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Node JS is the second most preferred and popular technology for web development. If you are wondering what practices you should follow to boost the performance of your Node.js app, then you have landed on the right page. This blog post contains all the top Node Js best practices that you should consider in 2022.

Introduction

Node Js is a key player, and it has played a significant role in the popularity and extensive adoption of JavaScript. The acceptance of Node Js can be attributed to the efficiency and speed it provides to the development environment. Node Js makes it easy enough to get started, but moving forward to the core functionalities of your application, knowing how to structure your code and how to deal with errors gets difficult.

How you fix the issues that completely depends on the Node js best practices you follow. According to toW3Tech statistics, Node Js stands at the top compared to other popular web servers such as Apache, Nginx, Cloudflare, and more, based on its popularity and traffic.

Node.js Market Position

Top Node Js Best Practices to Build Node Js Application In 2022

As you have chosen this highly used, amazing wholesome library cum web-server Nodejs for your project development, follow these Node Js back-end best practices to attain the maximum benefits.

1. Start Your Project With Package.json

Stop writing bash scripts. NPM scripts make it a lot easier to organize code. NPM init command will create a support framework called package.json. We all are aware of NPM and its procedure of installing dependencies, but it’s more than that. Node Js package manager is a part of all the deployment systems for Node Js.

Node Js package manager

The package.json allows you to create a lot of metadata to make it easier for others working on the same project by offering them the same setup. This secure and reliable package management provides an opportunity for the Node ecosystem to grow exceptionally well.

2. Make Use of A Style Guide

If you are wondering how to be a productive developer? The answer is to use a style guide. Most of us invest our valuable time in reformatting the braces, changing the spaces to tabs, and trying to make sense of the code that we have never worked on earlier.

A style guide is an ideal way to follow to understand the blunder. When a code is written in a consistent style, it reduces the cognitive overhead of spaces and tabs.

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3. Use Environment Variables

We would like to advise you not to mess up your project with environment-specific configuration files. Instead, leverage the benefits of environment variables. Use environment variables from the very early stage of a project to ensure no outflow of sensitive information.

Use the Below commands to set default values via npmrc file:

set default values via npmrc file

The procedure advised in Node Js is to add the values from process.env in your code.

4. Make Yourself Familiar With Node Best Practices

It’s a good idea to ensure that you have learned the best practices of JS before implementing your Node Js strategy. If you are running out of time for full immersion or need to review JavaScript, learn some benchmarks like scope, data types, asynchronous programming, callbacks, and function and objects in JavaScript.

5. Handle Errors

Fulfilling expectations is essential for any application, and the ideal way to deal with mistakes is to use asynchronous structures. For example, promises offer a .catch handler to treat all errors appropriately.

6. Go Asynchronous

The nature and design of Node Js are single-thread, which means lots of synchronous can lock the application. Synchronous functions in a way that makes your application logic easy to understand. In comparison, asynchronous structures like promises keep your code free from blockages.

If you are avoiding the synchronous methods in your code, it is still possible to use it at a later stage with the help of an external library. The ideal way to use asynchronous is in critical performance sections.

7. Make Sure That Your Application Automatically Restarts

You are following the best practices to deal with errors. However, suppose the errors are still bringing your application down. In that case, this is where it’s ideal to use process manager to ensure the application recovers elegantly from runtime errors and restart your application as soon as the server is live again.

8. Require All Your Dependencies Upfront

It is advisable to load all your dependencies and organize them upfront. So from the very beginning, you can easily encounter if there is any problem, not after a day or two when your application has gone live in production.

9. Keep Your Code Clean And Light

Some questions are worth asking in the development stage to speed up things.

  • Why am I using this framework?
  • So I need this module?
  • Is it possible to attempt more simply?

To enhance application performance by concatenating and minifying multiple JS files into one. If your application has 5 JS files, the browser will make five separate files to fetch them. Avoid the block and wait time.

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10. Make Use of Gzip Compression

Nowadays, most clients and servers support gzip. The server itself compresses the response time when a gzip compatible browser requests a resource is, reducing latency and time lag. Gzip can improve your application’s performance when you make requests to remote servers and respond to clients.

11. Git The Substantial Bits

Every application is composed of generated files and essential files. It is advisable to avoid tracking anything formed using source code like Git, as it leads to excessive noise in your Git history when you track generated files.

12. Employ Client-Side Rendering

Due to Model-View-Controller frameworks like AngularJS and BackboneJS, have become a lot easier to create dynamic page applications. Using client-side rendering in Node Js will radically save bandwidth and reduce latency.

13. App Monitoring

How does it sound to get notified when something goes wrong with your application? You don’t want to get aware from social media feed or thousands of angry users that the application has not been correctly functioning for a few hours now. So occupying something to alert at the time of critical issues is essential.

14. Stop SQL Injections

The risk of database manipulation increases whenever JS strings are frequently used. Built-in parameters for queries given by object-relational mapping should be used to stop SQL injections.

Stop SQL Injections

15. Validate Your Code

Testing is an obvious point, and it will save you on many occasions. In-between the development, it happens when the first few production issues occur. You wish you could have done a few tests in the first place. So, start developing the habit of testing and experience a smooth and bug-free application performance.

Top Node.js Application Security Tips

As we have understood the Node.js best practices to have scalable and strong performance in your applications. Now let’s understand the best Node.js application security tips to follow to have a secure environment for your application. The below section includes packages, plugins, and many others that can make applications highly secure and safe.

1. Use Linter Security

While developing a Node.js application, you may have invoked a child process, used eval, or imported a module with a non-string literal. By following these unintentional steps, your project might be facing Node.js vulnerabilities. Linting ensures you eliminate potentially dangerous patterns in your code. You can use the linter plugins like eslint-plugin-security to catch threats and vulnerabilities while coding your node.js application. Hence archive this practice of using the plugin.

2. Apply Rare Limiting on the Middleware

Your application is threatened by a DOS attack where authenticated users may not get the requested service or get degraded service. To overcome such a situation, you should use middleware for smaller and less-critical apps to implement rare limitations. For comparatively larger apps, you can use rate-limiter-flexible package, Nginx, cloud firewalls, or cloud load balancers. This is one of the most-useful Node js best practices.

3. Secret Management

To secure node js applications, You must not save your secrets in configuration files or source code. Unknowingly you may keep private repositories publicly, where you unveil all your secrets. This way, anyone can access your APIs, database, services, and more. Thus, you must use Kubernetes/ Docker secrets, Vault products, or environment variables. In this manner, your secrets are safe, encrypted, and managed. Pro Tip: Use pre-commits and push hooks to avoid accidental mysteries.

4. Preventing Query Injections

Many developers use JS strings or string concatenations to insert values into queries. However, these Nodejs security best practices make your data unvalidated and your app highly vulnerable to SQL/NoSQL injection attacks. Sequelize, KnexKnex, and mongoose, these node.js libraries have in-built protection against such SQL injection threats. To prevent these malicious attacks, you must always use Object-Relational Mapping/ Object Document Mapper ORM/ODM or database libraries that support indexed parametrized queries.

5. Evade DOS Attacks by Seting the System Crash

The entire process crashes when the Node process cannot handle some errors. Even a few nodejs best practices suggest exiting the process despite catching the mistake. All this struggle because the attackers get an accessible spot vulnerable to the input and crash the system with repeated faulty inputs.

Though there is no solution to this adversity, you can validate the information and spare the process of hitting on invalid user input. You can wrap all the incoming routes with a catch and ensure that your system doesn’t crash on error requests. By doing so, you provide your node js web application security.

6. Regulate the HTTP Headers

Use secure headers to combat cross-site scripting (XSS), clickjacking, and other malicious attacks that lead to massive node.js application security vulnerabilities. You can use modules like the helmet that is easily configurable and create your node js security tutorial.

7. Examine for Vulnerable Dependencies

The NPM ecosystem of Node makes it common to have many dependencies for a project. You must always check your dependencies and use tools like nsp, snyk, and npm audit to track, monitor and patch vulnerabilities. By aligning these tools with the CI setup, you can catch a dependency before it is executed.

8. Use Bcrypt Instead of Crypto

Save your API passwords or secrets using Bcrypt, a secure hash + salt function. Without this function, your passwords or secrets are vulnerable to brute force and dictionary attacks. As you use the Bcrypt process, you specify the number of rounds and the number of times the data works, so it is more securely and forcefully hashed.

9. Escape Output

Often, your browser executes the user-sent input, which is known as Cross-site scripting (XSS) attack. You can use encoding, escaping, or dedicated libraries that mark data as pure content and do not allow it to execute. Hence, you must escape output like HTML, JS, and CSS output, or else the attackers would store malicious code in your DB, which will pass over to needy clients.

10. Validate Incoming JSON Schemas

The attacker may try to find the various input combinations that crash your application. So, don’t be generous and permissive to such experiments and trials. You should lay validation on incoming requests’ body payload and check if it meets your expectations. Jsonschema or joi are lightweight JSON-based validation schemas that you can use to avoid the coding struggle.

11. Backlisting JWTs

Your Node.js application considers JSON Web Tokens (JWT) issued by you as authentic, which makes you accessible to the app data using these tokens. However, in the case of misplaced or stolen tokens, there is no way that you can stop an attacker from accessing your application, e.g., when you use JWT with Passport.js. Hence, you must validate your untrusted tokens that are expired or misplaced.

12. Prevent Brute-force Attacks Against the Authorization

A hacker can breach your application by trying too many attempts to enter username and password. You can prevent such brute-force attacks by implementing rate limiting authorization by restricting a particular IP to log in to your app. For, e.g., when you find consecutive failed attempts of permission of the same username and a unique IP, restrict it further. Or when there are several failed permission attempts for an extended period, like 100 failed attempts by a particular IP on the same day.

13. Run Node.js as a Non-Root User

A user process generally has the least access to the system information and resources. However, with root access, an attacker can attain the maximum power of the local machine and can reroute traffic to other servers. By default, Node.js runs as a non-root user with unlimited access, which is vulnerable. Thus, you must use a non-root user or bake it into a Docker image.

14. Limit Payload Size

As your Node.js application receives larger requests, it has difficulty processing other important work, which leads to lower app performance and exposes your app to DOS attacks. A bigger body payload is under execution by a single thread for large claims. Attackers can pose a threat without multiple requests because of the bigger payload size. You can use express body-parser to limit body size by accepting only small-size payloads.

15. Sidescape the Javascript Eval Statement

A considerable performance concern arises because the eval statement permits executing a custom JS code while running the app. A user may input a malicious JS code, leading to a node.js application security issue. By the use of eval function, or the new Function, setTimeout, and setInterval, susceptible text gains access to the Javascript of the page through the input. Hence, you should use such functions cautiously.

16. Counter Malicious RegEx

All javascript apps are vulnerable to regular expressions, specifically the Node.js application. They cost large CPU power as the user inputs text to match. Sometimes you may block the entire event loop due to poorly written RegEx. E.g., the moment package was destroyed in Nov 2017. You should use safe-regex to find out which of your regular expressions pose a threat or use the validator.js package.

17. Safe Module Loading

Keep a check on what your Node.js program is importing or requiring. The fs.readFile() parameters often come from the user input, which can be a malicious act. The impact of such results can access your sensitive resource or breach into other existing file systems. You should use the linter Eslint-plugin-security to catch such vulnerable user attempts.

18. Run Unsafe Code in a Sandbox

Make sure you use a sandbox tool when your application runs an external code because that can attack your system with infinite loops, overload memory, or access to sensitive env variables. You must use dedicated processes like a cluster.fork(), or npm packages, or a serverless environment as a sandbox to protect your Node.js application.

19. Be Cautious When Working with Child Processes

Try not to use child processes; when you have to, validate the inputs. They can pose shell injection attacks by unsanitized system commands. Instead, you can use child_process.execFile, which executes a single command with multiple attributes, and thus will not expand shell parameters.

20. Hide Error Details from Clients

Good advice says you should use your own error handler with custom objects. While doing that, you must not return the entire error object to the user because it might obtain some of your application’s sensitive data.

21. Configure 2FA for NPM or Yarn

Hackers steal the developers’ credentials and instill malicious code in your project libraries, despite applying multi-factor authentication (MFA). The entire web may be infected if the attackers plant the code in the public domain. Hence, you must use two-factor authentication 2FA with npm/yarn, which leaves no chance of hackers.

22. Cookie & Session Security

You should not reveal your tech stack because attackers know the weakness of all the frameworks and technologies. Mostly cookies are transmitted over insecure connections, and hackers can tweak the session for private information. You must protect your app as well as your user’s privacy by keeping a check on Cookie and Session security.

23. Prevent Unsafe Redirects

As the attackers know that you are not validating user input, they can pose attacks like credential stealing and launch phishing attacks or other malicious events. Thus, you must take care of all the redirects that arise from your application. If you take this matter lightly, attackers can post specific links to forums or social-media attractions so your users can click through them.

24. Avoid Publishing Secrets

You must see that all your passwords, API keys, and other secrets are safe and not published on the public NPM registries. If not so, attackers can leverage the benefits of your leaks and impede your financial losses, can impersonate you, and other risks too. You can use the .npmignore file as a blacklist and the files array in package.json as a whitelist. I hope you find these node.js application security practices helpful.

Wrap Up

Node Js has evolved from merely a JavaScript library to an independent and full-stack programming language. Node Js is a successful runtime environment. It is extensively used as a back-end and for building RESTful APIs. However, implementing Node js best practices in your existing applications is important for optimal performance.

Lately, big names like Twitter, Walmart, Uber, and more have used Node Js for better performance and results. If you wish to be on the top list of such mammoth businesses, hire NodeJs developer from us and play your last card as an entrepreneur. Success is sure to come your way.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Always prefer to use a package.json to improve the performance of your Node JS application. Moreover, go Asynchronous and try to use lightweight code for optimal performance.

NodeJs is mainly used for traditional web applications, real-time applications, network applications, and back-end API because of its single-threaded behavior.

To keep your web application safe and secure from any attacks, you should always follow all the open web security project practices ( usage of Lint plugin, stop SQL injections )to avoid any NodeJS application vulnerabilities.

Promise is mainly used in Nodejs as a value placeholder that can be used in the future whenever an error occurs, or any asynchronous task is completed.

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