Best Practices Production Express Apps

Best Practices for Express Apps

by David Yu

Last Updated: 30 December 2018

Process managers

  • Automatically restart app
  • Performance metrics
  • Modify settings dynamically to improve performance
  • Control clustering



Simple cli to that runs a script continuously forever. Good for small apps.


Production process manager that has a built in load balancer. Allows applications to be up forever with no downtime

Strong Loop Process Manager

  • Build, package and deploy your Node.js app to local or remote system
  • View CPU profiles and heap snapshots to optimize performance and diagnose memory leaks
  • Keep processes and clusters alive forever
  • Unify multiple StrongLoop PMs to a distributed mircoservices runtime that is managed from Arc

Security Best Practices

  • Don't use a deprecated or vulnerable versions of Express and Node
  • Use TLS
  • Use Helmet
  • Use cookies securely
  • Ensure dependencies are secure
  • Avoid other known vulnerabilities


Encrypts data before it is sent from the client to the server. Preventing some common and easy hacks. TLS is the next progression of SSL

Use Helmet

Prevents some well known web vulnerabilities by setting HTTP headers appropriately

Use cookies securely

  • Don't use in memory storage in production
  • Don't use default session cookie name
    • app.use(session({name: 'notdefaultsessionidname'})
    • Helps prevent attacks from discovering what framework is used
  • Set cookie security options
    • app.use(session({name: 'session', cookie: { secure: true, httpOnly: true, domain: '', path: 'foo/bar', expires: expiryDate})

Ensure your dependencies are secure

  • Use snyk to check for vulnerabilities in your app

Performance and reliability

  • Use gzip compression
  • Don't use synchronous functions like console.log
  • Handle exceptions properly
    • Node app crashes from uncaught exception
    • use try-catch and promises
    • next() function propagates errors through the middleware chain
  • Set node env to production
  • Ensure app auto restarts on failure, if all exceptions properly handled the app should not crash however as a fail safe this should be added.