What Exactly is Node.js? A Beginners Guide

30 May 2022 8 min Read
what exactly is nodejs

Are you a web developer, or do you have a developer friend talking about the popularity of Node.js?  

To start with an easy example, I am pretty sure, you must be familiar with the Fortune 500 companies in the market like LinkedIn, Netflix, PayPal and so on. Did you know all these companies use Node.js? Yes! After hearing this, now you must have known how powerful the Node.js platform could be? 

If you are planning to develop a web application, selecting the correct language, framework, or platforms can influence the web project’s functionality, performance and efficiency. So, it’s crucial to make the right decision from the start. 

Even if you are not familiar with this platform, here, I have a blog for you! We’ll explore everything about Node.js. 

So, hey, let’s go!

What is Node.js?

Not pulling up the story too long, Node.js is a cross-platform runtime environment built on Chrome’s V8 javascript engine. It is an open-source platform used to build real-time applications. 

In plain words, it is a Javascript runtime environment that provides developers with a fast, lightweight and modern way to execute code on their local computers. 

Node.js is a very light, scalable technology that allows you to build the backend of most applications. It has a large number of open-source libraries and thus, is known as the world’s largest ecosystem with unique characteristics like serverless architecture, an event-driven approach, scalability and more. 

Node.js even ranks first among the most widely used libraries and frameworks. 

How Does Node.js Actually Work?

Compared to other development platforms, Node.js has a specific workflow procedure. It operates on a single thread, meaning it does not create a new thread for every single request. A thread is basically a set of instructions that needs to be performed by the server. 

The operation works like this, when there’s a request from the client to the web server, the single-threaded event loop picks it up and sends it to the worker thread present for processing. 

This means it utilizes Non-blocking IO operations. Non-blocking I/O operations allow a single process to serve multiple requests at one time. Rather than wasting CPU resources and blocking the thread by waiting for a response, Node.js continues to work on the next task. So, in this manner, it can handle multiple concurrent tasks. 

Node.js Architecture

There are some of the essential elements that make the Node.js architecture. 

Single Thread 

Node.js basically works on a single thread. This means it can handle multiple clients at the same time. Also, this approach is good to consider as it avoids context switching. 

Event Loop 

The event loop in node.js carries out the non-blocking I/O operations even if it has the single-threaded feature. The event loop is based on libuv, which is responsible for managing the queuing and processing of asynchronously occurring events. 


The incoming requests can be blocking (complex)or non-blocking(simple) which totally depends upon the task the user wants to perform in a web application.  

Check Out the Features of Node.js 

Node.js has some of the best features. Here, we have listed a few.

Easy to Learn 

See, if you know JavaScript, you can easily learn Node.js. As we know, Javascript is the first choice among developers, so it’s highly popular and widely used. 

Also, it’s pretty simple to write code using Node.js. Even though you are a junior developer, you can easily learn and work with Node.js in less time. 

It’s Best in Terms of Speed 

Speed is the key factor to the success of a website/application! Node.js is based on Google Chrome’s V8 Javascript Engine that is super-fast in executing the javascript code. 

Cross-Platform Compatibility

Developers usually prefer programming languages that are compatible with cross platforms. And so, one such notable feature of Node.js is it’s compatible with multiple platforms like Linux, Windows, Unix, Mac OS and even mobile platforms. This means you can run Node.js on any of these platforms.

Open Source

Node.js is an open-source platform and is completely free to use. You can directly install Node.js from  https://nodejs.org/en/download/

Large Community 

Node.js is a vast and growing open source project. So it deserves contribution and help that aims at advancements in the platform.  Developers can seek help for their queries from the community members. 

They can share packages, tools, and frameworks with each other at no extra cost. The Node.js community has played a key role in developing the frameworks like Express, Derby, Sail.js, etc. 

So Many Packages

Node.js has a vast set of open-source packages that can ease your project work. To specify it clearly, there are more than one million packages in the NVM ecosystem today. /It’s unbelievable, but Node.js has more than one-million packages in the NVM ecosystem. 

How To Install Node.js?

Well, you can install node.js on different platforms. Check out the commands given below to help you know better.

On MacOS

To install, Node.js on MacOs:

curl “https://nodejs.org/dist/latest/node-${VERSION:-$(wget -qO- https://nodejs.org/dist/latest/ | sed -nE ‘s|.*>node-(.*)\.pkg.*|\1|p’)}.pkg” > “$HOME/Downloads/node-latest.pkg” && sudo installer -store -pkg “$HOME/Downloads/node-latest.pkg” -target “/”

On Linux

To install, Node.js on Ubuntu use the following commands.

sudo apt update

sudo apt install nodejs

On Windows

If you wish to install Node.js on Windows, simply download the Windows installer from the nodejs.org website.

Famous Companies That Use Node.js

While Node.js is so popular, we cannot ignore the fact that Fortune 500 companies prefer Node.js over frameworks. Why? Because it’s worth it! 

Here is a piece of brief information about popular names that use Node.js for web projects. 


LinkedIn is one of the biggest social networking and professional networking platforms with millions of users. LinkedIn basically aims at candidates looking for growth in their careers and companies looking for worthy candidates. 

Can you guess something? Yes, Node.js powers the server-side of LinkedIn’s mobile application. LinkedIn switched from Ruby on Rails to Node.js in 2011. LinkedIn developers switched the platform because they wanted to optimize their mobile applications. 

Now everything is written entirely in Node.js. Now the app is said to run 20x faster than its former one.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla is a free and widely used web browser available for different platforms, like Linux, Windows, Firefox, and Android. Even Mozilla uses Node.js as its primary language in most of its web projects. So, we can see how effective Node.js is. 


Who doesn’t know Netflix, everyone’s favorite and the most popular video streaming platform having millions of users. On Netflix, you can watch movies, shows, and more. 

Did you know? Even this platform is built on Node.js. Netflix has built its user interface with Node.js because of its modularity. By using Node.js, they experienced a drastic change in speed and performance. 

Wait There’s More to Add!

Applications That Can Be Built with Node.js 

  • IOT applications 
  • Real time chat applications 
  • Location based applications 
  • Streaming apps 
  • Content Management Systems 
  • Real-time collaboration tools

How To Choose Node.js Hosting Service?

Now, after knowing everything about Node.js, if you decide to use Node.js for your web project, then one thing that you can’t miss is the web hosting service. 

Yes, if you want to host your website or application built in Node.js, you need Node.js hosting. See, every website you visit on the internet is hosted on a server.

MilesWeb offer Node.js hosting plans with built-in state-of-the-art technologies on Node.js optimized servers. So, if you are looking to host your website/application built in Node.js, you can consider us, as we promise to deliver the best!

Summing Up the Guide

In the above article, we have seen the complete overview of Node.js. The future of Node.js is also towards growth, as it offers a strong foundation for applications. We have also seen renowned companies like PayPal, Netflix, and Linkedin use Node.js to develop applications. 

If your web project is focused on a wider audience and you want to scale up your business to new heights, then this technology is for you. It can help you achieve your business goals.

The Author

Nehal is an ardent content writer. She's passionate about crafting content that's simple but adds value. Her insatiable interest in writing has allowed her to explore her skills. She is adept and can write for different types of content formats.