Have you heard Web Developers talking about the MERN stack, but you’re not quite sure what it is? In short, MERN is a technology stack that’s widely used in web development. But what are the components of the MERN stack? Why is MERN so well-liked? Here’s a guide to this popular full-stack tech solution to help you better understand MERN and all that it has to offer.

What Is a Web Development Stack?

A web development stack refers to the combination of tools and technologies used to create a website or web application. Also known as a solutions stack, web development stacks include all the programming languages, frameworks, libraries, servers, software, etc. that Web Developers use to complete a project. While Web Developers are free to create stacks based on their own needs, some tech stacks work so well together that they’ve become standards in the web development industry—like the MERN stack. Web development stacks are typically used repeatedly by the same team; this allows them to work more efficiently, eliminate excessive errors, and speed up the development process.

What’s in the MERN Stack?

The MERN stack is one of the most popular stacks currently used in web development. It’s composed of MongoDB, Express.js, React, and Node.js. Let’s take a look at each of its components and what they do.


MongoDB is a document-oriented NoSQL database program that’s prized for being flexible, scalable, and easy to use. When you use structured query language (SQL) databases, declaration and confirmation of a table schema are required every time you try to insert information. As a document database, MongoDB stores different documents in one collection instead of using the typical tables and rows you find in standard relational databases. This allows multiple objects to be stored in a unified way with different sets of fields, a feature that is especially advantageous when handling complex or real-time data.

That’s just one reason for the popularity of MongoDB; there are many others, including the ability to meet the most complex requirements at any scale, a capacity for high-volume data storage, and drivers available in dozens of languages. Web developers also choose to work with MongoDB because its ad hoc queries, indexing, and real-time aggregation provide powerful ways for users to access and analyze data. Thanks to these many compelling qualities, MongoDB has become the number one NoSQL database globally, with more than 28% of professional developers reporting regular usage in 2021.


Express.js is a back end framework that works inside Node.js to help design and build single-page, multiple-page, and hybrid web applications. The most popular back end framework among professional programmers, Express.js has become a popular choice because its powerful application programming interface (API) makes routing easy; the framework also helps organize web applications on the server side into the more manageable model-view-controller (MVC) architecture while remaining fast and lightweight. And since Express.js only requires the use of JavaScript, it’s possible to build web applications and API with very little effort.


React is a front end JavaScript library that’s used to build user interface (UI) components on single-page applications. The library was originally created by a software engineer at Facebook to streamline the company’s app, improve its performance, and simplify code maintenance; it was released to the public under an open-source license in 2013 and has steadily gained in popularity ever since. In fact, React is now the most popular JavaScript library in use today with more than 40% of Web Developers surveyed by Stack Overflow reporting extensive use in the past year. Developers prefer React over other frameworks because its modular format allows them to make changes to single components without having to update the entire page, which speeds up development time and simplifies maintenance.


Node.js is an open-source JavaScript runtime environment (RTE) built on Chrome’s V8 engine for use in back end development. It enables the execution of JavaScript code outside the confines of a web browser and makes it possible for developers to easily create fast, scalable server-side web applications.

Node.js is often mistakenly referred to as a framework. Though the confusion is understandable, a framework and a runtime environment are two separate things. A framework is a set of tools that provides a standardized way of building applications; it acts as scaffolding for an application, offering a uniform structure with solutions to some of the most common development problems already embedded within its architecture. A runtime environment, on the other hand, is a platform where commands are executed. In this case, the Node.js RTE allows JavaScript to run on the server side, instead of limiting it to client-side development where it was originally designed to function.

It’s also helpful to note that Node.js is not a programming language, either; that’s another common misconception. Node.js is built to support a specific programming language—JavaScript—and its purpose is to make it possible to code on the back end using JavaScript, but Node.js itself is not a programming language. It simply provides the environment where JavaScript can run.

Why Is the MERN Stack So Popular?

There are various stacks that are similar in composition to the MERN stack, including the MEAN and MEVN stacks. While these other stacks have been around longer, the MERN stack has surged in popularity for several reasons.

1. The MERN Stack Includes the Most Popular Library in the World

One reason for the popularity of the MERN stack is that it contains React, the most popular library in the world. React has become an essential tool for Web Developers because it greatly simplifies the creation and management of an application’s user interface (UI) while improving overall site performance. 

2. The MERN Stack Is Easy to Learn and Use

Another reason for the popularity of the MERN stack is that it’s easy for Web Developers to learn and use. MERN is a full-stack solution that relies on just one primary language: JavaScript, the most widely-used programming language in the world. Because developers can program an entire application from front to back using JavaScript alone, it makes the MERN stack much easier to learn and use compared to stacks that require knowledge of Python, Ruby, or PHP.

3. Several Prominent Companies Rely on the MERN Stack

MERN stack’s popularity has also increased because high-profile companies have started using the technology to create their own websites and applications. For example, the MERN stack is currently being used by companies such as Netflix, UberEats, Airbnb, Instagram, and Walmart. When large, well-known companies use a specific technology solution, its reputation is bolstered in the eyes of Web Developers; they now have several real-life case studies proving that the MERN stack is functional, versatile, and dependable. 

4. The MERN Stack Is Well-Supported

The popularity of the MERN stack can also be attributed in large part to the support of Facebook, the creator of React, and an enthusiastic community of users. Though React was initially created as an in-house tool to streamline Facebook’s UI and make the app easier to manage, they made the library available as an open-source project just a couple of years after its creation. 

Once React was released to the public, it had an immediate audience due to Facebook’s status as the largest social media platform in the world. Web Developers soon learned that React was easier to understand and implement compared to alternatives and they began using it more consistently. There is now a thriving community that continues to provide valuable support through sites like Stack Overflow and Github, helping each other to resolve any React-related problems.

5. The MERN Stack is an Efficient, Cost-Effective Solution

One of the biggest reasons for the success of the MERN stack is because it works. The MERN stack is highly customizable and developer-friendly, making it easy for programmers to create a website or application from back to front quickly and efficiently. And since the entire stack consists of open-source solutions, it’s cost-effective, too!

How You Can Learn the MERN Stack

The best way to learn the MERN stack is to take web development classes that cover its four main components: MongoDB, Express.js, React, and Node.js. Depending upon your location, you might be able to find web development classes in your area that offer instruction on the MERN stack. If none of these classes are available near you or if you prefer learning at home, then you should try taking web development classes live online. These offer you the same high-quality instruction and immediate feedback you’d receive from in-person classes without the hassle of commuting to a physical location.

You can also learn the MERN stack as part of a broader curriculum through web development bootcamps. Bootcamps are especially helpful if you want to pursue a career in web development; with their abbreviated schedules and skills-focused curriculum, you’ll be ready to start your new career in just a few months. You can even find web development bootcamps available live online, so it’s easy to fit classes into your busy schedule. For a complete listing of web development courses available in your area, use the convenient Classes Near Me tool provided by Noble Desktop.