ApolloClient with SSR

Posted on 19 November 2018 in Web

I recently came across an curious issue with ApolloClient on a server-side render. The GraphQL results wouldn’t update until I restarted the server.

In a client-side app, a new ApolloClient gets created for each page load. But in a node.js service, it runs once on application launch and sits in memory till the whole application has been killed - that could be days or weeks.

Not only that, as the server-side ApolloClient sits in memory, it’s shared between every user connection, and is therefore ripe for leaking data between connections. Not what we want.

To overcome this problem, we instantiate a new ApolloClient for each connection. We can wrap this up in a nice reusable method:

import { ApolloClient } from 'apollo-client';
import { createHttpLink } from 'apollo-link-http';
import { InMemoryCache } from 'apollo-cache-inmemory';
import { withClientState } from 'apollo-link-state';
import { ApolloLink } from 'apollo-link';

const CreateClient = (defaults = {}, links: any[] = []): ApolloClient<{}> => {
  const cache = new InMemoryCache();

  const stateLink = withClientState({
    resolvers: {},

  return new ApolloClient({
    connectToDevTools: false,
    ssrMode: true,
    link: ApolloLink.from([
        uri: process.env.GRAPHQL_URL

export { CreateClient };

We can then import the file on launch, and crucially, run the CreateClient function for each request. Not only that, we can pass in defaultState and prime the apollo-link-state cache with any user defaults. Furthermore, we can add additional link helpers like onError.

server.get('/*', async (req: express.Request, res: express.Response) => {
  const defaultState = {};
  const errorLink = onError((error) => {});

  const client: ApolloClient<{}> = CreateClient(defaultState, [errorLink]);

  const Application = () => {
    return (
      <ApolloProvider client={client}>
        <App />

Reusing CreateClient

We could’ve run all that CreateClient code within the server.get method, but by moving it outside, we can reuse it in our tests. This time, there’s no defaultState or additional links, so we can call createClient directly.

import * as React from 'react';
import ApolloClient from 'apollo-client';
import { ApolloProvider } from 'react-apollo';
import { mount } from 'enzyme';
import { CreateClient } from '@/gql/CreateClient';
import { User } from '@/pages/User';

describe('<User /> page', () => {
  const client: ApolloClient<{}> = CreateClient();
  it('renders a user profile', () => {
      <ApolloProvider client={client}>
        <User match={{ params: { username: 'trys' } }} />

Posted on 19 November 2018 in Web