Does Express Js Need Web Server?


Heather Bennett

Does Express Js Need Web Server?

Express.js is a popular web application framework for Node.js. It provides a simple and flexible way to build robust web applications. However, one common question that often arises is whether Express.js needs a web server to function properly.

Understanding Express.js

Before we delve into the question, let’s take a moment to understand what Express.js actually is. Express.js is a minimal and unopinionated framework that sits on top of Node. It provides a set of features and utilities that make it easier to build web applications.

Express.js offers various functionalities such as routing, middleware support, template engines integration, and more. It allows developers to handle HTTP requests and responses efficiently.

The Role of Web Server

To answer the question – does Express.js need a web server? We need to understand the role of a web server in the context of Express.

A web server, such as Apache or Nginx, is responsible for handling incoming HTTP requests and serving static files. It receives requests from clients, processes them, and sends back the appropriate response.

Node.js, on the other hand, is an event-driven runtime built on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine. It allows JavaScript to be executed outside of the browser environment. Node.js has its own built-in web server module called ‘http’ that can handle HTTP requests.

Express.js as a Web Server

In essence, Express.js can function as its own standalone web server. When you create an Express application, it internally utilizes Node.js’ HTTP module to listen for incoming requests and send responses back to clients.

This means that you can run an Express.js application without the need for a separate web server like Apache or Nginx.js takes care of handling HTTP requests, routing, and serving static files on its own.

However, it’s important to note that for production environments or scenarios with high traffic, using a dedicated web server alongside Express.js is recommended. A dedicated web server can handle load balancing, caching, and other performance optimizations more efficiently than the built-in capabilities of Express.


In conclusion, Express.js does not necessarily require a separate web server to function properly. It has its own built-in capabilities to handle HTTP requests and serve static files. However, in certain scenarios where performance optimizations are crucial, using a dedicated web server alongside Express.

Whether you choose to use Express.js as a standalone web server or in conjunction with a dedicated web server depends on the specific requirements of your application and the expected traffic it will receive.

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