Top 10 Backend Web Development Frameworks (2021)

Laying down a strong foundation for your building is essential for it to hold on. And choosing the right backend framework is quintessential to the efficient operation of the software. A backend framework is a collection of tools, code libraries, and other software that enables the building of server-side logic that powers websites and apps from behind the scenes. They eliminate the need to build and configure everything from the ground up by offering ready-made components for developing dynamic web applications.

According to Github Stars, the top 10 backend frameworks as of February 2021 are:

  1. Laravel
  2. Flask
  3. Django
  4. Express.js
  5. Ruby on Rails
  6. Meteor
  7. Spring
  8. Koa
  9. NestJs
  10. Strapi

Let’s dive into the details of the top 13 backend frameworks for web development.

  1. Laravel

Written in: PHP

Laravel is a free, open-source PHP web framework based on the MVC architecture. It is ideal for developers who love to program in PHP. Key benefits include authentication, simple API, caching backends, logs, and tests. Plus, it’s easy to get started with great documentation, queue management, and an eloquent ORM. Laravel is perfect for building blogs, news portals, and e-commerce websites.

  1. Flask

Written in: Python

Flask is a Python-based micro web framework. It is micro in the sense that Flask aims to keep the core simple but extensible. Developers that have a grasp of Python can easily adapt to working with Flask. As a micro-framework, it’s perfect for applications that require heavy customization.

  1. Django

Written in: Python

Django is one of the most popular frameworks written in Python language. It follows the model view controller (MVC) pattern. Django is arguably one of the cleanest frameworks in terms of architecture. Django is used for the development of sophisticated database-driven websites. Many developers prefer Django over other server-side frameworks due to its flexibility, REST frameworks for APIs, and battery functions.

  1. Express.js

Written in: JavaScript

Express.js, aka Express, is a backend web application framework designed for building web applications and APIs. It provides a thin layer of fundamental web app features. And with a myriad of HTTP utility methods and middleware, creating a robust API is quick and easy.

  1. Ruby on Rails

Written in: Ruby

Ruby on Rails, also known as Rails, is a server-side framework written in Ruby. It offers default structures for a database, web pages, and web service. Scalability is one of the main reasons for many users to opt for Ruby on Rails.

  1. Meteor

Written in: JavaScript

Meteor is an open-source framework for building web, mobile, and desktop applications in JavaScript. It’s known for the smooth running of data between client and server. Meteor can be used with any popular front-end JS framework, including Vue, React, Svelte, Angular, or Blaze. Developers using Meteor can code for front-end and backend with one single language. This framework guarantees seamless real-time communication between a client and a server.

  1. Spring

Written in: Java

Spring is the most popular framework for enterprise Java. It leverages the Spring platform and third-party libraries to enable the developers to get started with minimum hassle. It focuses on the “plumbing” of enterprise applications so that teams can focus on application-level business logic.

  1. Koa

Written in: JavaScript

Koa is a lightweight and scalable Node.js framework that provides a robust set of features for web and mobile apps. By leveraging async functions, it allows you to greatly increase error handling. Koa was built by the team behind Express to be a more robust foundation for APIs and web applications. It is often referred to as the lightweight version of Express. Koa provides an elegant suite of methods that make writing servers fast and enjoyable.

  1. Nest.js

Written in: JavaScript and TypeScript

Nest.js is an open-source, extensible, progressive framework for building compelling and demanding backend systems. It is production-ready because it comes with a lot of great features. It can be connected with GraphQL, WebSockets, or used for building microservices. Nest.js is easily expandable, as it can be used with other libraries. NestJS uses modern technologies, so the applications created with it are maintainable and long-lasting.

  1. Strapi

Written in: JavaScript

Strapi is a Node.js API framework with headless CMS capabilities. It is a cross between a content management system (CMS) and a Node.js framework. Strapi is the most advanced Node.js content management framework, saving developers weeks of API configurations. It comes with an impressive set of features and useful plugins.

How to select a web framework?

With so many options available, selecting a backend framework can be a hassle. Here are a few factors to keep in mind.

  • It is foremost to understand the purpose behind the use of a framework and whether it’s suitable or not.
  • The best backend frameworks ensure that security is a central part of the framework’s infrastructure.
  • Migrating from one backend framework to another is expensive and risky. Therefore, it’s critical to pick a framework that can grow with your business.
  • Ease of installation. The best frameworks contain a simple setup and run as fast as possible.
  • If you choose a framework with poor documentation, you’ll end up spending more time figuring out the basics than developing features.
  • Learning curve. If you’re familiar with a particular programming language, you may want to use a framework that employs that language.
  • If you’ll go for a backend framework that has a large and supporting community, you can always ask for help.

There are a bunch of backend frameworks in the market. However, only a handful of them can deploy a scalable application. Truly versatile frameworks are based on powerful and expressive languages and enable developers to build web applications and APIs.

What is the best backend framework?

Choosing the right technology for backend development services is crucial for application performance and scalability. However, there is no best backend framework – each one is the “best” for different use.

Top 10 Backend Web Development Frameworks in 2021

Framework Programming language Use cases
1. Laravel PHP

Deltanet Travel

Neighborhood Lender

MyRank

2. Flask Python

Pinterest

LinkedIn

Reddit

3. Django Python

Instagram

Spotify

Coursera

The Washington Times

National Geographic

YouTube

DropBox

4. Express.js JavaScript

Uber

Accenture

IBM

PayPal

5. Ruby on Rails Ruby

Airbnb

Shopify

GitHub

SoundCloud

Crunchbase

6. Meteor JavaScript

Mazda

IKEA

Honeywell

7. Spring Java

Trivago

Via Varejo

Intuit

8. Koa NodeJS

Roche

Adidas

Capgemini

9. NestJs JavaScript and TypeScript

Netflix

Uber

Starbucks

10. Strapi JavaScript

IBM

NASA

Walmart

All these frameworks have large communities and good documentation. Selecting one for your project will depend on required features, what technology pairs with it, development goals, team strength, etc. A good choice would be a framework with the programming language you are more familiar with. However, venturing into uncharted waters can be a great learning experience.

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