NodeJS vs Python: Choose the Best Backend Language

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NodeJS vs Python: Choose the Best Backend Language

Vinay Khatri
Last updated on April 14, 2024

    Generally, programmers make a pick of backend technology for building web applications depending on their knowledge and expertise in that particular technology. Moreover, they need to consider the nature of the project while choosing a backend technology. The two popularly used backend technologies for web development are Node.js and Python.

    Python is a popularly used backend language, whereas its frameworks are used for front-end development. On the other hand, Node.js is a server-side platform or running environment for the JavaScript language.

    This article focuses on highlighting the major differences between Python and Node.js. But before diving deep into the differences, we shall first have an overview of both these back-end technologies.

    So, let us begin without further ado.

    What is Node.js?

    Node.js is an open-source runtime environment for JavaScript written in C, C++, and JavaScript. It is a cross-platform framework compatible with Windows, macOS, SmartOS, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, z/OS, IBM AIX, and Linux systems. Previously, the Node.js Foundation managed and owned Node.js but later merged with JS Foundation to form OpenJS Foundation.

    Ryan Dahl, in 2009, wrote Node.js, and the initial release only supported Linux and macOS systems. It runs on a V8 engine, which is the JavaScript engine of Google Chrome. Node.js allows us to use JavaScript for server-side scripting and for writing command-line tools. The only language Node.js supports natively is JavaScript. With multiple compile-to-JS languages available, it supports writing applications in languages like CoffeeScript, TypeScript, Dart, etc.

    Pros of Node.js

    Here are some major benefits of Node.js:

    • Node.js offers a faster speed and high performance because it runs on the Google Chrome V8 engine.
    • It enables developers to script code effortlessly in the back-end and front-end. Therefore, a single team of developers having experience in JavaScript can develop a whole application, which, in turn, reduces the cost of hiring two resource teams.
    • Node.js is one of the most preferred choices of developers when it comes to developing scalable applications. It enables developers to use NW.js and Electron to build real-time cross-platform applications.
    • You can develop chat applications and web games using Node.js, as it has an event-driven architecture.
    • Node.js offers all the benefits of full-stack JavaScript development when you choose it as your back-end technology.

    Cons of Node.js

    The following are the downsides of Node.js:

    • Though Node.js offers the benefits of being event-driven and single-threaded, it cannot run heavy CPU-based computing.
    • As compared to Python, Node.js lacks up-to-date documentation. Also, it does not have core tools and libraries.
    • There are frequent API changes in Node.js that are backward incompatible.
    • Many tools in the npm registry are immature, i.e., they are either not documented well or are of poor quality.

    What is Python?

    Python is a general-purpose, open-source, interpreted language developed by Guido van Rossum back in 1991. It is one of the most flexible languages due to its understandable syntax, excellent documentation, and consistent development in libraries. It is an ideal language for data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning projects.

    Licensed under the Python Software Foundation License, Python is a free and open-source language. It follows several programming paradigms, like functional, object-oriented, procedural, reflective, and structured.

    Python is developed as a successor of the ABC language and was released initially in 1991 as Python 0.9.0. Today, the latest version of Python is Python 3.9.0. It is a dynamically-typed language, i.e., there is no need to define data types of variables. Also, due to its extensive standard library, it is described as ‘batteries included'.

    Pros of Python

    The benefits of Python are:

    • Python allows developers to accomplish a task by writing a few lines of code compared to other object-oriented programming languages. Also, it helps them to resolve errors within minutes and offers seamless maintenance.
    • The syntax of Python is easy to understand and learn, as it eliminates the use of semicolons to represent the end of a statement and curly braces to begin and end a code block. Instead, it uses whitespace indentation.
    • Python has one of the largest user communities and is a more mature language than Node.js. With strong community support, many experienced developers share solutions to various problems in Python.
    • It has a broad spectrum of libraries, and it also provides numerous web APIs for back-end development, like Flask, Django, Pyramids, Tkinter, etc.
    • The integration and control capabilities of Python help to boost applications’ productivity.

    Cons of Python

    The drawbacks of Python are:

    • As Python is an interpreted language, it offers a pretty slower speed than other compiled languages. Therefore, it is not ideal for applications whose foremost requirement is speed.
    • It is not a perfect choice for developing mobile applications.
    • The Global Interpreter Lock (GIL) allows only one thread to execute at a time. Therefore, threading in Python is good.
    • Python is not suitable for memory-intensive tasks, as it consumes a lot of memory.

    Node.js vs Python: A Head-to-Head Comparison

    The differences between Node.js and Python back-end technologies are as below:

    Python Node.js
    Python is a full-stack language that can be used in back-end development. Node.js is an open-source environment that runs on the V8 engine.
    It is not suitable for asynchronous programming. It is an ideal choice for asynchronous programming.
    Python syntax does not use semicolons or curly braces; rather, it uses whitespace indentation. With the simplicity of Python’s syntax, developers can write code in fewer lines. Node.js only supports JavaScript natively. Unlike Python, the syntax of Javascript is more organized and uses semicolons and curly braces.
    It is the best option for developing large-scale projects. It is perfect for small projects and not recommended for larger ones because it lacks clean coding standards.
    Python is not an option to deal with real-time web applications. Node.js is the best platform to deal with real-time web applications.
    It is not recommended for memory-intensive activities. It is an excellent option for memory-intensive activities.
    We can use Python for multiple purposes, like web development, task automation, mathematical computation, network programming, machine learning, and integration with back-end applications. If your primary focus is on developing web applications and websites, Node.js is an outstanding option.
    Error handling in Python takes incredibly little time. Also, debugging is easier than Node.js. Python outperforms Node.js in terms of Error handling and debugging.
    The default interpreter used by Python is CPython. Node.js uses a JavaScript interpreter.
    Python is slower than Node.js. As Node.js runs on the Google Chrome V8 engine, it offers great speed and high performance.


    Python and Node.js are both robust and widely used back-end technologies. Both have unique characteristics, upsides, and downsides. Therefore, it is pretty challenging to say that one technology is better than the other. You can opt for Node.js if your primary focus is on developing web applications. Python can be used for various purposes, like machine learning, data analysis, data visualization, software, web development, etc.

    Hopefully, we have covered all the significant differences between Node.js and Python that you are looking for. We recommend you pick the right one depending on your project requirements.

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    While Node.js is a runtime environment for JavaScript for creating both client and server-side network applications, Python is a high-level, object-oriented programming language.

    As Python has a simple and easy-to-learn syntax, it is easier to learn than Node.js.

    Since Python is interpreted and single flow, it processes requests much more slowly. So, if your application involves complex calculations and prioritizes speed and performance, Node.js is better than Python.

    Yes, you can leverage JavaScript for data science and machine learning using the libraries both at the backend in Nodejs. and in the browser.

    Yes, Node.js is faster than Python because it runs on Google Chrome's v8 engine and is a better option for creating real-time applications.

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