React app online in 10 easy steps

2 minute read

Tutorial for Beginners. Create and build your first React.js app. Deploy to the web in the fastest way possible. The process will take less than 30 minutes to complete.

React is a modern, very popular, state-of-art JavaScript framework invented by Facebook for building user interfaces. Is an open source project used by such giants like Instagram, Airbnb, Imgur, IMDb and Netflix. Everyone seems to be talking about React now! If you want to have your own React application online, follow these instructions:

  1. Install Node.js Download your version of Node from and click to install it.

  2. Open console: Start > cmd - cmd.exe

  3. You should have Node.js and npm (comes in the package) already installed now. Check their version numbers:
    node -v
    npm -v    
  4. Now install the main React.js appplication template with just one line of code:
    npm create-react-app my-app    

    It may take a minute to have your app ready.

  5. Once installed, change the folder and start the application:
    cd my-app    
    npm start    
  6. Now open the browser: http://localhost:3000/ and you should see the “Welcome to React” screen.

  7. Customize the app now. Stop the server (click Ctrl+C twice) and type:
    cd src
    edit App.js    

    Edit these two lines of code:

     <h2>Welcome to React</h2>
     To get started, edit src/App.js and save to reload.        

    To something of your choice, eg.:

     <h2>Hello world!</h2>
     This is my first React App.         

    Save and Exit. (You can use your preferred editor, instead. You may also want to change other files like App.css or logo.svg)

  8. Make sure that your changes are effective: http://localhost:3000/

  9. Now build your app:
    npm run build    

    This will create /build folder with your app inside.

  10. It’s time to show your app to the world! The fastest way to deploy is with free option. Install it first:
    npm install -g surge    

    Now just type:


    Provide your:

    project path:  //path to your /build folder
    domain:  //domain of your choice    

There you have it! Your first React.js application should be online now at your chosen URL (

There are plenty of tutorials how to create React application but they all seem to miss one point by not showing the immediate results. Beginners are likely to get confused as the number of available tools, patterns and frameworks is growing exponentially. In this short tutorial, I have shown how to build a basic React app, deploy and have it running under a custom URL. Surprisingly, you don’t need to write JSX, ES6 or even any JavaScript code at all! This tutorial will not make you a dev right away, but may encourage you to learn more, and soon become one.

In short:

npm create-react my-app
cd my-app/src
edit App.js
npm run build
npm install -g surge

That’s the easiest way to build your first React app. Good luck and have fun! Let me know if it worked for you in the comments below.

Next steps

Try to comprehend what’s going on in this picture: Process flow in React.js

That’s React.js in a nutshell. You may also try the official tutorial.