Top NodeJS Frameworks in 2021

The rich choice of Node.js frameworks means that every software developer has the opportunity to use advanced features to build web and mobile applications without starting from scratch.

In this blog we will show what are the best NodeJS frameworks for 2021 based on their popularity and star rates on GitHub. But first of all, let's see what Node is and why is ideal for usage.

What is Node.js?

NodeJS is an open-source platform and cross-platform runtime environment for executing JavaScript code outside of a browser. Quite often Node is used to build back-end services called API’s or Application Programming Interfaces. These are the services that power the client’s applications like a web app running inside of a web browser or a mobile app running on a mobile device. These client apps are what user sees and interacts with. They are just a surface as they need to talk to some services sitting on a server or in the cloud to store data, send emails or push notifications.

Why Node.js?

Node is ideal for highly-scalable, data-intensive and real-time back-end services that power the client application. Node can be used to build superfast and highly-scalable services. What is important for using node is that in node applications you can use both JavaScript on the front-end and the back-end. Therefore, your source code will be cleaner and more consistent. So, you will use the same naming conventions, same tools and the same best practices. Another reason is that it has a large ecosystem of open-source libraries available. So, for pretty much any features or coding blocks when adding to the application, there is some free open-source library out there that you can use. So, you don’t have to build those blocks from scratch and instead you can focus on the core of your application.

Considering the following features of NodeJS frameworks like: scalability, ecosystem and functionality, these are the most popular frameworks in 2021 by GitHub star metrics.

  1. Express.js (51.8k GitHub stars)
  2. Meteor.js (42.3k GitHub stars)
  3. Nest.js (34,2k GitHub stars)
  4. Koa.js (30.7k GitHub stars)
  5. Sails.js (21.8k GitHub stars)
  6. Loopback.js (13.3k GitHub stars)
  7. Total.js (4.1k GitHub stars)

Express.js- Fast and Flexible

Express JS is a fast, unopinionated and minimalist framework for NodeJS. It makes building web applications with NodeJS much easier and tedious especially for handling requests in a simple way with less code. It is used both for API’s and microservices. What makes it popular is that it’s extremely fast, light and free. It has full control of requests and responses and can execute multiple operations using asynchronous programming functions.


• MVC pattern
• Lightweight
• Fast
• Asynchronous Programming
• Easier HTTP handling
• Templating

Meteor.js- Isomorphic Framework

Meteor is a cross-platform framework which runs both on the client and the server side. With meteor you can integrate whatever front-end framework you want whether it’s Angular, React or even Meteor’s own front-end framework called blaze. It uses MongoDB database by default which is difficult to change, so if you are not familiar with MongoDB then choosing Meteor is somewhat more difficult. It has dynamic features like: code splitting and dynamic imports without the need to configure it. Its speed makes it preferable to choose this framework for building real-time apps.


• MongoDB Database (default)
• Dynamic Imports
• Imports with zero configuration
• Preferable for real-time apps

Nest.js- Progressive & Efficient

Nest.js is built on top of the most popular server-side stack for NodeJS which is Express.js. It gives you the option whether you want to wrap the HTTP server either in Express or Fastify. It has the availability to use TypeScript because of better error handling and type features. It can be used to build MVC apps, REST or Graph QL API’s. Because it uses TypeScript and modularity, it enforces for a clean code and a clear project structure by giving a series of ideas on how you should structure your app while building large and complex applications. Therefore projects are managed easier.


• Better error handling
• Flexible in libraries
• Clear code structure
• Preferable for large applications

Koa.js - Modern & Lightweight

Koa.js is a modern & minimalistic server-side framework which runs on NodeJS. The creators of Express framework also created Koa and the syntax is very similar. However, it is a little bit more modern than Express as it is built on es6+ and promotes modern JS syntax. Koa provides a minimal interface for developing apps and API’s. It uses generators and async/await functions and helps developers to create apps that remain relevant over a long period of time. It is extremely lightweight than any other NodeJS framework as it uses lighter and better middleware and you have the option to extend the frameworks with added modules. In terms of HTTP, it accelerates server development by providing extra functionality. It also provides easy to use templates engines to display views & layouts.


• Modern JS Syntax
• Accelerates HTTP server functionality
• Templating
• Structured code base
• Support proxy, cleans cache and runs important processes.

Sails.js - High-Level MVC Framework

Sails is a high-level framework based on MVC pattern that allows you to create high-level, production-ready applications with a rich set of features. Its system is built underneath Express for handling HTTP requests and for WebSockets. It is preferable for custom applications or browser apps like: games, social media services or dashboards.

• MVC architecture
• Various database support
• Built on Express.js and has some similar features
• Handles HTTP request

Loopback.js - Fast & Robust

It is a highly extensible open-source NodeJS framework that builds applications and micro services in Typescript. It can be easily integrated and can be deployed anywhere where NodeJS can be. It supports a variety of databases including MySQL, Oracle, MongoDB, PostgreSQL and supports GraphQL too. It also provides advanced features like: user management, data storage or third-party access.


• Extensible
• Various database support
• Integrates easily
• Clear and tedious code

Total.js - Flexible & Reusable

Combines the functionality of a platform and library. You can create awesome client-side web apps with the help of jComponent library with more than 230 reusable UI components in a much faster and simple way. It offers support of cloud deployment and support of classical and dynamic routes. It supports various databases like: Firebase, Redis, MongoDB etc. It is highly flexible as you can create web apps, hybrid mobile apps, rest services, e-commerce, progressive web apps or Apps for IoT.


• Various database compatibility
• Scalable
• Rich in UI Components
• Cloud Support


All the aforementioned frameworks provide a rich set of features that make the developing experience easier and simpler. Thanks to the active community of these frameworks, they constantly upgrade and enhance their features to save time and make the creation of apps more efficient and effortless.
Depending on the project requirements and development experience, it’s up to you to choose the best backend framework that suits you better.

Njomza Mehmeti

Junior Software Engineer

I love integrating server-side web application logic and am excited to solve problems while being part of a transparent, diverse, hardworking and supportive team. I have a great passion for developing beautiful and innovative applications.

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