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Best backend for social network

  • 10-11 min read
  • September 21, 2021
  • 👍 Rating — 4.8 (30 votes)

Social media are an inalienable part of our everyday life. People use social networks for different needs and in different industries.

Social media
The number of active users is always increasing and is going to reach more than 3 billion by 2021.

Building new social networks is a long-lasting and complex process. So before starting it, you need to learn everything about their development – needs and requirements, a suitable stack of technologies, ways of promoting, etc. Your social media should provide an excellent user experience and modern features. For more info about creating social media, the peculiarities and features needed, read our blog.

Crucial features for social network

Not all applications refer to social media. This type of solution implies a set of certain features that we described below. We would like to emphasize critical features for building a social network from scratch. They define that your solution is social media. 

Profile creation

To become an active user of social media, you need to create a personal account. You can add your real name and nickname, profile photo, short biography, hobbies, interests, and other information. Creating a profile can be customized to every user. It helps to express yourself and your thoughts. There are several ways of customizing your profile. They are the following:

  • Photo filters – your photo can be changed with the usage of different effects and filters, adding text, light, shadows, and many other options.
  • Background – it is a perfect way of customizing your profile is adding a background photo, it can be your personal photo or just a picture of your dreams.
  • Description – usually every user has the ability to write a short bio that is shown on their profile to all other users. you can point your interests, favorite movies or music style, hobbies, preferences, etc; it is not only about text, but some social networks also give the ability to add pictures, animated elements, links to other websites or blogs, etc.

If we are talking about the development of a social network, there is a need for a database to hold all this information about every user. There are open-source APIs that can be used for this process.

Feed News

Feed News is a key requirement for every social media. It shows the latest news and updates in the communities, friends` pages like-new status, work, university, photo, and many other things. Also, users can share any post form feed to their personal accounts, leave comments, and hold discussions with others. Photo, videos, links can be shared from the news feed. The whole content is managed by website administrators and can be deleted in case of forbidden information.

Connections

Social media gives the opportunity to communicate and meet people from all over the world. It is easier to find people by your interests in communities, events, comments under posts, etc. So making connections with other users is an important feature for social networking. Mostly it is called friending. Also, you can get a recommendation about particular users whose interests are common to yours.

Multi-language support

To make your social media worldwide and available in different countries, your network should support several popular foreign languages, at least. Don’t think that English is a universal and suitable language for all users. According to statistics, 48% of Facebook users don’t choose English. Supporting different languages would attract more users.

Chat

Most users of social networks tend to communicate by direct messaging, not just in comments and communities. The conversation can last for a long time and can be emotional with the use of emojis, photos, videos, links, etc. There are a lot of third-party services that can be used to develop real-time chat functionality, so you don’t necessarily have to build a messenger from scratch.

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Make your solution individual!

Need help with defining the main feature set of your social network?

Backend technology stack

There are several main backend technologies used for the development of web solutions. They have their strong and weak sides. Thanks to the variety, everyone who wants to build a web solution can find something appropriate that will fit their budget and time frames. We have selected the main backend technologies used for building social network solutions. So here is a shortlist that we’ve got:


MEAN stack
MEAN stack is considered to be a modern approach to software development. MEAN stands for MongoDB (a NoSQL database), Express.js (a backend framework), Angular (a front-end framework), Node.js (a backend platform). This stack of technologies allows creating a website using only one programming language – JavaScript. Talking about the strong sides of this stack, we should emphasize that using MEAN makes the development process faster and not so expensive as you don’t need many developers to hire. However, the Mongo database is suitable only for small web developments with no possibility of large scalability. For example, Youtube, Reddit, and Netflix were built using this stack of backend technologies. MEAN uses the Angular framework to enhance and accelerate frontend development.
LAMP Stack
LAMP  stack is the number one opponent of the MEAN stack. LAMP stands for Linux (an operating system), Apache (a webserver), MySQL (a database), PHP (a scripting language). Talking about the advantages of this stack, we should consider a secure infrastructure for web development. Also, it makes the process of development quicker and the majority of CMSs support backend techs like PHP and MySQL. However, the LAMP stack is not as efficient as the MEAN stack, so it starts losing its popularity of using. Among popular websites are WordPress, Facebook, Tumblr.
MERN Stack
The MERN stack of technologies has not many differences from the MEAN stack. MERN stands for MongoDB as a database, Express.js as a backend framework, React as a library for frontend, and Node.js. MERN is better for faster development since React allows developers to write the code faster. MERN is considered to be LAMP’s main alternative but more similar to the MEAN stack. Among MERN based web developments are eBay, PayPal, GitHub, and others.
RoR Stack
RoR stack of technologies consists of two main technologies – Ruby and its framework Ruby on Rails. Also, the RoR stack can include JS frameworks like React, CSS, Redux, PostgreSQL/MongoDB as a database, Redis as a DBMS (a database management system). 

 

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RoR or MEAN stack?

Want to know which stack of technologies your solution needs?

Most common languages for backend

We prepared the list of technologies that create backend stacks. Every programming language has its peculiarities and advantages. Each of them fits particular types of web developments. Read this list to know which of them would suit the development of social media.

PHP

PHP programming language is used for the development of more than 78% of all websites known on market. This programming language is dynamically typed. One component can perform differently depending on the context. So this process PHP software is lower in speed and complex to scale. It perfectly fits for developers who don’t have enough experience. It simplifies the appearance of the error. There is a vast amount of information about this language is open-source so you can always find a piece of advice. Here is a shortlist of the main function of PHP and where they can be performed:

  • Creating dynamic content on pages
  • Sending and receiving Cookies
  • Server-side rendering
  • Development of a desktop application

Among the most popular companies that use PHP to develop their software are Facebook, Viber, Lyft. 

Benefits of PHP
Some developers who are often involved in existing projects are not happy with PHP. This is a wrong judgment and we proved it in our article. Check it out!

Java

Java is considered to be the most popular programming language for the past years. It is suitable almost for any type of software development. Java Virtual Machine makes this language universal. It converts code that can be performed on any type of device.

So what type of development can be written in Java? We prepared a list of possible Java solutions:

Java was used for the development of popular applications that are used every day or often. Among them are Uber, LinkedIn, FitBit, eBay, etc. As you could notice, Java is used for the development of social media, so your choice of backend technology depends only on the requirements of your future solution.

Backend technologies

Ruby 

Ruby on Rails is a framework of Ruby programming language. It has a wide range of readymade instruments that give the ability to perform basic tasks. Ruby is a kind of laconic and doesn’t need vast code for the backend. This option helps to build and launch prototypes.

Ruby is a programming language with open source code that can be changed.

Among key features of Ruby are:

  • Automation of recurring tasks
  • Development of web application
  • Building mobile applications
  • Creating prototypes

It is worth mentioning the most popular companies that use the Ruby programming language. They are Airbnb, AngelList, TaskRabbit.

Python

Recently Python has become a very popular programming language. It is mostly used for web development and the building of desktop applications. This language is simple and Python apps are usually quite affordable. It has a syntax that is easy to comprehend and use. Python is a dynamically typed programming language with open-source code. Let’s define the crucial feature of Python. They are the following:

  • Fast automatization
  • Web development
  • Data Science 
  • Machine learning

There are many famous websites built on Python programming languages like Pinterest, Quora, Netflix, Spotify, and others.

JavaScript

JavaScript is a flexible programming language that can be used for both – frontend and backend. It has a wide range of different frameworks for the development of any type of solution. However, it is harder to scale, support, and has a low speed. JavaScript has many positive sides and options, among them are the main:

  • Frontend and backend websites
  • Mobile applications
  • Desktop applications
  • Web servers

What to choose for your social media?

The choice always depends on the project goals, budget, and deadlines, as each technology can win or lose in some aspects to its competitors. For example, for a project with a low budget with no strict deadlines, you might want to choose to hire a full-stack freelance developer, but you have to be ready that the release date can be significantly postponed. If you want your web app to be developed quickly and, in doing so, don’t mind sacrificing performance speed, RoR may be the right choice for the project. If you want to get a good value for money while meeting deadlines and keep your web solution scalable and fast, you would probably want to stick to PHP. To embed a real-time web application, you will probably have to add some Node.js code to the back-end of your site.

Conclusion

We cannot emphasize one or two best backend technologies for your social media development. As it all depends on the requirements for your solution. What features it will have, what aims it will have to reach, what audience and specifications it will have – all these components define the suitable stack of technologies. So all you need to do is to get a professional consultation and hire a team of specialists who have rich experience and build a successful product.

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It is time to start!

Want to get professional consultation regarding your social network development?

Back end means all the processing of the data the app has. This means, in social apps, the sending of messages, login verification, news, feeds, updates, storing all the data, and more.
Backend languages handle the ‘behind-the-scenes’ functionality of web applications and deliver the final product to the end-user along with the frontend.
The choice always depends on the project goals, budget, and deadlines, as each technology can win or lose in some aspects to its competitors.

Creator

Due to my Master`s Degree in journalism, I focus on the details while doing the research on the topic. My particular curiosity is about the latest mobile app developments that start in 2015 that make life easier and save much time to spend it more productive. I am an expert in reviewing and consulting web projects related to web applications, especially if they are connected with wearables.
Leave a comment

One comment

Cameron Wilson
Mar 02, 2021 at 6:05 PM

It’s really great that there are articles like this. Thank you, Anastasiia, for giving a summary definition for the technology stacks.

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