Link prefetching is a technique that can be used to speed up page-to-page transitions by preloading resources that are likely to be needed next. It can help reduce the perceived latency of the application by reducing the time between clicking a link and seeing the next page.

Update on 10 Sep 2023 Astro launched View Transitions and we have implemented on, Now navigating between pages feel buttery smooth. As Astro uses pre-fetching on hover :)

Astro, Gatsby and Next.js are all popular frameworks for building web applications with React. They all have different approaches to link prefetching.

Astro uses a built-in link prefetching mechanism that automatically prefetches pages when they are hovered over or focused on. This can help speed up page transitions without requiring any additional configuration.

Gatsby.js has a plugin called gatsby-plugin-preload-link which can be used to add link prefetching to your site. This plugin will automatically add tags to your pages for any links that are likely to be clicked next.

Next.js has built-in support for link prefetching using the component. This component will automatically add tags to your pages for any links that are likely to be clicked next.

Based on my personal experience, I’ve noticed that Astro tends to have slower page-to-page transitions, while gatsby.js stands out as the fastest in this regard. To see this contrast in action, you can directly compare the transitions between (built with Astro) and (built with Gatsby). Interestingly, despite being a smaller website than, the page-to-page transitions on the former are notably slower.

All three frameworks have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to choose the one that best fits your needs. If you’re looking for a framework that provides built-in support for link prefetching, then Astro or Next.js might be a good choice. If you’re looking for a more flexible solution that allows you to customize how link prefetching works, then Gatsby might be a better fit.