NodeJS Express Middleware

In this tutorial, we'll explore the powerful concept of middleware in Express.js. Middleware functions allow you to enhance and customize the behavior of your web application by executing code before or after the request is processed. So, let's dive in and learn how to leverage Express middleware to take your web application to the next level!

Setting Up the Project

Before we dive into Express middleware, let's set up a new Node.js project. Follow these steps to get started:

Step 1:

Create a new directory for your project and navigate to it in your terminal.

Step 2:

Initialize a new Node.js project by running the following command:

This will generate a package.json file for your project.

Step 3:

Install the necessary modules by running the following command:

Now that we have our project set up, let's start working with Express middleware.

Working with Express Middleware

Express middleware functions are functions that have access to the request (req) and response (res) objects, as well as the next function in the application's request-response cycle. Middleware functions can perform tasks such as modifying request and response objects, handling errors, and more.

Step 1:

Create a new JavaScript file, e.g., server.js, and require the necessary modules at the top of the file:

Step 2:

Define a simple middleware function:

In this example, we've defined a custom middleware function named myMiddleware. The function takes three parameters: req (the request object), res (the response object), and next (a callback function to pass control to the next middleware or route handler). Inside the middleware function, we can perform any necessary operations before passing control to the next function.

Step 3:

Use the middleware in your Express application:

By using the app.use() method, we instruct Express to use the middleware function defined above for every incoming request. This middleware function will be executed for all routes and HTTP methods.

Step 4:

Start the server and listen for incoming requests:

That's it! You now have a server that uses custom middleware to enhance your web application. Run the command node server.js in your terminal, and your server will be up and running.

Creating Custom Middleware Functions

Now that you understand the basics of Express middleware, let's explore some common use cases and create custom middleware functions to handle them.

1. Logging Middleware

In this example, we've created a middleware function called loggerMiddleware that logs the HTTP method and URL of each incoming request.

2. Authentication Middleware

In this example, we've created a middleware function called authenticateMiddleware that performs authentication logic. If the user is authenticated, the middleware calls the next() function to pass control to the next middleware or route handler. Otherwise, it sends a 401 Unauthorized response.

3. Error Handling Middleware

In this example, we've created an error handling middleware function that logs the error to the console and sends a generic 500 Internal Server Error response.

Congratulations! You've successfully learned how to work with Express middleware in Node.js. You now have the knowledge to create custom middleware functions and enhance your web application's functionality.

Remember to place middleware functions in the correct order within your application's middleware stack. The order in which middleware functions are defined matters, as they will be executed in the same order.

Feel free to explore and experiment with more advanced concepts, such as conditional middleware, route-specific middleware, and third-party middleware packages, to further enhance your Express application.


There are three types of middleware in Express.js: application-level middleware, router-level middleware, and error-handling middleware. Application-level middleware is executed for every incoming request, while router-level middleware is specific to certain routes. Error-handling middleware deals with errors during request processing.

Yes, you can conditionally apply middleware to specific routes by specifying the middleware before the route handler. For example, you can apply authentication middleware only to routes that require authentication.

Yes, middleware can modify the request and response objects. You can add properties or methods to them, modify their content, or attach data that other middleware or route handlers can access.