How to Set Up a WordPress Site for ReactJS

As you already know, WordPress is an effective CMS that can be used to create anything from a basic website to a highly advanced online store. But did you know you can use the WP REST API and WordPress React to bridge the gap between PHP and JavaScript on the platform? React is a user interface (UI) package developed by Facebook that takes a component-based approach to make applications that run on multiple platforms and are easy to learn and use. To get the most out of all it can do, though, you’ll need to know how to properly use it. But don’t worry, our experienced team of WordPress experts created a thorough guide for you. So continue reading and you’ll find out how to set up a WordPress site for ReactJS.

What is ReactJS and how to set it up for your WordPress website?

Before we explain how to set up a WordPress site for ReactJS, let’s first learn more about ReactJS. ReactJS is one of the most widely-used JavaScript libraries for creating websites. This Facebook-made and -maintained library contains a wealth of reusable JavaScript code snippets for constructing UI elements.

Screen with a PHP code on it next to a React JS logo
Developed and maintained by Facebook, React is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces and is often used for building single-page applications and mobile applications.

Since it solely handles the rendering of a program’s view components, people often think that ReactJS is a full-fledged JavaScript framework. So if you need more advanced features, you can combine it with a real framework such as Vue.js.

Besides ReactJS, there is another version of React – React Native, a free and open-source JavaScript framework based on the React library. You can use it to develop native apps for both iOS and Android. On top of that, you can also create cross-platform apps that exploit both platforms’ strengths.

The features and functions of ReactJS

React JS comes with plenty of useful features and functions and here are the most important ones according to WordPress experts:

  • JSX is the primary syntactic extension used in React. You can use it to simplify complicated code structures by inserting HTML code in JavaScript objects. Additionally, JSX aids in warding off cross-site scripting (XSS) threats by making it harder for attackers to inject arbitrary scripting code into the application by way of user input.
  • Virtual Document Object Model (DOM) Document Object Model (DOM) represents a web page in a data tree structure that React keeps in its memory. However, instead of rendering the full tree again, React can modify only the affected nodes. Virtual DOM uses the diffing process for data binding. Here, React creates a new Virtual DOM tree, evaluates it against the old one, and determines the best approach to implement the changes in the actual DOM. If you’re working on a large project with lots of users, this saves you time and money.
  • React components are the reusable building blocks of the user interface. In their functionality, these elements are comparable to JavaScript functions. Class components and functional components are the two most common kinds.
  • State is the native object used by React components and it’s where element property values are kept. This component will re-render itself every time you update your website. The term “state management” refers to the process of handling and storing this kind of information in libraries dedicated to this purpose. Several libraries are available for managing states; two of these are Redux and Recoil, with the latter being easier to use for newcomers.

How to set up your WordPress site for ReactJS?

If you plan to have a headless WordPress website (a site that mainly uses WordPress for content management and other technology to build the front end) you will need to use React JS. Here’s how to set it up on your website.

Upper left corner of a laptop screen with WordPress plugins opened on it
In order to set up a WordPress site for ReactJS you will need to install the WP-Rest API plugin.

Steps to set up your WordPress site for React JS

First you’ll need to install the WP-Rest API plugin. To install the WP-Rest API plugin, download the zip file from git and place its contents within WordPress’s plugins folder. You should turn on the plugin after the file has been uploaded. Incorporating this into your WordPress installation will activate the WordPress Rest API.

Make sure you install the Postman Chrome extension, as we will be making API calls. Here, you should paste the following URL – When you access your WordPress site using the aforementioned URL, WordPress will retrieve all of the post data from your website.

You can make your own post kinds with the help of the Custom Post Type UI plugin. Once you instal and activate this plugin, click on add a new post type and type in the name of your post type in the Post Type Slug field. Make sure to set Show in REST API checkbox to true as without this, you won’t be able to use headless WordPress.

Computer screen with php code on it
You don’t need advanced programing skills in order to set up a WordPress site for React JS.

Once you’ve made your edits and saved them, a new menu item will appear on the side. Just click it to create a new post format under your custom post type. You may test if the information you need is accessible via API by visiting the URL in Postman. Remember to pick the appropriate form of a post from the drop-down menu. The next step is to click “Publish.” The best part about it is that, even if you are a complete WordPress beginner, you’ll quickly get a hang of it.

Wrapping up

As you can see, it’s fairly easy to set up a WordPress site for ReactJS. However, if you are not comfortable, you don’t have to do it on your own. You can always reach out to WordPress experts and let them help you with any WordPress-related query you might have. And not just that – they’ll keep your website in great shape and make sure it always runs smoothly.

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