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Cluster in Nodejs - setting up, benefits and difference with child_process 

Prashant Surya  |   Nov 18, 2019  |  Views: 1161


What is the cluster in Nodejs?
How to do multi-threading in Nodejs?
How multi process works in nodejs?
how to do load balancing in Nodejs?
What is cluster.fork()?
cluster vs child_process nodejs?

For the following questions, we have a small notes over it which may be helpful to get overview of cluster in nodejs.

Cluster :

  • Cluster in nodejs is a group of work processors.
  • Number of work processors in group is decided by the number of available CPU in OS.
  • - If your system processor is a quad-core processor, then you can start 4 workers
  • Each work processor is started by using cluster.fork() 
  • fork creates the exact clone of process, using the same available port to the master process.
  • same port is being shared by each worker process, due to IPC( Inter Process Communication ) technique.

Benefits of using cluster:

  • Load balancing
  • Multi process operation
  • Multi Threading (but uses same port)
  • Use of same port
  • Performance increasing up-to 3.2x

var cluster = require('cluster');
var express = require('express');
var numCPUs = require('os').cpus().length;
if (cluster.isMaster) {
    for (var i = 0; i < numCPUs; i++) {
        // Create a worker
} else {
    // Workers share the TCP connection in this server
    var app = express();
    app.get('/', function (req, res) {
        res.send('Hello World!');
    // All workers use this same port

  • Each worker process is generally a new V8 instance.
  • It may takes 30ms startup time for each and at least 10mb of memory per instance.


This is used to check whether the cluster is a master process or the child worker process.

How are requests are divided up between the worker process?

Cluster have their two types of policy for the handling of requests.
  • cluster.SCHED_RR  - Round Robin Policy ( by default, it is set in Linux and OSX )
  • cluster.SCHED_NONE ( by default, it is set in Windows )

How to change the policy manually?

cluster.schedulingPolicy is used to set the policy type you want to set.
Or NODE_CLUSTER_SCHED_POLICY is set in your environment.

Difference between cluster.fork() and child_process.fork()

cluster.fork() - It starts from the beginning (entry) of the module.
child_process.fork() - It starts where its been defined.

child_process.fork() method is a bit lower-level and required arguments like
  • location (file path) of the module as an argument, 
  • current working directory, 
  • user that owns the process, 
  • environment variables...

Content Contributor
Prashant Surya

Prashant Surya

Software developer at Uniserve Data Technologies Pvt. Ltd.  |   Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India

I am a software developer, freelancer and trainer working on technologies likes. MEAN stack, MERN Stack, ASP.NET full stack, WebRTC, ,PWA, SQL, JavaScript, jQuery, HTML, CSS, SEO, responsive UI/UX designing... having 7 years of experience in development in multiple domains like, eCommerce, RTA, capital markets, education, real estate...

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