Your 10 Most Common GraphQL Questions Answered — SitePoint

Mar 31, 2023

In this text, we’ll answer the ten mostly asked GraphQL questions, covering pagination, graphQL versioning, batch loading, cache handling, file uploads, and more.

1. How do I handle errors in GraphQL?

In GraphQL, errors are handled by returning an errors field within the response. The errors field is an array of error objects, each containing a message field and optionally other fields with additional information.

To handle errors on the server side, you’ll be able to throw custom errors in your resolvers. For instance, in JavaScript:

throw latest Error(‘Something went flawed’);

On the client side, you’ll be able to check for the presence of the errors field within the response and handle them accordingly.

2. How do I paginate ends in GraphQL?

To paginate ends in GraphQL, you need to use the “Connection” pattern, which involves using “edges” and “nodes” to represent connections between objects. You can even use arguments like first, last, before, and after to manage the pagination.

Here’s an example schema for paginating a listing of users:

type Query {
users(first: Int, after: String): UserConnection

type UserConnection {
edges: [UserEdge]
pageInfo: PageInfo

type UserEdge {
node: User
cursor: String

type PageInfo {
hasNextPage: Boolean
endCursor: String

In your resolver, you’d implement the logic to fetch the paginated data and return the suitable connection object.

3. How do I handle authentication and authorization in GraphQL?

Authentication and authorization aren’t built into GraphQL, but you’ll be able to implement them using middleware or context. For authentication, you need to use a token-based approach (corresponding to JWT) or another authentication mechanism.

In your GraphQL server, you’ll be able to add a middleware to confirm the authentication token and add the authenticated user to the context. In your resolvers, you’ll be able to access the context to envision if the user is authenticated and authorized to perform the requested operation.

For instance, in JavaScript:

const authenticationMiddleware = async (req, res, next) => {
const token = req.headers.authorization;
const user = await verifyToken(token);
req.user = user;

const context = ({ req }) => {
return { user: req.user };

const resolver = {
Query: {
protectedData: (parent, args, context) => {
if (!context.user) {
throw latest Error(‘Not authenticated’);


4. How do I handle real-time updates with GraphQL?

To handle real-time updates in GraphQL, you need to use subscriptions. Subscriptions allow clients to receive updates when specific events occur on the server.

To implement subscriptions, you must define a Subscription type in your schema and use the subscribe field in your resolvers to define the events that trigger updates.

For instance:

type Subscription {
userCreated: User

In your resolver, you need to use an event emitter or a pub/sub system to handle subscriptions:

const { PubSub } = require(‘graphql-subscriptions’);
const pubsub = latest PubSub();


const resolvers = {
Subscription: {
userCreated: {
subscribe: () => pubsub.asyncIterator(USER_CREATED),
Mutation: {
createUser: (parent, args) => {
const newUser = createUser(args);
pubsub.publish(USER_CREATED, { userCreated: newUser });
return newUser;

5. How do I handle file uploads with GraphQL?

GraphQL doesn’t have built-in support for file uploads, but you need to use the graphql-upload package to handle file uploads in your GraphQL server.

First, install the package:

npm install graphql-upload

Then, add the Upload scalar to your schema:

scalar Upload

type Mutation {
uploadFile(file: Upload!): File

In your resolver, you need to use the createReadStream method to handle the uploaded file:

const { GraphQLUpload } = require(‘graphql-upload’);

const resolvers = {
Upload: GraphQLUpload,
Mutation: {
uploadFile: async (parent, { file }) => {
const { createReadStream, filename, mimetype } = await file;

return { filename, mimetype };

6. How do I handle caching in GraphQL?

Caching in GraphQL may be implemented on each the client-side and server-side. On the client side, you need to use libraries like Apollo Client or Relay, which give built-in caching mechanisms.

On the server side, you’ll be able to implement caching using DataLoader, a utility provided by Facebook that helps with batching and caching data-fetching operations. DataLoader may be used to cache database queries, API calls, or another data-fetching operation.

First, install DataLoader:

npm install dataloader

Then, create a DataLoader instance for every data-fetching operation you should cache:

const DataLoader = require(‘dataloader’);

const userLoader = latest DataLoader(async (userIds) => {
const users = await getUsersByIds(userIds);
return => users.find((user) => === id));

In your resolvers, use the DataLoader instance to fetch data:

const resolvers = {
Query: {
user: (parent, { id }) => userLoader.load(id),

7. How do I handle batch loading in GraphQL?

Batch loading may be implemented using DataLoader, which helps with batching and caching data-fetching operations. DataLoader groups multiple requests for a similar data type right into a single batch, reducing the variety of database queries or API calls.

Follow the identical steps as within the caching example above to create a DataLoader instance and use it in your resolvers.

8. How do I handle N+1 query problems in GraphQL?

The N+1 query problem occurs when multiple queries are executed to fetch related data, leading to inefficient data fetching. DataLoader can assist solve the N+1 query problem by batching and caching data-fetching operations.

By utilizing DataLoader in your resolvers, you’ll be able to be certain that related data is fetched in a single batch, reducing the variety of and improving performance.

9. How do I handle schema stitching or schema federation in GraphQL?

Schema stitching and schema federation are techniques used to mix multiple GraphQL schemas right into a single schema.

Schema stitching may be implemented using the graphql-tools package. First, install the package:

npm install graphql-tools

Then, use the mergeSchemas function to mix your schemas:

const { mergeSchemas } = require(‘graphql-tools’);

const schema1 = makeExecutableSchema({ typeDefs: typeDefs1, resolvers: resolvers1 });
const schema2 = makeExecutableSchema({ typeDefs: typeDefs2, resolvers: resolvers2 });

const mergedSchema = mergeSchemas({ schemas: [schema1, schema2] });

Schema federation may be implemented using Apollo Federation. First, install the required packages:

npm install @apollo/federation @apollo/gateway

Then, use the buildFederatedSchema function to create a federated schema for every service:

const { buildFederatedSchema } = require(‘@apollo/federation’);

const schema1 = buildFederatedSchema([{ typeDefs: typeDefs1, resolvers: resolvers1 }]);
const schema2 = buildFederatedSchema([{ typeDefs: typeDefs2, resolvers: resolvers2 }]);

Finally, use the ApolloGateway class to create a gateway that mixes the federated schemas:

const { ApolloGateway } = require(‘@apollo/gateway’);

const gateway = latest ApolloGateway({
serviceList: [
{ name: ‘service1’, url: ‘http://localhost:4001’ },
{ name: ‘service2’, url: ‘http://localhost:4002’ },

10. How do I handle versioning in GraphQL?

GraphQL doesn’t have built-in support for versioning, but you’ll be able to handle versioning by evolving your schema over time. As a substitute of making multiple versions of your API, you’ll be able to add latest fields, types, or arguments to your schema while maintaining backward compatibility.

To deprecate fields or arguments, you need to use the deprecationReason directive:

type User {
id: ID!
name: String!
email: String @deprecated(reason: “Use ‘username’ as an alternative”)

By evolving your schema and using deprecation, you’ll be able to handle versioning without breaking existing clients.