Node.js vs Java: Choosing the Right Backend Technology

A web application has two parts: frontend and backend. The frontend is what users see and the backend is where the heart or brain of the application resides. Your application basically lives on the backend, without it, your application is just a simple set of CSS and HTML and maybe some JavaScript code.

When it comes to backend development technologies, developers today have a large variety of programming languages to choose from. There are billions of powerful and essential frameworks each with its own unique features to help achieve different objectives. This is what spices up the battle of Java vs Node.

Of course, in fact, there is no better or worse technology as such. However, it obviously depends on what your web application needs.

In this article, we will look at Node.js vs Java, a comparison between a relatively new technology and a much older technology. Let’s start with an overview of both Java and Node.js.

Overview of Node.js and Java

Node.js is popularly known as a server-side framework, founded by Ryan Dahl in 2009. Node.js is an open-source JavaScript runtime environment. Node.js has gained popularity as a high-performing, scalable framework for the single-threaded process which is commonly used for web loads and async programming.

On the other hand, Java is a programming language founded by James Gosling in 1995 and is quite older than the former. It promotes the usage of object-oriented concepts after C++. The Java programming language is secure, stable, and flexible. Moreover, it has gained its name and fame and proved to be a perfect fit for the services industry namely, banking, eCommerce, FinTech, and transportation. In its initial days, Java was also hailed as a fine language for building Android applications.

Node.js vs Java: Understanding the Differences

To compare two technologies from different timelines, we need a few common criteria to judge their capabilities of winning the battle. In this article, we will be taking 6 criteria for comparison for Node.js vs Java.

1. Performance


Nodejs is immensely popular because it inherits the asynchronous and non-blocking ability from JavaScript. It is able to a perfect environment for small tasks also known as micro-tasks, that don’t affect the main application thread.

Node.js is known for its simplicity. It is built on an event-driven architecture that allows efficient multitasking, enhancing the application’s performance. Node.js uses a V8 JavaScript engine of Chrome, which works quite rapidly in a short ramp-up timeframe.


Source code written in Java is compiled into bytecode. This means the language is able to perform far better and faster than traditional programming languages. The main advantage of byte-code instructions is that are effortlessly interpreted by Java virtual machines, delivering faster and more efficient applications. However, since this Java vs Node.js comparison is considering a backend for web applications, then Node.js will be considered faster than Java.

Winner: Node.js

2. Community Support


Node.js, without a doubt, has a well-supported and robust community. According to Stack Overflow research, 51.4% of professional developers use Node.js majorly for its frameworks, libraries, and tools.

Tech veterans like Amazon, Facebook, and Google have also made significant contributions to the Node.js community, making it more credible.


Java is known for having a strong and stable community for solving complicated queries or issues. A vast community usually refers to frequent updates, bug fixing, upgrades, and innovations. Java resides in the top 3 programming languages when it comes to listing the active software developers’ community, thus, making it the clear winner!

Winner: Java

3. Database Integration


Node.js supports all kinds of databases be it relational or NoSQL databases. However, when using Nodejs, it’s best to use a NoSQL database, especially MongoDB as it stores data in JSON objects. This offers more accessibility for JavaScript-based backends similar to Node.js.

Mongoose, an object data-modeling library is exclusively built for Node.js and MongoDB. You can use it to manage data relationships with utmost ease. Moreover, it enhances development productivity by increasing the readability of your code, maintaining flexibility, and also provides modelling for applications’ data among others.


Java offers support for multiple databases and uses standard database connectivity known as Java Database Connectivity or JDBC used to access data in applications. Relational databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite are some of the commonly used ones in addition to databases like Redis, Oracle, IBM-DB2, Sybase, and even the pure Java “Java DB”, which comes with the JDK also known as Apache Derby.

When working on simple projects, Java programmers usually use the built-in Java DB. Additionally, if you ever have a requirement to use a relational database, there’s a great selection of JDBC-supported databases available. 

Winner: Java

4. Hiring Developers


It is easier to find Node.js Developers because of its large community. Average ranges for hiring Node.js developers as dedicated or freelancing resources vary between:

  • $70 to $90 per hour in North America
  • $50 to $70 per hour in Eastern Europe
  • $20 to $40 per hour in Asia


Since Java is easier to learn even for Greenhorn developers and teammates, it becomes crucial to figure out your application’s key functionalities and long-term goals.

On average, hiring a Java developer would cost you $61-80 per hour. You can get affordable yet good-quality services by reaching out to professional teams of Java developers.

Winner: Node.js

5. Ease of Use


Node.js when it comes into existence is not that much easy, but with the development of advanced libraries such as Express, Mongoose, EJS, and BodyParser, it is now becomes simpler to learn. Also for a JavaScript developer, Node.js becomes easier to adopt as it has the same syntax and logic to implement. Node.js is a perfect technology for beginners who do not have much prior knowledge of programming languages.


Java development can be considered more lengthy and complex as compared to Node.js. This requires an additional step of setting up the Java runtime environment. Its syntax and development process might be confusing and hard to understand for a beginner, however, it also depends upon previous experiences, such as if you already know object-oriented programming languages such as C#, C++, Kotlin, and Swift, switching to Java could feel easier. 

Winner: Node.js

6. Companies Using Node.js and Java

Both Node.js and Java are used by large companies. Some popular companies using Node.js include Netflix, PayPal, LinkedIn, Uber, eBay, Medium, Trello, Walmart, and GoDaddy. Meanwhile, popular companies using Java include Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Oracle, IBM, and Adobe.

Winner: Both


Node.js and Java are two powerful technologies. In this article, we have used different criteria for comparisons between these two to see which technology is better. Looking into Node.js vs Java, it is important to note that neither Node can replace Java, nor can Java replace Node. The choice of one highly depends on the requirement of your project.

There are billions of powerful and essential frameworks and languages out there and each has its own unique features to help achieve different objectives.

If you want to read more comparison guides like this one, here is the list:


Aneesha S
Aneesha S
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