Is Node Express a Web Server?


Larry Thompson

Is Node Express a Web Server?

Node Express is a powerful framework built on top of Node.js that allows you to create web applications and APIs. While it is commonly referred to as a web server, it is important to understand the distinction between Node and Express.

Node.js as a Web Server

Node.js itself is not a web server. It is an open-source runtime environment that allows you to run JavaScript code outside of a web browser.

With Node, you can build server-side applications and handle requests and responses.

However, Node.js does not provide built-in support for handling HTTP requests or serving static files like HTML, CSS, or images. This is where the Express framework comes into play.

Express: A Web Application Framework

Express is a minimalistic and flexible web application framework that runs on top of Node.js. It provides various features and tools to simplify the process of building web applications and APIs.

One of the key features of Express is its ability to handle HTTP requests and responses efficiently. It provides routing capabilities, allowing you to define different endpoints for handling different types of requests (GET, POST, DELETE, etc.).

Routing with Express

With Express, you can define routes using the app.get(),, app.put(), app.delete(), and other methods provided by the framework. These methods allow you to map specific URLs to corresponding functions for processing the requests.

app.get('/users', (req, res) => {
  // Handle GET request for /users endpoint
});'/users', (req, res) => {
  // Handle POST request for /users endpoint

Express also provides middleware support, which allows you to execute code before or after processing a request. This can be useful for tasks such as authentication, logging, and error handling.

Serving Static Files

Another important aspect of web servers is the ability to serve static files like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and images. Express makes this easy by providing a built-in middleware called express.static().use(express.static(‘public’));

In the example above, any request to the server will first check if there is a matching file in the “public” directory. If found, Express will serve that file directly without the need for any additional routing.


While Node.js itself is not a web server, Express provides the necessary tools and features to build robust web applications and APIs. It handles HTTP requests and responses efficiently and offers routing capabilities and middleware support.

So next time someone asks you if Node Express is a web server, confidently explain that while Node.js is the runtime environment, Express is the framework that turns it into a fully functional web server.

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