.

Redux Persist supports different storage engines such as local storage, session storage, or even custom storage solutions. It handles serialization and deserialization of the state and provides configuration options for fine-grained control over the persistence behavior.

React Query

React Query is a powerful data-fetching and caching library for React. While its primary focus is on data fetching, React Query also provides built-in support for state persistence. It offers options to cache and persist the fetched data, ensuring that the data remains available even after the page reloads or browser restarts. Visit our detailed guide to React Query to learn more.

React Query supports different storage mechanisms such as local storage and session storage. It also integrates well with server-side storage options by allowing you to define custom query resolvers.


If you prefer using MobX for state management in your React application, MobX-Persist is a library that enables state persistence for MobX. MobX is a simple and scalable state management solution, and MobX-Persist adds the ability to persist the MobX stores.

MobX-Persist allows you to define which parts of the state need to be persisted and provides options to choose the storage mechanism, such as local storage or async storage.


State persistence is an essential aspect of many React applications, enabling a seamless user experience by maintaining data across sessions and page reloads. In this article, we explored different techniques and strategies for achieving state persistence in React.

Remember that the choice of state persistence technique depends on your application’s requirements, scalability needs, and data sensitivity. Assess the trade-offs and choose the approach that best fits your use case.

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Rajae Robinson

Rajae Robinson is a young Software Developer with over 3 years of work experience building websites and mobile apps. He has extensive experience with React.js and Next.js.

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