Express vs Fastify: Which is Better?

Express and Fastify are both popular web frameworks for Node.js, each with its own set of strengths and characteristics. In this comparison, we’ll delve into their features, performance, ecosystem, and use cases to understand when to choose one over the other.


Express is one of the oldest and most widely used Node.js frameworks. It’s known for its simplicity, flexibility, and extensive middleware ecosystem. Here are some key aspects of Express:

Middleware: Express middleware allows developers to extend the functionality of their applications. Middleware can handle tasks like authentication, logging, error handling, and more. Express has a vast array of middleware available through NPM, making it highly customizable.

Routing: Express provides a straightforward routing system that allows developers to define routes for handling different HTTP requests. Routes can handle GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, and other HTTP methods, making it easy to create RESTful APIs or web applications.

Templating: Although Express itself doesn’t come with a built-in templating engine, developers can easily integrate popular templating engines like EJS, Pug, or Handlebars to generate dynamic HTML content.

Community and Ecosystem: Express has a large and active community with extensive documentation, tutorials, and resources available online. Its ecosystem includes various plugins, middleware, and integrations, making it suitable for a wide range of use cases.

Flexibility: Express is highly flexible, allowing developers to structure their applications according to their preferences. It doesn’t enforce any particular architectural pattern, enabling developers to build applications in a way that suits their needs.


Fastify is a relatively newer framework compared to Express but has gained popularity due to its focus on performance and developer experience. Here are some key features of Fastify:

Performance: Fastify is designed to be fast and efficient. It achieves this through various optimizations such as asynchronous request processing, schema-based request validation, and built-in serialization. Fastify’s performance makes it well-suited for high-performance applications or APIs where speed is critical.

Schema-based Validation: Fastify comes with built-in support for schema-based request validation using JSON Schema. This feature ensures that incoming requests are validated against a predefined schema, reducing the chances of runtime errors and improving API reliability.

Plugin System: Fastify’s plugin system allows developers to modularize their applications by encapsulating functionality into reusable plugins. This promotes code reusability, maintainability, and scalability, making it easier to manage complex applications.

Asynchronous Error Handling: Fastify handles errors asynchronously, providing a robust error handling mechanism that doesn’t block the event loop. This ensures that errors are handled efficiently without affecting the overall performance of the application.

Typed Middleware: Fastify allows developers to define middleware with type annotations, enabling better static type checking and improved code maintainability. This feature is particularly beneficial for large codebases or teams working on collaborative projects.


Now, let’s compare Express and Fastify based on various factors:

Performance: Fastify generally outperforms Express in terms of raw request/response throughput and latency. Its focus on performance optimizations and asynchronous request handling makes it a preferred choice for high-performance applications.

Developer Experience: Fastify offers a more structured and opinionated approach to application development compared to Express. Its built-in support for schema validation, typed middleware, and error handling simplifies common tasks and promotes best practices.

Flexibility vs. Opinionation: Express is more flexible and allows developers to structure their applications according to their preferences. On the other hand, Fastify imposes certain conventions and best practices, which can be beneficial for teams looking for a more guided approach to development.

Middleware Ecosystem: Express has a larger middleware ecosystem due to its longer history and broader adoption. However, Fastify’s plugin system and built-in features cover many common use cases, and its ecosystem is rapidly growing.

Use Cases: Express is well-suited for a wide range of applications, from small prototypes to large-scale web applications and APIs. Fastify is particularly suitable for performance-critical applications, microservices, and APIs where speed and efficiency are paramount.

Final Conclusion on Express vs Fastify: Which is Better?

In conclusion, both Express and Fastify are excellent choices for building web applications and APIs with Node.js. The choice between them depends on the specific requirements of your project, your preference for flexibility versus opinionation, and the performance characteristics you prioritize.

If you value performance, structured development, and built-in features like schema validation and typed middleware, Fastify may be the better choice. On the other hand, if you prefer flexibility, a vast middleware ecosystem, and a more laissez-faire approach to development, Express might be the way to go. Ultimately, both frameworks have their strengths and can be used effectively depending on the context of your project.


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