Compare Node.js Hosting
You can run Node.js for free or cheap on a shared server — but you’ll be severely restricted. VPS and dedicated servers are better options. Look for hosts that let you easily integrate Node.js apps with developer tools and APIs. Check any hosts upgrade policy — Node.js releases new versions, and your environment must be updated.
We’ll discuss each host later in this post, but here’s a summary of the best 5 hosts for Node.js:
- SiteGround – Advanced priority support and Git comes pre-installed
- A2 Hosting
How Did We Pick the Best Hosts for Node.js?
To start, we worked through hosts that support Node.js. We sorted hosting plans, selecting those that offered a wide range of developer tools and technical support.
We prioritized hosts that made it easy to deploy, manage and scale your Node.js apps, integrating with Git and Heroku. We scaled down this list, vetting it against customer reviews.
Compare Node.js Hosting
If you want to develop with Node.js, you will need to host to do it on. This article will help you to find the best host for your needs.
What Is Node.js?
It can be used to build server-side web applications, and its architecture allows for massive scalability.
In most conventional web server environments, requests are handled as single, discreet events: a request is made to the server, the server does something, and a response is sent back.
Getting Server Feedback
This makes it difficult to get ongoing feedback, such as a file upload progress bar, or any kind of push notification.
The usual way these things were done was essentially a hack: by sending a series of frequent requests over and over to check on the progress of the process.
Node.js was invented to provide a different way of handling client-server I/O (input/output).
However, it is a fully-featured programming language and can be used in other contexts as well.
The inventor of Node.js discovered that its I/O handling capabilities (or lack of them), and some of its other characteristics, made it ideal for writing an environment capable of asynchronous, event-driven I/O.
What Is Event-Driven Architecture?
Event driven architecture is a way of orchestrating the way software components interact with each other and their environment.
Non-Event Driven Coding
In a conventional, non-event-driven approach, if you want one action to cause another action, you usually would have to write an explicit connection between those two actions. This had to be done inside the causal agent.
In other words: if I want A to trigger B, I have to add some code to A.
Event-driven architecture abstracts this to an environment that contains triggers and listeners.
You can add event triggers to any action (even if you do not know yet that it will be meaningful later) and add listeners to components (even if there is nothing yet to trigger them). Listeners wait for triggers and then launch an action.
Event-Driven Coding for UI
Event-driven programming is typically used in user-interface situations: The system listens for events such as mouse-clicks or keystrokes.
Node.js took advantage of this built-in characteristic to create an event-driven development framework for creating applications.
Non-Blocking I/O Operations and Single Threading
In Node.JS, I/O operations do not block other I/O operations, allowing multiple connections to be made simultaneously without disruption.
Communications Operate on a Single Thread
All connections operate in a single thread, so there is no performance lag between multiple concurrent processes.
Because of these characteristics, Node.js is highly useful for highly-concurrent, real-time applications, such as gaming.
Top Features of Node.js 12
In April 2019, the most recent major release of Node.js (version 12) was shipped. Some of the updates and upgrades included in this release include:
- Support for private class fields, which restricts where code variables can be accessed
- Improved performance via caching
- Use of an optimized compiler
- Security enhancements
- Diagnostic reports that allow developers to create reports when certain events occur
Reasons to use Node.js
Here are some reasons to use Node.js:
- Huge Talent Pool
- Node Package Manager
- Language Simplicity
- Multiple Connection Support.
Huge Talent Pool
The fact that there is a huge talent pool helps you in a couple of ways
Given that there are many talented node.js developers, you can easily find one if you want to outsource the job.
On the other hand, if you plan to do the coding yourself, you’ll find a lot of mpde.js developers who are eager to answer your questions. (Programmers are like that.)
The fact that Node.js is a very fast language is no secret.
Node Package Manager
If you want to be an efficient coder, you need to learn to use the code that others have already created.
The Node Package Manager (NPM) is the world’s largest source of open-source libraries. It makes installations a piece of cake.
Often complex projects require using several different languages like C, Assembly, and PHP. Node.js is not that way.
Multiple Connection Support
If you are going to be writing a gaming or chat application, Node.js is the language for you.
This is thanks to the event loop and its support for multiple, concurrent connections.
Reasons Not to Use Node.js
Node.js is not a “fix-all” development framework. There are certainly some applications where it is not the best option.
Here are some reasons not to use Node.js:
- Heavy data computation and processing
- SQL support
- Incompatibility issues
- API changes frequently
- Immaturity of some tools in the npm registry
- Price (hosting)
Heavy Data Computation and Processing
Node.js is really fast at handling I/O. Unfortunately, it is designed to do one thing at a time (though the asynchronous, non-blocking nature means that there aren’t many slowdowns).
As a result, it is not very efficient for heavy data computation and processing. Furthermore, Node.js is lagging in terms of data science and other helpful packages.
Node.js has not yet implemented fully mature SQL implementation.
So if your application is going to be very database intensive, you might want to use a different language — at least for the time being.
If you are working with legacy tools such as old libraries, you may want to avoid Node.js. It has not been developed for this purpose, but this may change in the future.
Node.js is still being actively developed.
Many of the changes are not backward-compatible. And this can be a major issue if you don’t want to spend a lot of time maintaining old code.
Node.js hosting options are often more costly than alternatives. Support for Node.js isn’t as common as other languages, and your application may require a more expensive hosting option (e.g., VPS hosting).
So if PHP or another server-side language will work for your application, it may be best to go with it.
Major Features of Node.js
Here are the 8 features that stand out to most people.
|Professionally managed administration||Administrator takes care of basic server administration tasks|
|Other programming languages like PHP, Perl or Python||Can be used for creating dynamic websites|
|Database (usually MySQL)||Handles data storage|
How to Choose a Node.js Hosting Provider
Node.js is still relatively new, so most web hosts do not support it yet.
Do Your Homework
Be sure to compare hosting options in detail before committing to one.
More Than the Usual Features
You want to look past the usual considerations when selecting a web host provider — things such as resource allocation and the inclusion of bonus features.
There are other things you need to keep in mind when selecting the option that is the best for your needs.
Factors to Consider
Here are some of the factors you should consider:
- Which programming languages does the host support
- Node.js, as a more developer-oriented language, ensure that the user-friendliness of your host matches your skillset
- Support for Node.js tends to be offered only on Virtual Private Servers (VPS) plans or dedicated servers which may be a problem with a lower web hosting budget
- Are other alternatives such as PHP more suited to your needs
- Does your host of choice have a good reputation and reliable uptime figures?
With that said, what are some specifics that you should consider when looking for a Node.js hosting plan? Well, we think the following are important:
- Node.js versions supported
- Commitment to Node.js and Availability of APIs / Developer-Oriented Tools
- Technical Support and Customer Service
- Pricing and cost-effectiveness
- Hosting company reputation and reliability.
How Long Will Node.js Version Support Last?
Major releases of Node.js ship every six months, with even-numbered versions shipping in April and odd-numbered versions shipping in October.
Whenever an odd-numbered version ships, the most recent even-numbered version transitions to the status of Long-Term Support (LTS), which means the version gets active support for the next 18 months. Afterward, it will get 12 months of maintenance support.
How to Upgrade Appropriately
Actively supported versions receive non-breaking backports of changes a couple of weeks after the current version receives them, while maintenance releases only include critical fixes and the applicable documentation updates.
What this means is that the version you are using will get some type of support for the next two and a half years or so It is up to you to upgrade your applications appropriately.
Upgrades on a VPS or Shared Hosting Plan
When it comes to web hosting, you will need your provider to update its environment as well.
Obviously, this is not a problem if you have purchased a dedicated server (since you have full control over your environment), but for those with VPS or shared hosting plans, it is important to check on the hosts’ upgrade policy before signing on the dotted line.
Specific Requirements When Using Node.js
In addition, to support for Node.js, you will want to see what the host offers in terms of developer tools.
The specifics will vary from user to user, so it is best to take stock of what you need and then find a host that meets your requirements.
Using MySQL Databases and Other Technologies
Can you use Redis, a NoSQL data store?
Can you easily integrate with Heroku for things like application build previews, GitHub for version control, or Jenkins for continuous integration?
Does the host offer WebSocket support or offer load balancing?
These are all questions you may want to ask.
Hosting Companies that Prioritize Node.js
Essentially, you must consider whether your host treats Node.js as a first-class citizen or not.
We do not think you should completely disregard a provider if it doesn’t prioritize Node.js, but we do think you should do your research to ensure that support goes further than “we know you can install Node.js and run your app.”
The web host gets bonus points if it has experience integrating Node.js apps with things like Git and Heroku for continuous deployment or with cloud-vendors.
Technical Support and Customer Service
There are a lot of web hosting providers whose software supports Node.js, but they then state explicitly that all Node.js code and related issues are unsupported.
In some cases, this may be okay, especially if you have an in-house technical team. However, if you think you might need assistance in this area, be sure to check the fine print to see if you will get support for issues that pop up as a result of your Node.js use.
Great Places to Study Node.js
Perhaps you are interested in Node.js hosting but don’t yet have the skills to tackle Node.js head-on? If so, here are some great places to study Node.js online.
|Colt Steele’s Advanced Web Developer Bootcamp (on Udemy)||Advanced Learners|
Alternative Options for Node.js Hosting
In addition to the more popular web hosting options, we suggest you consider players like Heroku, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services and Digital Ocean when purchasing a Node.js hosting package.
There is also Nodejitsu, which is the leading pure-play Node.js hosting provider.
Most of these options are cloud-based providers, so by opting for one of these, you will get all the benefits typically associated with cloud-based hosting: easy scalability, redundancy, and support for failover.
Considerations When Choosing a Node.js Alternative
With the exception of Nodejitsu, such options tend to support multiple languages. If you need a “polyglot” web hosting service, this might be the way to go for you.
The caveats, however, are that these tend to be developer-oriented options and may come with a steep learning curve, as well as a larger hosting bill.
Cloud-based options typically cost more than more traditional hosting options.
Best Node.js Hosting
When selecting the best hosts, we stayed with and chose from a list consisting of more traditional web hosting providers.
Features to Look For
In addition, to support Node.js, hosts may offer:
- A free domain name
- Use of CDNs to improve website performance
- SSD (solid-state drive)storage
- Free SSL certificates
- Use of GUI control panels (e.g., cPanel) and other add-ons for your website
- Choice of data centers
- Uptime guarantees
- Money-back guarantee
Here are some good options if you are looking for Node.js web hosting:
A2 Hosting: Developer-Friendly
A2 Hosting: in addition to being an all-around solid host, A2 is one of the few providers offering support for Node.js (even with shared hosting plans).
A2 emphasizes the developer experience, so you are likely to find that they support whatever it is you need to use for your application.
If not, the A2 team encourages you to file a feature request for an addition to its development queue.
SiteGround: Quality Support
SiteGround is another great all-around web hosting provider, but support for Node.js is only offered on its dedicated server.
This limitation means that SiteGround is not different from any other provider that offers dedicated servers.
However, we still had to give a nod to SiteGround due to the fact that their web hosting offerings are competitive and are backed by quality customer service.
Liquid Web: High-Performance Hosting
Liquid Web offers high-end, advanced web hosting solutions that support Node.js.
Like SiteGround, Liquid Web offers solid options that are backed by top-notch customer service.
However, do note that most of the company’s options (both traditional and cloud-based) are managed, so if you are less technically inclined or you want to outsource some (or all) of the management related to your web hosting while still purchasing a VPS plan or dedicated server, Liquid Web might be the best option for you.
Node.js Hosting Summary
Regardless, there are certainly options, both traditional and cloud-based, even if you are more limited than if you had chosen, say PHP, instead.
Frequently Asked Questions About Node.js
What is Node.js?
Is Node.js better than PHP?
What are the top Node.js developer tools?
Some of the most commonly used Node.js developer tools include:
- Express.js: A framework for developing web apps
- Keystone.js: A web app framework that’s built on top of Express.js and is similar to a CMS (content management system).
- Electrode.io: A platform for building small-to-large scale React or Node.js applications using a standardized structure, toolset, and best practices.
- Meteor: A framework that facilitates the development of cross-platform apps
- Socket.io: Facilitates event-based, real-time, two-way communication
- PM2: For process management
- WebStorm: An IDE (integrated development enviroment) created by JetBrains.
- Passport.js: Autentication middleware