Latest Node.js releases, versions, changes [Node 21 Updated]

Latest Node.js releases, versions, changes [Node 21 Updated] post image cover

Author ✍️

Kamil Wilim

Kamil Wilim


Versatile Node.js developer with a knack for turning ideas into robust enterprise solutions. Proficient in the entire development lifecycle, I bring expertise in crafting scalable and efficient applications.

Created: 2023/10/23

Updated: 2023/11/09

When it comes to Node.js, staying up-to-date with the latest versions is crucial for optimizing your web applications. Node.js is a runtime environment that executes JavaScript code on the server side, making it an essential component for building scalable and high-performance applications.

Why Node.js Versions Matter


Node.js is an open-source platform, and its developers actively maintain and update it. These updates include bug fixes, security patches, and performance improvements, making it vital to use the most recent version. Here's why Node.js versions matter:

  1. Performance: Newer versions often come with optimizations and performance enhancements. Using an outdated version may result in slower execution and reduced efficiency.

  2. Security: Security vulnerabilities are continually being discovered and patched. Staying current with Node.js versions helps protect your application and data from potential threats.

  3. Compatibility: As the JavaScript language evolves, so does Node.js. Newer versions support the latest ECMAScript features, ensuring compatibility with modern code and packages.

  4. Ecosystem: The Node.js ecosystem includes thousands of packages and libraries. These packages may depend on specific Node.js versions, and using an outdated version could lead to compatibility issues.

Node.js Versioning Scheme


Node.js follows a straightforward versioning scheme, which is helpful for understanding its releases:

  • Major Version (X): The first number indicates a significant release. It may introduce breaking changes and new features.

  • Minor Version (Y): The second number represents minor releases. These typically include new features and enhancements without breaking changes.

  • Patch Version (Z): The third number signifies patch releases. These address bug fixes and security updates.


Here are some best practices for navigating Node.js versions:

  • Use LTS Versions: Long-Term Support (LTS) versions are the most stable and recommended for production use. They receive extended support, including security updates. Check the official Node.js website for information on the current LTS version.

  • Stay Up-to-Date: Regularly check for new releases and update your Node.js version accordingly. You can use tools like nvm (Node Version Manager) to manage multiple Node.js versions on your system.

  • Test Compatibility: Before upgrading to a new Node.js version, test your application to ensure it works correctly. Some updates may introduce breaking changes, and it's essential to identify and address these issues in advance.

  • Update Dependencies: Keep your project's dependencies, including npm packages, up-to-date. Some packages may have version requirements that align with specific Node.js versions.

  • Monitor Deprecations: Node.js may deprecate certain features or APIs in older versions. Stay informed about these deprecations and adapt your codebase accordingly.

In conclusion, Node.js versions play a significant role in the performance, security, and compatibility of your applications. Keeping your Node.js environment up-to-date and following best practices ensures that your web applications run efficiently and securely while staying in sync with the ever-evolving JavaScript ecosystem.

Node.js Changelogs


Node 21


Node.js 21 is here with exciting updates, including V8 JavaScript engine version 11.8, stable fetch and WebStreams, an experimental module defaults flag, a built-in WebSocket client, enhanced test runner with glob support, and more. Node.js 21 becomes the 'Current' release for the next 6 months, replacing Node.js 20 as Node.js 20 enters LTS. Notable changes include stable fetch and WebStreams, a built-in WebSocket client, V8 11.8 with performance improvements, glob support in the test runner, an experimental module flag for changing defaults, and more. Performance enhancements have been made in URL, fetch, streams, node:fs, and HTTP. Additionally, strict mode enforcement, navigator object integration, and deprecations are part of this release. Node.js 16 is End-of-Life, so consider upgrading to Node.js 18 or Node.js 20 for continued support and compatibility with the latest features. Test your applications with Node.js 21 to ensure smooth integration.

Node 20


Node.js 20 introduces the experimental Permission Model, enabling resource access restrictions. Developers can control file system, child_process, and worker_threads access using flags. Custom ESM loader hooks run in dedicated threads, and import.meta.resolve() is synchronous. V8 11.3 enhances performance and adds new features. The stable Test Runner module is included. Node.js 20 focuses on performance improvements, including the URL, fetch(), and EventTarget. ARM64 Windows support, Web Crypto API updates, and progress on Web Assembly System Interface (WASI) are notable. Node.js 14 reaches End-of-Life in April 2023, so consider upgrading to Node.js 18 or Node.js 20 (soon to be LTS).

Node 19


Node.js 19 brings the V8 engine update to 10.7 and enables HTTP(s)/1.1 KeepAlive by default, enhancing throughput. The node --watch option allows for runtime file change detection. WebCrypto API is now stable, except for specific algorithms. Custom ESM resolution adjustments replace the --experimental-specifier-resolution flag. Support for DTrace/SystemTap/ETW has been removed due to resource prioritization. Dependencies include V8 10.7 and llhttp@8.1.0. Node.js 19 ships with npm@8.19.2. Node.js 18 is transitioning to long-term support (LTS). Node.js 14 will reach End-of-Life in April 2023. Node.js 16 (LTS) is scheduled for End-of-Life in September 2023. Test and provide feedback on Node.js 19 to ensure compatibility with the latest changes. Stay updated with the Node.js Release Schedule for release timelines.

Node 18


Node.js 18 is here, featuring an update to V8 10.1 and the introduction of new global browser-compatible APIs. The experimental global fetch API allows easier HTTP requests, and the Web Streams API is now globally available. A new test runner module supports JavaScript tests reporting in TAP format. Toolchain and compiler upgrades improve compatibility with various platforms. You can build a custom V8 startup snapshot for faster initialization with the --node-snapshot-main flag. V8 10.1 brings improvements to array methods, the Intl.Locale API, and performance enhancements. The ECMAScript modules implementation continues to progress, and the 'Next 10' effort aims to shape the future of Node.js. Node.js 12 reaches End-of-Life in April 2022, so plan your upgrade to Node.js 14 (LTS) or Node.js 16 (LTS). Test Node.js 18 to ensure compatibility with your projects. Thank you to all the Node.js collaborators and contributors for their hard work on this release.