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Advantages of Node.js for web development in 2023: the speed we all deserve

Nov 30, 2022 10 min read
"Advantages of Node.js for web development in 2023: the speed we all deserve"

There has been a growing popularity of Node.js as a web development tool for some time now. Most developers state the main advantages of Node.js is its high efficiency and scalability. Node.js has transformed JavaScript, a client-side scripting language familiar to all web developers, into a flexible, multipurpose technology. It includes a set of frameworks and libraries that enable server-side and client-side application development.

A few numbers to consider:

  • LinkedIn, eBay, and Walmart use Node.js for server-side processing.
  • Node.js has over 55.6k stars on GitHub.
  • 98% of Fortune 500 companies use Node.js frequently.
  • Node.js is the second most popular GitHub repository.

Without a doubt, Node.js will become even more popular over time. Now let’s take a closer look at its specifics.

What is Node.js?

Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform JavaScript runtime developed from JavaScript in V8 Chrome into native code. It is a lightweight framework for developing web applications on the server side.

Typically, it is used to create large-scale applications, streaming websites, single pages, and applications for IoT.

The event-driven, non-blocking I/O model of Node.js makes it a suitable choice for real-time applications.

How Node.js works

Node.js uses two kinds of threads: the main thread processed by the event loop and multiple helper threads in the worker pool. An event loop is a mechanism that accepts callback functions and registers them for execution in the future. It runs on the same thread as the JavaScript code itself. An operation that blocks a thread also blocks the event loop. A pool of workers is an execution model that calls and processes individual threads.

They then execute the task synchronously and return the result to the event loop. Once the loop has completed, the callback function is invoked with the result specified. In short, a pool of workers can deal with asynchronous I / O operations – primarily interacting with the system disk and network.

This execution model is primarily used by modules like fs (I/O intensive) or crypto (CPU intensive). The worker pool is implemented in libuv (a C library), which results in a slight delay whenever Node requires communication between JavaScript and C++, but this delay is barely perceptible.

Features of Node.js

Open source

Node.js is an open-source platform. The copyright holder has granted anyone the right to study, edit, and distribute the software.

Ability to use one language on the client and server parts

If a programmer has mastered JavaScript, it will be easier for him to learn an “add-on” than a radically different technology.

General code. There is not much code used both on the client and on the server side, but it is present. The main thing is to understand that often objects with the same names can perform completely different functions in the browser and on the back-end.

Developed specifically for the web. Freely interacts with the most popular databases, and helps to get low-level access (http, udp, https, tcp).

High scalability

Thanks to the event mechanism, Node.js is highly scalable and helps the server deliver a non-blocking response.


Using the Google Chrome V8 JavaScript engine, Node.js can execute code much faster due to its advanced libraries.

One can quickly build a working prototype that can handle the load. The first stage, when the programmer forms the backbone of the future product, passes very quickly. If the architecture has been carefully planned, expanding the site on Node.js won’t be an issue.

Web developers can write different modules and packages and share them since the code is open. Modules are often combined well.

No buffering

The special feature of Node.js is that it does not buffer any data.


Because it uses an event looping process, Node.js can follow a single-threaded model. It helps a single user handle more than one request.


The Node.js server doesn’t need to wait for API responses since it has asynchronous libraries.

Technology is rapidly advancing

Thousands of programmers around the world are working on it. The Node coordinates the process. It is difficult to underestimate the role of the community, as it provides help against difficulties, an abundance of training materials, the ability to find errors in the system, and the opportunity to discuss ideas or find a team.

With a vibrant community, technology develops faster, mainly thanks to open source. The popularity and benefits of Node.js have not gone unnoticed, and companies such as Google, eBay/PayPal, Netflix, Microsoft, Uber, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Walmart, and others have already chosen it.

What makes Node different from other server-side scripting technologies?

Asynchrony is the core of Node.js. Together with non-blocking I/O, this allows the Node.js server to serve more client requests per second than most other server technologies.

What does this mean for business?

There is relatively little overhead associated with the server infrastructure when launching your project. A good architecture allows you to scale your business without investing significantly.

Node allows you to create an MVP quickly. Node has already developed numerous packages with different functionality. You can not waste time developing basic features, but immediately concentrate on business logic.

What does this mean for business?

We will be able to bring the new product to market faster (TTM will decrease). The company will spend less money on the development process because it will take fewer developer hours to build the first version.

During the initial market research, hypotheses will be tested faster, adjustments will be made to the product faster, and funds will be raised sooner.

What does this mean for developers?

Instead of reinventing the wheel on every project, which inevitably causes a lot of mistakes and makes work tedious, you can focus on the tasks important for the project.

It provides the architect and/or customer with greater freedom to choose an approach, design an architecture, and finalize standard functionality.

Node is built on top of the JavaScript language. As a result, this greatly increases the likelihood of developing full-stack specialists in the development team: front-enders who are well-versed in the back-end or back-enders who are well-versed in the front-end.

The syntax and architectural approach of Node.js are identical to JavaScript, but the bindings (browser and server) are different.

When to use Node.js?

Node has its drawbacks, just like any other technology.

We have come to the question that many might have. In what cases, it is worth giving preference to one or another technology in your stack? You have already understood that both technologies are of high quality and allow you to create products for business. Now let’s take a look at specific examples of when to use Node.js:

  • if the product will perform multiple parallel requests or intensive rendering;
  • you need a fast application that can instantly process requests, but at the same time it does not have complex computing processes;
  • in the future, there is a need to supplement the functionality and scale the product;
  • already a traditional website that will represent the company in the digital space;
  • want to test a startup or launch a small business as soon as possible;
  • intensive customer traffic is planned, for example, you want to open an online store.

In this case, give preference to Node.js over other web development technologies. This is a technology that will allow you to create a high-quality and high-speed web product in a short time. No need to think that it is not suitable for serious projects. LinkedIn, eBay, Mozilla, and many other web services are powered by Node.js.

If you consider hiring Node.js developers for your project, and want to know more, how to pick the right candidates, you might be interested in reading the Node.js developers hiring guide by Toptal.

Scope of application: where Node.js is used

Node.js is used for JavaScript back-end development. And if JavaScript dominates in the browser, and there are no competitors of this language on the front-end even on the horizon, then in back-end development, the situation is different. Several languages compete here with JS, including PHP, Python, and others.

The choice of server-side JavaScript for the back-end provides the project with many advantages:

  • Reuse of code and the use of one language for front-end and back-end development will increase development efficiency.
  • The usage of the biggest package manager – npm
  • Easier than other stacks to find performers, as JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages.

Node.js is well suited for developing RTAs – web applications that respond to user actions in real time. For example, it can be an online editor like Google Docs that allows multiple users to work on the same document at the same time.

With Node, you can create a program for the web, as well as for Linux, OS X, and Windows. Using libraries, you can also form an API. Ways to synchronize the mobile with the computer are added – when writing a text on the phone, it will be visible on the web and the PC / laptop.

Unlike regular browser-based JavaScript, Node can interact with global objects, including documents and windows, when building Windows applications. This opens the path to the hard drive and the user’s file system. In addition, the access field includes libraries and software solutions that are already on the computer.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has grown tremendously over the past 10 years, and Node.js has become a popular platform for back-end development of related applications. This is because Node.js is can work with large amounts of constantly changing data in real time. In addition, the Node.js platform easily integrates with the MQTT and Web Sockets protocols and contains more than 130 modules for working with a variety of IoT devices.

Advantage of Node.js over Python

A wide range of business projects and web development projects use both technologies.

It is important to compare them correctly. Python is a programming language, whereas Node.js is a framework that implements JavaScript and makes it generic and accessible for building web applications.

Python is one of the most popular languages ​​and is suitable for developing many applications and web solutions. Node.js is also one of the top 10 web development technologies. There are more challenges to master, but the wide range of capabilities makes solving even the most complex problems easy.

study by Similar Tech showed that generally, the number of business websites using Python is higher. However, Node.js-based web services ranked higher in search results.

When choosing Node or Python for further scaling, choose Node. The second is more suitable for large projects that involve detailed architecture planning during the initial development. But at the same time, there are opportunities to supplement the product in both cases.

In terms of speed, if you are planning to make a product that will carry out many computational processes, or deal with large amounts of information, then it is better to choose Python. For lightweight solutions that require an instant response, Node.js is suitable.

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Advantage of Node.js over PHP

How is Node.js better than PHP?

There are a lot of advantages, but the main one is the non-blocking data input-output model. Thanks to it, the system works asynchronously. It creates a priority queue. Therefore, when the server is under heavy load, there is no need to create separate threads for each connection. Rational distribution of resources allows you to cope with numerous users and data.

For this reason, Node.js is commonly used to build games, chats, and other products that handle high concurrent loads.

What are the weaknesses of Node?

Node is very fast with a large number of lightweight requests (those that do not require lengthy data processing, complex calculations, etc.), but its performance drops significantly if the requests require large server resources.

The framework, as well as its execution engine, are undergoing rapid development. As a result, sometimes it happens that individual packages are incompatible with each other or with the current version of the platform, which can lead to a complete failure of the project when updating the “engine” or a separate package.

These shortcomings are often used by opponents of Node to explain the reluctance to use it in production. Furthermore, users claim that Node is single-threaded in confirmation of the first drawback.

Some developers wonder how single-threaded Node.js can compete with multi-threaded server software. It seems counterintuitive that companies choose it as their back-end. First, we need to understand what is meant by single-threaded Node.

JavaScript was created to perform simple web tasks like validating a form or creating a cursor trail. It wasn’t until 2009 that Ryan Dahl (the creator of Node.js) made it possible to use the language to write back-end software.

Back-end languages ​​that support multithreading have the necessary mechanisms for synchronizing values ​​between threads and other thread-safe features. Supporting this in JavaScript would require changing the entire language, which was not Dahl’s intention. I had to create a workaround so that plain JavaScript could support multithreading.

In some cases, using this platform is not the best solution. For example, for programs with large computational processes.

You should use it for web resources that need a lot of interactivity with users. This is because the main advantages affect this particular area. So, while the Node JS application is waiting for a response from the server database, it is processing other requests, which allows you to work at a good pace with thousands of connections.

What are the prospects for the JavaScript back-end compared to other technologies?

Any back-end can be written in any language. The only question is the speed of development and reliability of this solution. Applications can be written quickly in Node.js, but it takes effort to make them reliable. It is important to understand that JavaScript is a language with weak dynamic typing. To compensate for this, you need to think over the application architecture in advance and spend more time writing tests. On the other hand, you can take TypeScript and get a type safety guarantee (not complete, of course, but better than nothing).

In the opinion of the community, Node.js is suitable for a very wide class of back-ends, starting from online stores and ending with educational services.

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Wrapping up

You need to choose your technology stack carefully. The choice depends on the speed of development, cost, and most importantly, performance.

Knowing all the features of the two technologies, you can determine what to choose for your business: Python, PHP, Java, or Node.js. As a rule, it is difficult to assess on your own. Even if you know what product you want to get, you can run into pitfalls. Therefore, we recommend discussing your ideas in consultation with our experts.