Using Rust in Next.js API Routes


Next.js is a popular React framework that is used to build server-rendered React applications. It's a powerful tool that allows you to build fast, scalable, and SEO-friendly web applications. One of the key features of Next.js is its support for API routes, which allow you to create serverless functions that can be used to handle requests from your frontend application.

By default, Next.js API routes are written in JavaScript or TypeScript. However, it's also possible to write API routes in other languages supported by Vercel. In this tutorial, we'll show you how to use Rust to write API routes in a Next.js project.


Before you get started, you'll need to have the following installed on your machine:


Step 1: Initialise a new Next.js project

First, create a new Next.js project using the following command:

bunx create-next-app@latest <project-name>
npx create-next-app@latest <project-name>
pnpx create-next-app@latest <project-name>

For the purpose of this tutorial, we'll not discuss the details surrounding the various package managers. However, for brevity, we'll use npx as a placeholder for the package manager command as it is the most common package manager used in the JavaScript ecosystem.

Step 2: Install Vercel CLI via Package Manager

Next, install the Vercel CLI using your preferred package manager:

bun add -D vercel
npm install -D vercel
pnpm add -D vercel

We are using the -D or --save-dev flag to tell the package manager to install Vercel CLI as a development dependency. This is because the Vercel CLI is only needed during the development and deployment process.

For more information on the Vercel CLI, you can visit the official documentation.

Step 3: Install Rust runtime for Vercel

As of the time of writing, Vercel does not have native support for Rust. However, there is a community-supported runtime for Rust called vercel-rust. You can install it using your preferred package manager:

bun add -D vercel-rust
npm install -D vercel-rust
pnpm add -D vercel-rust

This article will complements the official documentation on how to use Rust with Vercel. I highly recommend you read the official documentation to get a better understanding of the nuances of configuring Rust with Vercel.

For more information on the vercel-rust runtime, you can visit the official GitHub repository

Step 4: Add and Configure vercel.json to use Rust runtime

touch vercel.json

Add the following configuration to the vercel.json file:

    "functions": {
        "api/**/*.rs": {
            "runtime": "vercel-rust@L<version>"

Replace version with the latest version of the vercel-rust runtime. This should be the same version you installed in the previous step.

It is important to note that the vercel.json file is used to configure your API routes and other settings for your Vercel project. You can read more about the vercel.json file in the official documentation.

Step 5: Install Rust

If you don't already have Rust installed on your machine, you can install it by running the following command:

curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSf | sh

Step 6: Create a new Rust project at the root of your Next.js project

Cargo is the package manager for Rust. Similar to npm for Node.js, Cargo is used to manage Rust projects. You can create a new Rust project using the following command:

cargo new <project-name>

Step 7: Add the following to your Cargo.toml

There are a few dependencies that you need to add to your Cargo.toml file in order to use Rust with Vercel. Add the following to your Cargo.toml file:

tokio = { version = "1", features = ["macros"] }
# Documentation:
vercel_runtime = { version = "1.1.1" }

# Add Rust API routes
name = "hello"
path = "api/"

The tokio crate is an asynchronous runtime for Rust. It is used to handle the I/O operations in our API route. The vercel_runtime crate is a library that provides utilities for working with the Vercel runtime.

The [[bin]] section is used to specify the binary targets for your Rust project.

Step 8: Create a new Rust file at the path specified in the Cargo.toml

To create a new Rust file at the path specified in the Cargo.toml file, run the following command:

touch api/

This is different to the default Next JS pages/api directory.

Add the following code to the file:

use vercel_runtime::{Request, Response};

async fn main() {
    vercel_runtime::run(|request: Request| async move {
        Ok(Response::new().with_body("Hello, World!"))

This code defines a simple API route that responds with "Hello, World!" when it receives a request.

Step 9: Deploy your Next.js project to Vercel

To deploy your Next.js project to Vercel, run the following command in your Next JS project directory:


Follow the prompts to deploy your project to Vercel. Once the deployment is complete, you will receive a URL for your project.

Step 10: Visit your API route

Test your API route by visiting the following URL in your browser or interacting with it using curl:

curl https://<project-name>

You should see the response "Hello, World!" in your browser or terminal.


In this tutorial, we showed you how to use Rust to write API routes in a Next.js project. By combining the power of Rust with the flexibility of Next.js, you can build fast, scalable, and reliable web applications. We hope this tutorial has been helpful, and we encourage you to explore the possibilities of using Rust with Next.js further.

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