Top 10 Express.js Alternatives

Top 10 Express.js Alternatives
ExpressJS Alternatives

Express.js is a highly acclaimed Node.js framework founded in 2010. It provides an array of features to Node.js to quickly create APIs and mobile and web applications.

You can consider Express.js as a de facto framework for Node.js, mainly when it comes to building backends for web apps and APIs.

According to a survey by Statista, both are the most used JavaScript technologies. Node.js is the most used JS framework with 42.65% votes, and Express secures 4th rank with 19.28% votes.

Although Express.js offers plenty of advantages but is not suitable for everyone.

Yes, it doesn’t offer an absolute structure for executing code and has limited built-in functionalities.

Correspondingly, programmers are also not satisfied with the complex learning curve for middleware and are more reliant on callbacks and frequent updates. That is why they ask for other possible modular choices. 

So, if you are one of the businesses, startups, or developers looking for Express.js alternatives, you must read this guide. We are going to discuss all possible options in detail.

Top 10 ExpressJS Alternatives

Let’s delve into the leading alternatives to ExpressJS:

1. Nest.js

Nest.js is an edge-cutting Node.js framework imbued by Angular architecture. This Express alternative is suitable for building highly scalable and economical applications employing Node.js.

With built-in support for JavaScript and TypeScript, it has the ability to craft rational, verifiable, and modular backends for enterprise-grade applications. 

By the way, you can adopt Vue, React, or Angular as client-side frameworks when using Nest.js for server-side programming.

Besides, Nest.js has an edge over ExpressJS because of its simplified microservices. ExpressJS offers limited components in this regard. 

This progressive framework has 62.6k repository stars and 7.3k forks on GitHub, which signifies its popularity among developers. Its weekly downloads are also more than 2.9 million.

Companies Using Next.js: Roche, IBM, Adidas, GitLab, and Autodesk are significant companies using the NestJS framework.

Core Features

  • Dependency Injection – Developers prefer using Nest because of its absolute testability nature, and the dependency injection system plays a vital role hereof. It is helpful to craft loose coupling and simplify the testing procedures.
  • Middleware Functions – This trait is useful for modifying responses, requesting objects, and carrying out a code. Better app functionality and data integrity are also pros of using this approach.  
  • Easy to Use – Although Nest.js is a powerful Node.js framework but, it is also easy to use and learn. Mainly, if you have worked with Angular’s syntax, it is seamless to be familiar with this technology. Dev teams just have to emphasize scripting business logic, and Nest will take care of further server-side tasks.
  • Robust Development – It is superfast to construct GraphQL & REST APIs, CLI, Cron jobs, web sockets, and event-driven applications. Nest.js takes minimum time to develop a wide range of web applications. 
  • Nest CLI – Nest CLI assists in maintaining, building, and running your applications. You can establish well-structured apps using this command-line interface. It is also valuable when it comes to bundling and scaffolding app projects.

2. Fastify 

If you want a robust Node.js web framework similar to ExpressJS, try Fastify. It is not only good at speed but renowned for its lower overhead and tremendous performance.

You can use this lightweight Express alternative to build APIs & applications to deal with immense requests and traffic.

In this regard, Fastify confers quick routing and a comprehensive outline for plugins and swiftly executes the forthcoming requests into JSON.

It depends on a clean syntax to script asynchronous programs. You can utilize these programs as controller syntax as well. 

Fastify helps dev teams build Typescript-based applications and APIs 20% quicker than Express.js. Also, it is capable of handling 30k queries per second.

Contrarily, it holds ample community support with 29.9k repository stars on GitHub. Furthermore, the weekly downloads of Fastify are around 1.7 million.

Companies Using Fastify: FabFitFun, Webiny, Codecks, Job Pair, and Retraced are featured customers of Fastify.

Core Features

  • Decorators – This feature authorizes server-side coders to tailor core objects. Yes, it lets you customize responses, requests, and server resources during an HTTP call. Decorators API adds functions, native types, and simple objects to this framework. 
  • Economical – Low overhead is another excellent feature of Fastify. You can reduce the overall cost of your NodeJS project when you choose this Express.js substitute. Similarly, the maintenance cost of such projects is also minimal.
  • Logging – Fastify benefits from a highly flexible logger called ‘Pino.’ This logger permits you to architect compatible log messages as per the needs of your application. However, you would have to enable the Pino because it is put out of action in the default setting of the Fastify framework.
  • Error Handling – This Node.js framework facilitates users with ‘setErrorHandler()’ to handle the errors. This approach aids in commencing an error-handling function and identifying a bug through plugins. 
  • JSON Schema – Fastify conducts the majority of validation actions using JSON schema. Yes, you can use this schema, whether it is about ratifying routes or formatting your outturns.

3. Sails.js

Sails.js is a prime choice for businesses and developers seeking MVC architecture for their Node.js projects.

It is a highly tailored, flexible, enterprise-level framework following a convention-over-configuration design philosophy. 

This lightweight ExpressJS alternative is appropriate for building data-intensive APIs and web applications with great scalability.

Hereof, Sails doesn’t provide a roadmap to build an app, but it empowers you to get creative outcomes using its flexible architecture. You can also craft real-time messaging and CRUD applications with Sails.

Although Sails is built on Express but, there are still some differences. Indeed, Sails is considered a better choice because of its additional features like easy DB migrations, ORM, and backing for controllers and models. These traits help format scripts and create maintainable apps more easily than Express.

On the other hand, if we talk about community support, Sails is still powerful, with 22.8k repository stars on GitHub. In addition, it has around 28k weekly downloads, according to npm.

Companies Using Sails.js: Amazon, Microsoft, Verizon, and Paystack are among Sails’ prominent clients.

Core Features

  • Any Database – Sails offers outstanding object-relational mapping (ORM) that works with almost every database. Hereof, this Node.js framework has 30+ adapters to back several databases, including Redis, MySQL, PostgreSQL.
  • WebSocket Integration – The request interpreter of this framework deciphers approaching socket messages for you. So, codes are adaptable with current and existing routes and middleware of your application. In short, the scripted source codes can operate with HTTP and WebSockets without additional code or effort when using Sails.
  • Logging – The availability of a readymade logger is another appealing feature of Sails. You can utilize ‘captains-log’ on the fly in this regard. Although it sounds similar to Node’s logger but, it has some additional attributes. Yes, it could also exude glitches, messages, or events from your code.
  • Frontend Compatibility – This Node.js framework is known as a full-stack solution. In this regard, it can work with any client-side framework, from Angular to Java or Backbone. 
  • Security – Sails.js has pre-built security features just like Express. It protects against DDoS, CORS-based attacks, clickjacking, XSS, and CSRF. 

4. Koa.js

Koa is a contemporary web framework for Node.js that the authors of Express have designed. It is considered a minimalist framework emphasizing middleware to craft lightweight and efficient web applications. 

Indeed, it enables you to utilize a straightforward middleware that lets you include or discard functionalities according to your requirements.

By the same token, Koa uses async functions to improve error handling, end callbacks, and provide expressive APIs. 

Although Koa seems more flexible and agile because of these fantastic attributes but, it doesn’t have its router.

Also, it lacks out-of-the-box support for async functions and pre-built middleware, mainly when we compare Koa with Express. Here, dev teams entail ‘koa-router’ and template modules. 

With 34.7k repository stars on GitHub and 1.5 million weekly downloads, Koa is still a powerful Express successor. 

Companies Using Koa.js: Paralect, Bulb, Shimo Website, Brainhub, and Taboola are the leading companies that use Koa.js for different tech stacks. 

Core Features

  • Error Handling – The efficient middleware of Koa authorizes it to handle errors smartly. In this regard, you don’t have to face app crashes. You must simply utilize the ‘try/catch’ command to report a glitch. Also, you don’t need to script further code to deal with errors. 
  • Futuristic – Koa relies on ES6 specifications, which is why it is elementary to create complicated applications. Yes, it lets you add novel modules and classes on the fly. 
  • Small Footprint – This Express alternative owns a smaller footprint than other Node.js frameworks. So, you can script improved and lean middleware. Withal, you can also expand the project according to your requirements.
  • Context Object – Koa aids programmers in utilizing context. This feature is helpful to summarize call objects and vanilla responses into a single object. So, it becomes seamless for developers to build APIs and web apps using an undivided object.
  • Short Code – It also doesn’t overburden the developers when it comes to coding. Yes, it doesn’t ask for more than 550 lines of script. 

5. Hapi.js

Hapi is a modular and highly configurable web framework for Node.js.

This simple technology is typically used to develop structured and secure REST APIs and web applications. Hapi focuses on configuration and follows JSON schema in this regard. 

Yes, developers find configuration more critical when they use Hapi. This framework backs configuration-centric MVC design to improve the reusability and persistence of code.

In addition, Hapi engages more plugins to support configuration operations than Express. 

Correspondingly, Hapi is a more opinionated Node.js framework compared to Express. Therefore, you find extraordinary support for input validation, routing, etc.

If we talk about its popularity, it has 14.5k repository stars on GitHub. Its weekly downloads are around 755k, as per npm.   

Companies Using Hapi.js: Walmart, SalesTrip, Boxed, Inc., and Hy-Vee Aisles Online are key clients of Hapi.

Core Features

  • Highly Secure – Hapi provides a secure ecosystem for development. You can enable 2FA through settings to manage and run code with excellent protection. Defined protocols, safe defaults, and encrypted cookies also improve overall security.
  • Authentication & Authorization – You can use pre-built support to deal with authorization and authentication with the Hapi framework. It also lets businesses assign role-based access to teammates. 
  • Validation – It uses a robust validation system to avert vulnerabilities. Developers can seamlessly illustrate the validation regulations for coming requests. 
  • No Routing Issues – Clean routing is another attractive feature of Hapi. It is smooth to indicate URL tracks, HTTP paths, and route handlers. Besides, routing paths never conflict with each other.
  • Configuration-Oriented – Configuration-centric approach plays a vital role in constructing applications with well-structured settings. You can seamlessly specify authentication tactics and generate more maintainable codes.

6. FeatherJS

Are you finding a lightweight alternative to Express.js to build small applications? If yes, try FeatherJS.

This framework reduces the configuration time, which means you can craft web apps in a short period of time.

In particular, it is an ideal tech stack to build prototypes and single-page applications. Hereof, it doesn’t ask for plenty of code libraries. 

Feather is a highly adaptable framework that works with all client-side technologies, such as Vue, Android, iOS, Angular, and React. Moreover, it is compatible with numerous database types. 

With growing community support, it has 14.9k GitHub repository stars. The weekly downloads of FeatherJS are also more than 67k

Companies using FeatherJS: Didomi, Koola ChatBot Plus, and Mylo are leading companies using this framework. 

Core Features

  • Database Support – Feather supports a wide range of databases. Primarily, it is suitable for both relational and non-relational databases. Hereof, this framework also confers well-tailored database adapters.
  • Realtime Functionalities – It grants both backend and client-side real-time functionalities. You can initiate real-time functionalities by committing removed, patched, created, and updated events for the server side. Contrarily, you can conduct two-directional messaging for client-side operations.
  • Authentication – Providing absolute user management support is another trait of FeatherJS. You don’t have to generate the code repeatedly to authenticate for real-time chatting or further apps in this regard.
  • REST APIs – This framework is famous for delivering REST APIs spontaneously. REST APIs are suitable for building efficient, modular, scalable, and lightweight applications. 

7. NuxtJS

Nuxt is an open-source Vue.js framework that helps in building production-level applications. It deploys universal applications using universal data tools and routing.

Therefore, it becomes seamless to approach these features through the server side and frontend.

Server-side rendering (SSR), endless integrations, middleware, SEO, and meta tags differentiate NuxtJS from other alternatives to Express.

Moreover, you can use a combination of JS, CSS, and HTML technologies to form the client side for Nuxt applications. 

Compared to other server-side JS frameworks, Nuxt has ample community support. Yes, it holds 50.3k repository starson GitHub, and its weekly downloads are around 656k.

Companies Using NuxtJS: OpenAI, Google, GitLab, Upwork, NASA, and GitHub are tech giants that use NuxtJS. 

Core Features

  • Code Division – This Vue framework has the ability to divide the code into distinct packages. In this way, it only runs the required code on the frontend. This attribute also reduces the app size and betters overall performance. 
  • Error Handling – You can swiftly specify and fix technical glitches through Nuxt. In this regard, it has built-in error handling and logging functionalities. 
  • Server-side Rendering – VueJS permits server-side rendering but needs extensive code for its configuration. However, NuxtJS makes this process easy and overcomes the requirement of large code.
  • Smooth Integrations – Whether you want to integrate your project with databases or third-party CSPs, it is seamless with Nuxt. You just need to provide a single-line script in this regard. Nuxt also provides a built-in library of modules to support such activities. 

8. Meteor

Meteor is another full-stack Node.js framework you can use instead of Express for your projects.

With cross-platform support for iOS, web, and Android, it enables prototyping and app creation in a short period of time.

Similarly, you don’t have to script integration codes because of its pub/sub pattern and DDP functionalities. 

Moreover, it gives you a free hand while choosing a database or frontend framework. Yes, it is compatible with all renowned technologies, including Vue, Angular, React, Svelte, Vite, React Native, Blaze, etc.

A big community of programmers likes using Meteor, which is why it has 5.4k repository forks and 44k stars on GitHub. However, its weekly installations are only 1.9k.

Companies Using Meteor: The famous tech giants that use Meteor are CodeSignal, Hive, Ledgy, and Rocket.Chat.

Core Features

  • For Any Device – Unlike the other Express alternatives, Meteor aids in crafting applications for mobile, desktop, and web users. You can simply utilize Cordova or React Native with this framework to design mobile applications. Similarly, Electron could be a better choice for constructing desktop apps. 
  • Zero Configuration – Meteor comes with zero configuration. It signifies that developers can emphasize key functionalities and competencies instead of taking care of configuration tools.
  • Realtime – This framework confers real-time functionalities, and pub/sub pattern is an example of it. So, you can seamlessly build and deploy chats, collaboration, and further RT applications using Meteor.
  • Isomorphic JS Code – This NodeJS framework authorizes you to utilize the same script for server-side and frontend programming. By the same token, you don’t need to install module managers and APIs. 

9. DerbyJS 

Derby is an MVC-centric framework that is beneficial to developing server-side and frontend applications in the meantime.

Derby is ideal for crafting collaboration and real-time applications using readymade support for routing, asynchrony, and templating.  

In spite of its atypical architecture, this framework offers automated parsing request bodies. Compared to other Node.js frameworks, DerbyJS also ends the manual parsing conducted through libraries or middleware.   

Unlike popular Express substitutes, Derby is considered a new approach. That is why it has only 4.7k repository stars on GitHub, and its weekly npm downloads are 500+.

Core Features

  • Realtime Collaboration – Derby has the powerful backing of SharedDB. This database depends on the OT of JSON. So, syncing and fetching data across servers and clients becomes very easy.  
  • Server Rendering – You can swiftly render the servers using DerbyJS. In this regard, you don’t have to apply Document Object Model (DOM). This framework typically goes with HTML rendering to quickly distribute templates across servers and clients. 
  • Modular – This NodeJS framework consists of extensive modules. That is why it lets you quickly find and utilize a module according to the needs of your code and project. 
  • Data Binding – Data binding has great importance when it comes to improving the performance of an application. Derby ensures live data binding between the model and the view. So, whenever data is modified, the view is also quickly revised.  

10. Egg.js

Egg.js is one of the finest Koa and Node.js frameworks you can use as a replacement for Express.

This simplified framework is known to craft enterprise-grade applications. It offers a real-time environment and powerful configuration functioning, similar to Koa middleware.

The majority of developers prefer Egg over Express because of its plugin mechanism. This feature is not only beneficial to improve efficiency but also enables you to reutilize business logic. 

It is still a reliable choice if we talk about its community support. Its monthly downloads are around 97k. Similarly, Egg has 18.7k repository stars on GitHub. 

Companies Using Egg.js: Tong Hua Labs and Xiaomu Wu are verified Egg.js clients according to StackShare.

Core Features

  • Complete Ecology – Egg is an open-source platform that authorizes you to sync server-side middleware within moments. In this regard, it also backs several deployment ecosystems. Moreover, Egg enables dev teams to utilize fully customized Ant Design templates.
  • Convention Over Configuration – This feature takes advantage of specified standards and presumptions to avoid prolonged decision-making tasks. So, app development becomes more efficient and agile. 
  • Security – Data and code security are prime concerns of businesses. Fortunately, this Koa and Node.js framework has a built-in security trait to address vulnerabilities. 
  • Scalability – Egg is a highly scalable framework. You can extend the instances whenever you need them. 


Express.js is the primary choice for developing speedy and highly interactive Node.js applications.

However, the need for modular features forces dev teams to find alternatives. So, this guide talks about plenty of Express alternatives in detail. You should pick an option that suits your project more.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.