Tall Tales

Working routes on React build process

February 13, 2020

I’ve built a number of Create React App projects, and many of them made use of React Router. That said, almost all of those projects were deployed to something like Netlify, where your build and deploy processes are taken care of for you. But when trying a simple yarn build and testing the files on a server, you’ll likely find your routes aren’t working.

In addition to developing locally, I needed to move the files created from a build command over to a server subfolder that employees could access. The issue I had was the first page launched fine, but all other routes were broken.

Here’s what I did to fix it.

The three main packages (CRA installs many more)

  • react: 16
  • react-router-dom: 5.1.2
  • react-snap: 1.23

    yarn add -D react-snap

A quick breakdown of the three files that need updating.


  • When installing react-snap, one the main things you’ll want to do is tweak your package.json file to allow snap to integrate with your build process. So in your scripts area, you’ll want to add:

    "postbuild": "react-snap"

  • Like I said above, all my routes were broken, mainly because they no longer recognized the subfolder as the main root level of the site. We’ll call that subfolder “employees”.
  • To help fix this issue, I added the homepage item near the top of package.json. The line looks like this:

    "homepage": "/employees/"

    Note the forward-slashes before and after.


  • Only one addition to this file, <base>, and it gets added to the the <head> area. The way I understand it, this %PUBLIC_URL% variable (below) gets replaced by your homepage value you put in package.json.
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
        <base href="%PUBLIC_URL%/">
        <meta charset="utf-8">


Below is my index.js file. Two main items to point out here:

  1. The use of hydrate and render (needed by react-snap).
  2. The addition of the basename prop in the hydrate method, which helps get the subfolder recognized as your root path.
import React from 'react';
import { hydrate, render } from "react-dom";
import App from './App';
import { BrowserRouter } from 'react-router-dom';
import { GlobalStyle } from './DefaultStyles';

const rootElement = document.getElementById("root");

if (rootElement.hasChildNodes()) {
    hydrate(<BrowserRouter basename="/employee/">
        <GlobalStyle />
        <App />
    </BrowserRouter>, rootElement);
} else {
        <GlobalStyle />
        <App />
    </BrowserRouter>, rootElement);
Bill Pliske

Written by Bill Pliske, who lives and works in the Arizona desert trying his best to stay cool.