Best Free Node.js Tutorials & Resources For Beginners

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The hottest new technology for web developers is Node.js. Node powers a number of tools including the NPM package manager.

But Node is also a powerful JS-based framework that can be used on the backend of a web server. This allows developers to move away from languages like PHP and focus solely on JavaScript.

So how do you learn Node and start using it for real projects? In this post, I’ll share the best Node.js tutorials and learning resources you can use to pick up Node quickly. If you’re completely new to full-stack JS you might consider skimming this post first.

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Free Node.js Tutorials

Getting started typically involves a basic setup and configuration of Node on your local computer. From here you can test out different features and write scripts that perform whatever actions you want.

I recommend the guide Node: Up And Running by O’Reilly. This does have a book you can purchase but the team put this guide online for free to help new Node developers pick up the basics.

That is ultimately the best place to start if you’re completely new to Node development. It holds your hand step-by-step and guides you to completion with real-world applications.

An alternative guide is Felix’s Node.js tutorial which comes in multiple chapters.

The site doesn’t have any CSS styling so it’s very basic. This might be off-putting to people who want to learn on a well-designed layout. But if you can get past the generic look of the site you’ll find a great beginner’s guide for newbies breaking into Node.

I also recommend all content tagged under Node.js. Their tutorials are beyond incredible and they’re written by skilled developers. I can’t say enough good things about and I think it’s the perfect site to bookmark as a future learning resource.

scotch tutorials for node.js

Their tutorials are mostly geared towards intermediate-to-advanced developers. This means beginners may be pushed away from even attempting these Scotch tutorials for a while. That’s understandable. But at least save the website so you know how to find it again.

Envato’s Tuts+ also has a brilliant intro post for newcomers. Their Node.js walkthrough isn’t as detailed but I find it’s clearer to read and understand the content.

Tuts+ also has a Node.js category where you can browse all their Node tutorials, guides, and how-to articles.

node.js tutorials

By following all of these tuts you’re sure to pick up most of the basics. And if you’re looking for more written tutorials then check out these posts:

Free Video Tutorials

If you’re more of a visual learner then video tuts might be the way to go. YouTube is full of this stuff with so much great content published for free by developers.

I found an incredible Node.js playlist created by The New Boston. It’s huge and contains over 20 video tutorials explaining individual aspects of Node.js.

new boston node.js playlist

It can be tough to follow along if you only have one monitor. But you can always pause the video while working and move through the lessons one at a time.

I also really like this Node intro by Ryan Dahl. It covers Node in detail and makes it super easy to understand exactly how it works from the ground up.

If you’re looking to get more in-depth then check out this 6-part tutorial covering Node.js and MongoDB. You’ll learn how to connect Node apps to a database and how to manage your code properly with MVC.

The best part about video is that you can watch every single step executed by the presenter. This is much easier to follow and it makes the tutorial process a breeze.

As for online video streaming consider NodeCasts if you have the time. Updates are sporadic but the content is very good.

Node.js Intro Books

There are a decent number of Node books so I don’t want to recommend too many. But I know some people would prefer to learn via the old-fashioned way, so these resources may come in handy.

Beginning Node.js is a great book that’s well worth the money for beginners. It does come on Kindle so it’s possible to go the non-paper route too.

Another quality option for beginners is Node.js The Right Way. This book has 148 pages of lessons and tips for writing scalable Node.js code.

I think this book may be better suited for beginners who already have a commanding knowledge of JavaScript. Topics pick up quickly and the difficulty level ramps up quickly over each chapter.

One other final option I’d recommend is Node.js in Practice. This is somewhat like the “cookbook” guides which show you code snippets, however, this book teaches real-world applications for Node.js development.

Thankfully Node in Practice starts right at the beginning so it’s perfect for newcomers. Once you get past the basics you’re given code snippets and recipes for common problems like database management and debugging.

Communities & Resources

The first Node-related site I have to recommend is JSApp. It’s a free Node.js testing ground where you can run web applications in your browser via cloud servers.

nodejs jsapp webapp

This way you don’t even need to install Node locally to build stuff. It works very much like CodePen where you can throw together rough concepts on a dime.

You’ll find lots of curated tutorials on the Planet Nodejs website. It’s updated almost every day with new content from the Node community. It’s almost like a link repository archive solely for Node developers.

planet node node.js links

In the world of related content, there’s the NodeUp podcast and a Node Weekly newsletter. Both are great for Node fans who want to keep up with the latest news.

And for support, I highly recommend the /r/Node subreddit. It has over 20k subscribers and the community is very active.

You can ask for help or support others. Plus news ends up here so you’ll always be on top of the latest news & tools for Node development.

This post should have more than enough for a brand new developer to get started on Node. If you already have some comfort with JavaScript then you’re well on your way to success.

Just remember that persistence is crucial. Keep building new projects and use these tutorials as a guide. When you’re stuck look up questions online or ask other Node developers. In time you’ll be writing scalable Node apps with no trouble at all.

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