React is an open-source JavaScript library built and maintained by Facebook. It is one of the most advanced technologies that allow creating apps of any scale and size. Big companies and brands have already used React. Netflix, Instagram, Uber are among them.

React is a part of the Big Three JavaScript frameworks and is supported by a huge community, arguably the largest of any JavaScript technology. Today, we will find out why the React JS library is so popular, why big companies choose it, as well as share a list of top websites that use React.

Why Is React So Popular?

The history of React dates back to 2011, when developers at Facebook started facing issues with code maintenance. To simplify the development process, provide more comfortable user experience and build a dynamic UI with high performance, Jordan Walke decided to create a Javascript library.

Let's look at the brief history behind React:


React ensures amazing developer experience and user satisfaction. The fact that React is open-source also adds points to its popularity. According to Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2020, React is the second most popular web framework. 35.9% of the respondents stated that they use this technology. React has currently received 164K stars on Github, over 1500 contributors and 32.8 GitHub forks.

Moreover, today, there are more than 3 million websites using React. The reason why so many companies use it is the benefits of React:

1. High Performance

When it comes to libraries or frameworks, the performance and speed are the key to success. React uses virtual Document Object Model (DOM) instead of the traditional DOM. DOM is featured by its non-adaptive capabilities while creating the dynamic user interface solutions. As a result, web-interfaces have low performance.

Alternatively, virtual DOM helps the websites built with React be scalable and offer high performance. It also makes programming faster.

2. Easy-to-learn

React is a user interface library, so it makes it easier to learn. React comes with a good set of documentation, tutorials, and learning resources. If you have some basic knowledge of Javascript, it won’t be a problem to understand React.

3. Increased Productivity

The ability to reuse code components of a different level is another great advantage. Each component is responsible for one small part of the entire application and can be reused anytime, anywhere. Thanks to that, it’s possible to build a complex application out of simple blocks.

4. SEO-friendly

This feature is a huge advantage because not all JavaScript frameworks are SEO-friendly. According to Moz, the faster the page loads, the higher an app will rank on Google. React lets build server-side rendering (SSR) web applications. Thanks to the fast rendering, React significantly reduces the page load time, which greatly helps to increase your site’s rankings.

5. Useful Developer Toolset

React has a complete toolset for smooth performance called React Developer Tools. It is an extension to Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. This tool allows developers to check the React component hierarchies and makes it possible to edit its current props and state.

6. Large Community

React has very strong community support, which is one of the main reasons to adopt it in your project. While React is an open source JavaScript framework, any developer can contribute to the framework, as it is easily accessible to everyone. The large community support allows sharing experiences and portfolio so you can improve the code.

What's more, experts also regularly upload free React tutorials to Youtube and write in-depth React tutorials and blogs. Aside from that, React experts also regularly resolve doubts. This means that if developers get stuck while developing an app, they can always get help.

Top React Websites

So, who uses React? It’s time to look at a list of websites using React.



The year of launch: 2004
Founder: Mark Zuckerberg

Of course, we will start our list with Facebook – a social network initially created for Harvard students but later turned out to be the most popular social network ever.

React was created by Facebook as an open source project, and is definitely used in the platform. Today, Facebook keeps supporting and maintaining React. High-speed rendering helps Facebook performing well and provides the best user experience for billions of users across the globe.

It’s also worth mentioning that the company introduced React Native, a framework for building native apps. With React Native, the development of cross-platform apps moved to a new level.



The year of launch: 2010
Founders: Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger

Instagram is a photo and video sharing social network. Now owned by Facebook. When Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 it didn’t have the web app. Facebook created it and the technology they used was React. Numerous features such as geolocation, Google Maps APIs, search engine accuracy are implemented using React.



The year of launch: 2008
Founders: Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk and Joe Gebbia

Airbnb is vacation rental online marketplace that connects hosts and travelers. It currently covers 191+ countries worldwide.

Airbnb started using React in 2014. React made it easier to serve such a huge P2P marketplace like Airbnb. According to Software Engineer at Airbnb, reusability/portability and refactorability are the major advantages of React. Airbnb engineers have created the Javascript Testing utility for React – Enzyme. Moreover, they’ve contributed to the React Ecosystem. For example, they introduced the open source library React for the needs of developers and designers.



The year of launch: 1997
Founders: Reed Hastings, Marc Randolph

Netflix is a media streaming platform that allows watching TV series, movies, documentaries, and other video content online. It is a leader in the entertainment industry. While Netflix is a streaming giant, it needs to maintain high product performance. This is one of the most important requirements for a streaming service.

It was essential for Netflix to re-evaluate its existing UI technology stack and to determine whether to search for new solutions. The decision to adopt React was influenced by: 1) startup speed, 2) runtime performance, and 3) modularity. According to Netflix Technology blog:

React has exceeded our requirements and enabled us to build a tremendous foundation on which to innovate the Netflix experience.



The year of launch: 2009
Founders: Travis Kalanick, Garrett Camp

Uber is a multinational ride-hailing company. Its services include ride-hailing, food delivery (Uber Eats), package delivery, couriers, freight transportation. The company is based in San Francisco and covers more than 10,000 cities worldwide.

To keep services simple, provide high user experience, handle huge volumes of traffic, the Uber team chose React and utilized its features from the start. The team also created open-source libraries and Base Web, a design system for building websites in React. It acts as a device-agnostic foundation for quickly and easily creating web applications.

Khan Academy


The year of launch: 2008
Founder: Salman Khan

Khan Academy is an American non-profit organization that provides free world-class education for anyone. The online platform is available in multiple languages and offers courses on various subjects.

Khan Academy moved from Backbone and Handlebars to React due to its performance and simplicity. Khan Academy uses React's component-based structure and developes their platform entirely from components. Khan Academy has an official GitHub page where they share some of the most reusable React components.



The year of launch: 2005
Founders: Steve Huffman, Aaron Swartz, Alexis Ohanian

Reddit is a social media site where you can share content, engage in discussions and interact with other users. Reddit categorizes its content into subreddits. There are millions of users. Based on the statistics from January 2020, daily active users counted to 52M+, communities – 100K+, monthly views – 50B+.

Reddit uses React as one of the technologies for its website to deliver a great user experience for all of these users.



The year of launch: 2008
Founders: Drew Houston, Arash Ferdowsi

Dropbox is file hosting service that enables you to store and share files/folders with others using file synchronization.

Dropbox started using React just recently. Faster rendering, improved reliability, SEO capabilities were some of the major reasons why Dropbox switched to React. Dropbox handles large amounts of data, including photos, videos, and files every day. React fulfills this need efficiently.

The New York Times


The year of launch: 1996, The New York Times website was launched
Founder of New York Times Digital: Martin Nisenholtz

The New York Times is one of the most popular digital and print newspapers around the world. The New York Times website uses React as one of the key technologies to provide a high-quality experience to their subscribers. So far, it has served them well and they have not experienced any significant issues.



The year of launch: 2002
Founders: Mike Cannon-Brookes, Scott Farquhar

Atlassian is an Australian software company that develops products for software developers and project managers. If you are a software development agency you are probably using their products: Jira, Bitbucket, etc.

Atlassian uses React internally and externally. They benefit from many React features, such as deployment to desktop, Web, mobile with its reusable components.

Final thoughts

The framework, created by Facebook engineers, has attracted the attention of big companies and young startups. The React website examples shared above prove that you can build almost any type of app. React is a great choice for products like: social networks, P2P platforms, news portals, video-streaming products and others. If you have any idea on the website or app building, React is worth your attention.

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