Creating A Simple Website and Server Environment with Node.js and Express.js

Here is what I have deduced is the fastest way to get an app up and running with Node.js. This requires some familiarity with using the command line. I completed the Codeacademy course “Learn The Command Line” before beginning with Node.js. I think it helped me better understand what the commands are and what they do.

  1. Download and install Node.JS
  2. Open the node command prompt. (This was on a windows machine.)
  3. mkdir node_apps
    • creates a folder for your app(s)
  4. cd \app_name
    • changes command prompt directory to your app’s folder
  5. npm  init
    • Creates json file for your app
    • fill out applicable info or just hit enter until the file is created
  6. npm install express
    • installs express.js module in node.js
  7. npm install express-generator -g
    • installs express-generator module in node.js
    • this module creates the web app’s structure once the command in the next step is entered
  8. express app_name
    • creates the structure for your app and all necessary folders. (views, css, Javascript, routing, etc.)
  9. npm install
    • ensures all app module dependencies are installed
  10. npm start
    • starts your server and web app
  11. Go to http://localhost:3000 in a browser. Port 3000 is the default port of Express.
    • Your app is live.


  • I learned most of this from this great blog post.
  • The above does not include a database integration. I integrated with a MongoDB database by following the instructions in this post.
  • This YouTube video was also very helpful to me for figuring out MongoDB and Node.js integration.
  • An HTML shorthand language called jade (aka pug) comes stock within Express.js.  Here’s further reading on the pros and cons.
  • All of the above has been from my own studies. I do not claim anything listed as the most efficient or best way to use Node.js. This is what has worked for me over the past two days.
  • It feels good to whip up a nimble app environment that is capable of producing and supporting world changing software; Node.js is used by Netflix, PayPal, Microsoft and Uber.


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