React.js: Set innerHTML vs dangerouslySetInnerHTML

Is there any “behind the scenes” difference from setting an element’s innerHTML vs setting the dangerouslySetInnerHTML property on an element? Assume I’m properly sanitizing things for the sake of simplicity.


var test = React.createClass({
  render: function(){
    return (
      <div contentEditable='true' dangerouslySetInnerHTML={{ __html: "Hello" }}></div>


var test = React.createClass({
  componentDidUpdate: function(prevProp, prevState){
    this.refs.test.innerHTML = "Hello";
  render: function(){
    return (
      <div contentEditable='true' ref='test'></div>

I’m doing something a bit more complicated than the above example, but the overall idea is the same


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Method 1

Yes there is a difference!

The immediate effect of using innerHTML versus dangerouslySetInnerHTML is identical — the DOM node will update with the injected HTML.

However, behind the scenes when you use dangerouslySetInnerHTML it lets React know that the HTML inside of that component is not something it cares about.

Because React uses a virtual DOM, when it goes to compare the diff against the actual DOM, it can straight up bypass checking the children of that node because it knows the HTML is coming from another source. So there’s performance gains.

More importantly, if you simply use innerHTML, React has no way to know the DOM node has been modified. The next time the render function is called, React will overwrite the content that was manually injected with what it thinks the correct state of that DOM node should be.

Your solution to use componentDidUpdate to always ensure the content is in sync I believe would work but there might be a flash during each render.

Method 2

You can bind to dom directly

<div dangerouslySetInnerHTML={{__html: '<p>First &middot; Second</p>'}}></div>

Method 3

According to Dangerously Set innerHTML,

Improper use of the innerHTML can open you up to a cross-site
scripting (XSS)

attack. Sanitizing user input for display is notoriously error-prone,
and failure to properly sanitize is one of the leading causes of web
vulnerabilities on the internet.

Our design philosophy is that it should be “easy” to make things safe,
and developers should explicitly state their intent when performing
“unsafe” operations. The prop name dangerouslySetInnerHTML is
intentionally chosen to be frightening, and the prop value (an object
instead of a string) can be used to indicate sanitized data.

After fully understanding the security ramifications and properly
sanitizing the data, create a new object containing only the key
__html and your sanitized data as the value. Here is an example
using the JSX syntax:

function createMarkup() {
    return {
       __html: 'First &middot; Second'    };

<div dangerouslySetInnerHTML={createMarkup()} />

Read more about it using below link:

documentation: React DOM Elements – dangerouslySetInnerHTML.

Method 4

Based on (dangerouslySetInnerHTML).

It’s a prop that does exactly what you want. However they name it to convey that it should be use with caution

Method 5

Yes there is a difference b/w the two:
dangerouslySetInnerHTML: React diffing algorithm ( is designed to ignore the HTML nodes modified under this attribute thereby slightly improving the performance.
If we use innerHTML, React has no way to know the DOM is modified. The next time the render  happens, React will overwrite the content that was manually injected with what it thinks the correct state of that DOM node should be.
That’s where componentDidUpdate comes to rescue!

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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