Popular Node.js frameworks to use in 2021

Read the article to find out the popular Node.js framework to use in 2021!


Anastasia Kushnir

2 years ago | 5 min read


Node.js has gained a lot of popularity among application developers who prefer to use JavaScript. The ability to manage client and server sides by using the same platform has led to the rapid increase in the number of Node users.

Being in huge demand on the market, the Node.js frameworks have offered even more features and benefits for their users over the years.

Benefits such as better performance, functionality, high speed, and scalability allow Node.js to claim the leading position in application development.

Let's take a look at some examples of popular frameworks for Node.js.


GitHub Stars: 10.3K

Current version: 5.0.13

Weekly downloads: 7322

AdonisJS is one of the Node.js frameworks that run on all major operating systems. It offers a static ecosystem for writing server-side web applications. In this way, you can choose the right package, focusing on your specific business needs.

Key features of Adonis.js:

  • Powerful ORM that helps you create secure SQL queries;
  • API and session-based authentication system;
  • Validation of user input;
  • Excellent security system;
  • Extensible application layout.


GitHub Stars: 53.2K

Current version: 4.17.1

Weekly downloads: 17049124

Express is a minimalistic and flexible web framework for Node.js applications that provides a rich set of features for mobile and web applications.

Express is well known to evolve in its own way, unlike other frameworks that rely heavily on Rails, but also took a lot from another Ruby framework called Sinatra. The concept is simple: the framework provides ample opportunities for working on the fly, without requiring a lot of preparation time.

It is a framework that makes building most sites very easy. Along with the node command, you will have the npm command, which will give you access to a huge number of community-created modules, and Express is one of them.

Key features of Express.js:

  • Fast backend development;
  • Faster REST API development;
  • The MVC architecture support;
  • Support for NoSQL databases out of the box.


GitHub Stars: 37.4K

Current version: 7.6.17

Weekly downloads: 687767

Nest.js is a server-side platform built to keep developers productive and make their lives easier. Programmers usually use a framework to structure their code.

Nest.js is an adaptable and versatile REST API framework for building efficient and scalable Node.js server-side applications. It is built by using TypeScript, which helps maintain interoperability with pure JavaScript and integrates the modules of object-oriented programming, functional programming, and functional-reactive programming.

Key features of Nest.js:

  • Easily expandable - can be used with other libraries;
  • Allows developers to use pure JS;
  • Combines the features of functional programming, OOP, and functional reactive programming;
  • Provides API frameworks that help the developer use various third-party modules available for any platform;
  • Has detailed and supported documentation.


GitHub Stars: 21/9K

Current version: 1.4.3

Weekly downloads: 20988

Sails.js is an MVC framework that allows you to quickly and easily create Node.js applications. Sails.js is best suited for building real-time applications. It is developed on the MVC pattern basis, like Ruby on Rails, but also supports the requirements of modern applications: APIs with a scalable, service-oriented architecture. This framework is especially well suited for developing chat rooms, real-time dashboards, and multiplayer games.

Key features of Sails.js:

  • Support for automatically generated REST API;
  • Easy integration with WebSocket;
  • Compatibility with any popular interface - Angular, React, Android, iOS, Windows;
  • Support of real-time functionality.


GitHub Stars: 31.2K

Current version: 2.13.1

Weekly downloads: 896267

The Express.js development team created another framework called Koa.js, a futuristic next-generation Node.js framework that promised to be more concise and colourful brighter than Express.js. Koa.js’s main advantage is generators, which are a great way to avoid callbacks and help developers fix bugs.

Key features of Koa.js:

  • A modern and promising solution;
  • Built-in catchall for errors to prevent crashes;
  • Koa,js enables the encapsulation of the node's request and response objects into a single object, facilitating the process of writing web apps and APIs.


GitHub Stars: 3.6K

Current version: 3.28.0

Weekly downloads: 33974

LoopBack is an extensible Node.js framework that allows developers to easily customize models and build powerful REST APIs with minimal coding. It supports secure authentication and permission settings, additional shards and multiple backend datastores.

Key features of LoopBack:

  • Creation of dynamic APIs;
  • Additional components for managing files, organizing user logins by using third-party projects, such as OAuth2, storage providers, and so on;
  • LoopBack applications can be deployed on both traditional servers and cloud environments;
  • Availability of command line tools for creating a REST API by using API exploration tools;
  • Support for models based on specific data schemas;
  • Simplified configuration of user authorization and authentication.


GitHub Stars: 4.1K

Current version: 3.4.8

Weekly downloads: 571

Total.js is a large and rich framework and provides great opportunities for developers. It supports friendly URLs, XHR, JSON, LESS CSS (CSS 3), javascript minimizer, XSS security, resources and modules. It also supports MVC architecture.

This framework has no dependencies. All functionality is located in its core. You can install any module by using the Node Package Manager. The only noticeable disadvantage is performance compared to Express.js.

The main characteristics of Total:

  • It allows you to create server and client applications without dependencies;
  • The framework does not require high computing power and large amounts of memory, it performs well on ARM devices;
  • Total.js is suitable for rapid product development, it offers stability and high performance and requires, in comparison with other frameworks, fewer resources;
  • It supports various routing schemes (classic, dynamic, based on regular expressions), and, in addition, allows developers to create their routes to handle dynamic data, files, or WebSocket events.


GitHub Stars: 13.3K

Current version: 20.1.3

Weekly downloads: 120832

Hapi is an open-source stable and persistent MVC framework for structuring web applications and services. Hapi.js provides easy structuring of API servers, websites, and HTTP proxy applications thanks to its robust plugin system. It allows you to add new features and fix bugs quickly. Hapi.js provides you with routing, input, output validation, and caching functionality to help structure your REST API. It is easy to create an API that meets the needs of customers for mobile and single-page applications.

Key features of Hapi.js:

  • Validation of input data;
  • Registration;
  • Error processing;
  • Code reuse;
  • Caching;
  • Lack of external dependencies;
  • Functionality based on configuration;
  • Comprehensive support for API authentication and authorization.


Here you can see the comparison of all the abovementioned frameworks by the criteria of weekly downloads:

As you can see, Express is undoubtedly at the top of the list. But how will the graph look like when we exclude Express from it? Let’s have a look:

Koa and Nest were very fast in gaining popularity last year and raised their spread up to two times. It means that it’s just an open question when one of them becomes the leader of the list.


Node.js is one of the main technologies chosen for building the application. It is not surprising that there are a huge number of different frameworks for this technology, aimed at making the final product better and the development process easier. The article may not cover all the frameworks that exist within Node.js, so you can always find something new and most suitable for your project.


Created by

Anastasia Kushnir







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