Node.js vs Vanilla JavaScript – What are the similarities and differences?

Node.js is a cross-platform runtime environment used for creating server-side applications built on the google chrome V8 engine, making it perfect for creating fast and scalable applications.

Whereas Vanilla JavaScript refers to the plan JavaScript which is a programming language for creating the client-side application, it can directly run on the browser and can be integrated with other languages such as PHP, Pearl, Python, Ruby, etc.

There are many criteria by which we can compare both technologies to choose the best for a project. Let’s see them one by one.

Node.js vs Vanilla Javascript – At a Glance

FeatureNode.jsVanilla JavaScript
Performance and SpeedFaster as it is built upon the V8 engine
Non-blocking execution of code
Slower as it uses an interpreter which loops through every line of code
ScalabilityVarious methods and build-in modules to handle a large-scale applicationLimited methods
PortabilityOnly runs on V8Runs on different engines such as Spider monkey, JavaScript Core, and V8
Community SupportVast and global active communityThe big community at a time in the past
Libraries and Tools AvailabilityMillions of libraries and tools can install using NPMLimited use of libraries
Use CasesMainly used for creating server-side applicationsMainly used for creating client-side applications
Learning CurveComplex as it contains many build-in modules, millions of libraries, and conceptsEasy for beginners

Performance and Speed

The Node.js is built upon the V8 engine which compiles the source code into native instructions before it is run. The source code is passed into the compiler which translates the code into a format that a machine can execute. It executes the complete code in one go whereas JavaScript used an interpreter which loops through every single line of code to execute it which makes it a bit slow.

Another important point is that Vanilla JavaScript is synchronous in nature it has to wait for a block of code to execute and then execute the other block whereas Node.js implement various asynchronous methods and callback which make it non-blocking and can run multiple blocks of code at a time helps in increasing the overall performance and execution speed. 


Vanilla JavaScript Refers to the plan Javascript means JavaScrip without any framework, the framework gives the power to JavaScript to create a large-scale application but Vanilla JavaScript itself cannot able to handle a load of large-scale applications, it provides limited methods whereas Node.js consists of various methods and build-in module enough to handle a large-scale application without using any third-party frameworks.

Another point that makes Node.js more scalable is the ability to interact with files, Node.js has a dedicated file system module for reading and writing on files whereas Vanilla JavaScrip isn’t able to perform read and write operations on the files. For scalability, the availability of many different methods, build-in modules, and file system interactions is necessary so Node.js is a win in terms of scalability.


Javascript is platform-independent that can run on any browser directly there is no additional requirement for that the hand for using Node.js needs to step up the development environment according to the operating system in order to execute its programs.

For example, an application that uses just Vanilla JavaScript can run with a single click on the browser but if you are executing a Node.js application it is required to install its environment, without any additional setup you can’t run a Node.js Application directly on an operating system.

Moreover, Node.js only runs on V8 but Vanilla JavaScript can run on different engines such as Spider monkey, JavaScript Core, and V8 making it more portable than Node.js.

Community Support

Node.js has a vast and global active community. On GitHub, a large number of developers are there to help with your Node.js project. Even the new framework launched nowadays are based on Nodde.js making the overall community increases day by day, on the other hand, Vanilla JavaScript is old, it has a big community at a time in the past but since the comparison is in the current time so Node.js is considered over Vanilla JavaScript in terms of community supports.

Libraries and Tools Availability

Vanilla javascript makes limited use of libraries whereas for Node.js there are millions of libraries and tools that can install using Node Package Manager. NPM has libraries literally for everything, it is the world’s largest repository of libraries. Almost 10,000 libraries are launched weekly. So in terms of Libraries and Tools, Availability Node.js is better than Vanilla JavaScript.

Use Cases

Vanilla JavaScript is mainly used for creating a client-side application that is not able to maintain the database, is not able to interact with the file system, and has many more limitations. The purpose is to provide different functionality to the client and provides better web interaction. On the other hand, Node.js is used for creating the server-side, i.e server which can interact with the operating system, file system, create and manage database, etc Important thing is Node.js somehow used JavaScript for writing their code which shows that JavaScript can be used for both client as well as server side, whereas Node.js is only for server-side so JavaScript has more use cases than Node.js.

Learning Curve

Vanilla JavaScript is easy for beginners, it has limited methods, keywords, and concepts on the other hand Node.js is a world itself, it is a non-end path containing many build-in modules, millions of libraries, concepts like asynchronous, synchronous, promises, async, await and many more thing which is very complex to understand.  

Real World Example

The comparison is not possible for a real-world project since a website uses both the technologies JavaScript and Node.js to build its functionalities. JavaScript uses to create the front-end interface, whereas Node.js uses for creating the back-end system.


There is no choice between Vanilla JavaScript and Node.js when developing a project, both have their own use case, Vanilla JavaScript is used to build the front-end of the website i.e client-side whereas Node.js is used to build the back-end i.e server side. If your requirement involves both front-end and back-end then the combination of these technologies is best for your project, but if you are creating a front-end application you can definitely go with Vanilla JavaScript and if you are creating the back-end, server, or an API then you can go with Node.js. 

Aditya Gupta
Aditya Gupta
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