Node.js vs. Golang Performance: Which Is Faster?
|What Is Node.js?||What Is Golang?|
Node.js is designed to run on a dedicated HTTP server, using a single thread. Node.js applications are event driven and run asynchronously. They do not follow the traditional software workflow: receive, process, transmit, wait, receive. Instead, they receive incoming requests, process them, and in parallel send small requests one after the other without waiting for a response.
|Go (also known as Golang) is a general-purpose open-source programming language. Go was developed by Google engineers with reliability and efficiency in mind. It is similar to the C language, as it is statically typed and explicit.|
The language is inspired by the productivity and simplicity of Python, while adding the high performance of C. Go addresses problems with traditional programming languages, including slow build times, uncontrolled dependencies, duplication of tasks, difficulty in creating automation tools, and poor support for cross-language development.
Go is more efficient because it uses lightweight processes called “goroutines”. It also uses package collections for efficient dependency management.
This is part of a series of articles about Golang performance
In this article:
- Node.js Performance Benefits
- Golang Performance Benefits
- Node.js Performance vs. Go Performance: Key Differences
Node.js Performance Benefits
Fast Processing and Event Model
The Node.js framework uses V8, a fast virtual machine that provides a just in time (JIT) compilation mechanism. This makes it easier for the framework to compile the source code into machine code at runtime, which speeds up execution.
You can easily customize and extend Node.js to your specific requirements. The framework supports data exchange between client and web server via JSON and also traditional communication channels like HTTP, DNS and TCP – via built-in APIs available with the Node.js environment.
Node.js makes it possible to cache individual modules. When a module is requested for the first time, it is cached in the application’s memory. When the module is needed again, Node does not need to re-run the code. The caching mechanism allows applications to load frequently accessed pages and respond to requests much faster.
Golang Performance Benefits
Designed for Multi-core Processors
Golang provides efficient garbage collection ( automatic memory management) using the Tricolor mark and sweep algorithm, and can run multiple programs simultaneously. These and other features allow the language to achieve latency of less than one millisecond for most operations.
The Go compiler allows developers to generate binaries that can be run on a variety of operating systems with a few simple commands. This means that source code can be easily cross-compiled and run on multiple platforms without complex build processes, making the deployment process much smoother.
Node.js Performance vs. Go Performance: Key Differences
Go achieves concurrency using goroutines – these are functions or methods that run concurrently with other functions or methods. The language uses the concept of channels to enable communication between concurrent processes, to avoid race conditions in shared memory.
Node.js is single-threaded, and uses an event callback mechanism. This means that all functions or methods are executed in a linear order. Node.js does allow some level of concurrency by using event callbacks, but this is not considered true parallelism.
This makes Go the better choice if you need a program to handle multiple requests at the same time.
Go immediately outperforms Node.js in terms of scalability, because concurrency support helps with parallel tasks. Go can handle as many as 1000 concurrent requests per second.
Node.js operates on a single-threaded mechanism. Tasks are executed one after the other, making it less scalable. It does allow some level of concurrency. But Go provides significantly better concurrency and memory efficiency.
If you have CPU intensive applications, Go is a better choice.
Raw Performance and Real-life Performance
Performance can have a significant impact on an application’s average response time and CPU load time. If you consider standard performance benchmarks, Node.js and Go are very efficient at dealing with high loads. However, they handle performance differently:
- Raw performance – Go dominates. Go runs without an interpreter and is directly compiled into machine language. This gives Go the same level of performance as a low-level language like C.
- Garbage collection – both Go and Node.js have a garbage collector that prevents memory leaks and ensures a stable memory footprint.
Golang checks for errors differently at compile time and at runtime. Compilation errors are usually syntax related and can be fixed in the code. Run-time errors must be handled explicitly, and function return values must be investigated manually. This is planned to be improved in the next version of Go.
Node.js handles errors in a standard way that is familiar to most developers. It supports the use of try-catch exceptions to catch and handle errors immediately at runtime.