The Battle of the Backends: Node.js vs. Golang

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The Battle of the Backends: Node.js vs. Golang

Tech stacks should be specifically designed according to every company’s IT requirements and goals. While frontend design often takes the spotlight, having a robust, powerful backend is essential for building high performing apps. 

Two of the most popular backend technologies for web app development include Node.js and Golang. Though these tools are quite distinct – for starters, one is a programming language and the other is a runtime environment – they’re both considered top choices for building a strong backend. 

Today we’ll take a deep-dive into Node.js vs. Golang, so you can determine which technology is most suitable for your current business logic and IT infrastructure.


Should I use Golang or Node.js for my next app?

Both Node.js and Golang are excellent backend technologies with unique advantages. It’s important to understand which may be right for you according to your specific business requirements. 

All about Golang

Golang is an open-source, cross-platform programming language that was specifically designed by Googlers in 2009 to handle large network servers. It’s characterized by compiled, multithreaded code that allows for powerful Golang performance, speed and memory management – even in large-scale contexts. 

Some of Go’s key features include its garbage collector, native goroutines, easy compilation, cloud designing and more. It’s also compatible with the vast majority of operating systems, cloud interfaces, networking applications and microservices, making it a highly versatile programming language.

Best use cases for Golang

  • Web development
  • Online booking systems
  • Payment processing
  • Command-Line Interfaces (CLIs)
  • Cloud-native apps
  • Distributed networked services
  • Automation and DevOps
  • Scalable database implementations
  • Cryptocurrency

All about Node.js

In contrast, Node.js is an open-source runtime environment – not a programming language. Built by Ryan Dahl in 2009, it works in conjunction with Google’s V8 JavaScript engine and supports app development on both the client-side and server-side. It makes use of a single-threaded event-based loop in order to streamline cross-platform development and provide real-time processing. 

Today, Node.js is the most popular backend technology, well-known for its ease of development, scalability and large developer community. In addition, Node.js is supported by a rich JavaScript library and has great compatibility with a variety of operating systems. 

Best use cases for Node.js

  • Data streaming
  • Complex SPAs (Single-Page Apps)
  • Real-time chats
  • Web app development
  • IoT apps
  • REST API servers
  • Microservices

Node.js vs. Golang: Which backend is best for you?

Let’s go over some of the key features to determine whether Node.js or Golang is best for you. 

1. Performance

Winner: Golang

Performance is a key indicator for any backend technology, as it impacts the load time and user experience. 

Overall, Go is a lightweight language with powerful raw computation and handling of memory-heavy tasks. Features such as its garbage collectors and native goroutines make it easy for this language to stay speedy and achieve best-in-class Golang performance.

Though Node.js is hardly slow, it’s not the best choice for CPU-intensive apps. 

2. Scalability

Winner: Golang

While both Golang and Node.js are highly scalable technologies, Golang is slightly more suited to scalability due to its go-routines. Go-routines handle multiple threads and programs simultaneously, allowing developers to work in many areas at the same time. 

In contrast, Node.js is single-threaded and runs in a certain order, which means its parallelization processes aren’t as strong. This is one of the reasons why Golang is so scalable and effective for large-scale IT needs.

3. Large-scale projects

Winner: Golang

Finally, Golang is excellent for supporting large-scale and enterprise-level app projects. It can easily handle raw computation and multiple simultaneous threads. In fact, it was intentionally built for this purpose. 

Node.js just doesn’t have the same power here, though it’s still a top choice for cross-platform apps that are more lightweight in nature.

4. Available talent

(Source: Stack Overflow 2021 Developer Survey

Winner: Node.js

Finding the right developer for any IT team can be tricky. With Node.js, businesses may have a larger talent pool to choose from compared to Golang. 

In general, Node.js is much more popular with developers, marking a usage rate of 36% compared to Go’s 10.5%. This may be because Node.js has a lower learning curve, making it more accessible to programmers.

5. Error handling

Winner: Node.js

One drawback to Golang is the way this language implements error checking, which must be handled explicitly. Ultimately, this leads to longer debugging processes.

In this regard, Node.js beats Golang because it uses a throw-catch approach, which displays errors for correction at every step in the development process. This flags potential issues for developers as they code instead of later down the road.

6. Availability of tools

Winner: Node.js

As a more popular technology, Node.js has a robust toolkit for developers to leverage. Node.js boasts of a wealth of tools, modules, frameworks, libraries, packages and more. This rich array of tools helps speed up development time for programmers. 

Of course, Golang has its own resources as well, including Godoc, Go run, Gopherjs, Gofmit, GoMetaLiner, etc. However, it doesn’t quite have the same level of support. 

7. Community support

Winner: Node.js

Finally, Node.js has a much larger support system, as it’s closely tied to the JavaScript community. Forums, guides, code contributions and meet-ups are common on the Node.js Help Repository, Slack space, Stack Overflow and DEV community page.  

That said, Golang has a small yet enthusiastic community. For example, Golang’s GitHub page has 98.7k stars – compared to Node.js’ 87.4k stars. Over time, this community may grow and catch up to Node.js.

Go vs. Node.js: Define your tech stack with care

Ultimately, which is best for your business: Node.js or Golang? It depends on your company’s priorities and IT infrastructure. While both offer top-tier backend support, Golang is a best choice for enterprise-level apps, while Node.js is a streamlined option with plenty of tools to meet both backend and frontend development needs.

No matter which technology you choose, you’ll need the best and brightest talent for your team. To get top Node.js or Golang talent, you can leverage TECLA’s immense developer talent pool. Reach out to us today to build a powerful backend team.

Gino Ferrand


Gino Ferrand

Gino Ferrand

Gino is an expert in global recruitment having spent the last 10 years leading TECLA and helping world-class tech companies in the U.S. hire top talent in Latin America.

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