Fig 1As application development tools go, Node.js is already one of the fastest options available due to several key features, such as its asynchronous and event-driven nature. However, as consumer expectations for their applications change and users expect ever increasing performance and speed, it’s become even more important than ever to maximize the speed of your applications.  At the same time, that speed cannot come at the expense of security.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can improve the performance of your applications without sacrificing — and in some cases, actually improving — security.

Use Cache

Caching data that you don’t use frequently can improve the speed of your application. Not only should you cache data that isn’t updated regularly — for example, if you blog infrequently, caching older posts will show them more quickly — but caching static data can double the speed of your application. Consider implementing NGINX as a reverse proxy server, making it easier to cache and balance loads when you have multiple Node.js servers. When you establish caching, though, be careful to exclude certain content, such as the administrative platform for your blog, from the cache to ensure it remains secure.

In fact, using a reverse proxy server is one of the best ways to ensure the security of your application. When looking into Node.js hosting, know that it is designed to handle incoming traffic better than many other application servers, but realize that exposing that server to internet traffic could be potentially dangerous. This is where you would want to  implement a reverse proxy server, so that your Node.js server is protected from that traffic and any potential harm.

Run in Parallel

Web applications often need to make multiple calls to the internal API calls to access data. For example, when the application has a user dashboard, it’s likely to call for the user profile, recent activity, subscriptions, and notifications all at once.  If you create a separate middleware for each function, you can recall the data, but each function has to wait for the previous one to complete before it can begin. This significantly slows down performance and frustrates users. A better alternative is to take advantage of node.js’s asynchronous capabilities and run in parallel. When functions do not depend on each other to operate, it’s easy to eliminate the middleware and improve speed.

Use Client-Side Rendering

When youNod render pages on the server-side, every request will send an HTML page that is virtually identical beyond the specific information entered by the user. This uses more resources than necessary and slows down application performance. It’s far more efficient to have the page render on the client-side, and have the Node.js return the dynamic data needed for the page. The remaining HTML markup for the page can be put in a JavaScript template that’s served from the reverse proxy server. In addition, these templates can be cached in the user’s browser or local storage, so once the page loads the first time, only the dynamic data is sent to the client.  This dramatically increases the speed of Node.js.

However, one caveat about client-side rendering: Be sure that you never expose API secrets or credentials in the source code, as it will be readable and will compromise the security of your application.

Keep Code to a Minimum

Keeping your Node.js code base as compact as possible helps to speed up the performance of the application while reducing latency. As you develop your application, ask some important questions that will help keep code light. For example, ask whether every module is necessary and if the framework you’ve chose is the best option, and whether the decisions you’re making are worth the space and the effect on application speed. Avoid using multiple JavaScript files that will create different HTTP requests as well; instead, find ways to turn those files into a single streamlined file that only requires one request. This will improve the performance of the application considerably.

One of the best ways to ensure the security and performance of your Node.js applications is to employ application monitoring. With automatic monitoring, you can identify potential bottlenecks and other performance issues as they occur, and often before they reach your customers. Since performance issues are often tied to security issues, knowing what’s happening in your applications at all times can keep your data and applications safe — and your business moving forward.

ISBuzz Staff
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