Superagent vs. Axios: Which Is Better for Your Project?

June 4, 2024 ยท 9 min read

Axios and Superagent are popular HTTP clients with similar underlying protocols. Are you wondering which is better for your next web scraping project?

In this article, you'll find a detailed comparison of Axios vs. Superagent across different verticals. You'll be able to carefully consider all the pros and cons and choose the best fit based on your priorities.

Let's go!

Should You Choose Axios or Superagent?

Axios and Superagent are Node.js HTTP clients for requesting APIs during web development or extracting website content while web scraping.

They both work the same way. However, they have different approaches for handling functionalities such as retries, callbacks, caching, and file streaming.

The choice between Axios and Superagent depends on project requirements. Go with Superagent for its flexible callback design and built-in support for plugins like URL prefixing and request retries. Also, Superagent's ability to stream large files makes it more suited to server-side tasks.

Consider Axios if you want broader browser support with efficient promise handling, request cancellation, and default configuration customization. This HTTP client is very beginner-friendly and offers exhaustive documentation.

Check out a quick comparison of both clients in the table below:

Criteria Axios Superagent
Ease of use More beginner-friendly with clean promise-based syntax. The callback-based syntax makes it less beginner-friendly.
Features It has more modern features and supports middleware for advanced use cases. It offers more advanced features with a built-in plugin system.
Popularity More popular Less popular
Browser support Wider browser compatibility Worse browser support
Size Typically larger Smaller installation file size
Performance Fast Slower

Now, let's compare both tools in detail.

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Superagent vs. Axios: Feature Comparison

You've seen a brief comparison between Axios and Superagent. It's time to learn more about how they differ.

Axios Has a Simpler Syntax (But Superagent's Is More Flexible)

Axios and Superagent both use JavaScript syntax. However, Axios is promise-based, offers cleaner API implementation, and uses modern JavaScript syntax, which makes it relatively easy for beginners.

Superagent can be difficult for beginners, as its syntax follows the traditional callback style and requires extra configuration for tasks such as JSON parsing. Despite this limitation, it offers low-level control over HTTP requests.

Axios Has More Features, But Both Are Feature-Rich

Axios and Superagent have many features in common. However, each has its strengths and weaknesses.

Superagent has built-in plugins for advanced features like cache control, request retries with callbacks, and large file streaming. Axios lets you customize default request configurations and offers a simple way to cancel requests conditionally.

Although Axios doesn't have built-in functionalities for file streaming and retries, you can get these features with third-party middleware. With that said, you should review each library's features for your specific use case.

Axios Is More Popular

Both libraries are popular and enjoy active communities. However, Axios has more users, with an average of 45.1 million weekly downloads. This number is significantly higher than Superagent's 8.1 million weekly average downloads.

However, it's important to remember that Axios has gained popularity thanks to its simplicity and availability of resources to solve problems quickly, making it more accessible to developers of all levels. Superagent's user base is slimmer because of its advanced fine-grained features, which are more preferred by experienced developers.

Superagent Is Leaner

Both libraries are lightweight, but Superagent is lighter, with a size of 513KB when unzipped. Axios' unzipped file takes up an extra 1.84MB of disk space.

Still, Axios' file size doesn't significantly impact its performance. While the download size may affect the library's load time when you run it for the first time, it doesn't directly influence the time used to execute subsequent requests.

Let's confirm by comparing their execution speed.

Axios Is Faster

A 100-iteration benchmark comparing the speed of Axios and Superagent on a Get request revealed that Axios is faster despite having a larger file size.

Axios opened the target website in an average of 283.36 milliseconds. It took Superagent an average of 1279.61 milliseconds to request the same website.

Axios' simplified API and its focus on functionality over complexity contribute to its more efficient performance.

See a graphical representation of the benchmark below:

Axios vs Superagent Benchmark
Click to open the image in full screen

Both Axios and Superagent Have Good Browser Support

Axios and Superagent support various browser types, including Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, Edge, and Internet Explorer. It means they're executable in a Node.js environment and within the browser context.

That being said, Axios gets more frequent updates. It stays up to date with the latest browser releases, making it a top choice for building modern applications.

How to Avoid Getting Blocked When Using Axios and Superagent for Scraping?

Anti-bot measures are the most dreaded threats to web scraping. If you want to scrape your target data without getting blocked, you'll have to find a way to avoid them.

Superagent and Axios have solutions to avoid blocks. For example, you can mimic a different user by setting up a proxy in Superagent. You can also configure proxies for Axios to achieve the same purpose.

However, the best solution is a web scraping API like ZenRows. All it takes is one API call, and it auto-rotates premium proxies, optimizes your request headers, and provides anti-CAPTCHAs and other advanced features to bypass any anti-bot system at scale. It also integrates easily with Axios and Superagent.

Conclusion

In this article, you've learned the differences between Axios and Superagent.

For many developers, Axios is the better option due to its simplicity, speed, and more active community. Additionally, the regularly updated browser support makes it a safe choice for building modern applications.

Superagent offers low-level API for fine-grained control over HTTP requests, but it's less beginner-friendly and efficient.

Remember that many websites use anti-bot systems to detect and block scrapers regardless of the HTTP client you go for. The recommended solution to scrape without getting blocked is to integrate ZenRows with your web scraper. Try ZenRows for free!

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