Why Nano ID is the Preferred Choice Over UUID: An In-Depth Analysis

Why Nano ID is the Preferred Choice Over UUID: An In-Depth Analysis

Published 11th, April, 2023

4 min read

In the world of software development, unique identifiers are crucial components for a wide range of applications, from databases to web services. UUID, or Universally Unique Identifier, has been a popular and widely adopted solution to generate unique identifiers for many years. However, with the emergence of new libraries and tools, developers are constantly on the lookout for better alternatives. One such contender is Nano ID, a compact, secure, and URL-friendly unique string ID generator.

This comprehensive blog post will delve deep into the advantages of Nano ID over UUID, providing a detailed comparison of their features, use cases, and comparative benefits. By incorporating real-world examples, performance comparisons, and tables backed by credible references, we aim to provide end users with a thorough understanding of the advantages Nano ID offers. By the end of this article, you will be well-equipped to make an informed decision about whether to choose Nano ID or UUID for your next project.

Overview of Nano ID and UUID

Nano ID:

Nano ID is a compact, secure, URL-friendly, unique string ID generator for JavaScript. The following are some essential characteristics of Nano ID:

  1. Cryptographically strong random generator
  2. 64 URL-friendly characters
  3. 21-character default length
  4. Lightweight library


UUID (Universally Unique Identifier) is a 128-bit number used to uniquely identify information in computer systems. Key features of UUID include:

  1. 128-bit unique identifier
  2. Hexadecimal characters and hyphens
  3. 36-character standard format
  4. Widely adopted across languages and platforms

Comparing Nano ID and UUID

The table below compares Nano ID and UUID across various aspects, based on information provided in their respective documentation:

Key Advantages of Nano ID Over UUID


Nano ID's 21-character default length offers the same number of unique combinations as UUID's 36 characters. This compactness is beneficial when storing IDs in databases, transmitting them over networks, or displaying them in URLs.


Nano ID uses a set of 64 URL-friendly characters, while UUID consists of hexadecimal characters and hyphens. Nano ID's URL-friendly nature makes it a better choice for web applications, particularly when using identifiers in URLs or API endpoints.

Better randomness:

Nano ID relies on a cryptographically secure random generator, reducing the risk of collisions even with a smaller character set. While UUID also provides uniqueness, its generation algorithm might not be as random, making Nano ID the safer choice when uniqueness is critical.

Easier to read and remember:

Nano ID's shorter, URL-friendly format makes it easier to read and remember compared to UUIDs. This can be particularly useful in applications where users need to manually input or share the identifiers.

Library size and performance:

Nano ID's library size is significantly smaller than UUID, making it a lightweight choice for projects where minimising the footprint of libraries is essential. Additionally, Nano ID's performance is generally faster when generating IDs, providing an advantage in situations where speed matters.

Real-world Use Cases

To further illustrate the benefits of Nano ID, let's examine some real-world use cases:

URL Shorteners:

URL shorteners, such as bit.ly, rely on unique identifiers to create short URLs. Nano ID's compact and URL-friendly nature makes it an ideal choice for this type of application, ensuring a concise and easily shareable URL.

Database Identifiers:

When creating unique identifiers for database records, Nano ID's compact size can help save storage space and improve performance. Its cryptographically secure randomness also ensures a lower risk of collisions compared to UUID.

Access Tokens:

For generating secure access tokens, Nano ID's cryptographically secure random generator ensures tokens are hard to predict or replicate. Its compact size and URL-friendly format make it suitable for use in web applications where tokens are part of URLs or API endpoints.

File Names and Unique Identifiers in File Systems:

In applications that deal with file storage and management, Nano ID can be used to create unique file names or identifiers within the file system. Its compact size and readability make it easier for users to recognise and work with these identifiers.

Performance Comparison

To further demonstrate the performance advantage of Nano ID over UUID, let's examine a performance comparison table based on ID generation time, using results from a benchmark test conducted by Andrey Sitnik, the creator of Nano ID (Sitnik, 2017):

Note: These values are approximate and may vary depending on system resources and other factors.

As the table shows, Nano ID consistently outperforms UUID in terms of ID generation time, making it a better choice when performance is a priority.


In summary, the landscape of unique identifier generation has evolved, and Nano ID has emerged as a strong contender against the long-standing UUID. As this in-depth analysis demonstrates, Nano ID offers several advantages that make it an attractive alternative for developers, including its compactness, URL-friendliness, better randomness, easier readability, and lightweight library. These advantages have the potential to not only improve the overall user experience in modern web applications but also streamline development processes.

By carefully considering the differences between Nano ID and UUID, as well as evaluating the specific requirements of your project, you can make an informed decision about which unique identifier generator best suits your needs. Whether you're building a database-driven application, a URL shortener, or an API-based service, Nano ID may prove to be a valuable tool that can help you achieve your development goals more efficiently and effectively.

Remember, when it comes to selecting the right unique identifier generation tool, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons of each option and consider their impact on your project. With the information presented in this comprehensive blog post, you are now better equipped to make that decision and ultimately enhance the success of your development efforts.


  1. Nano ID. Retrieved from https://github.com/ai/nanoid
  2. Performance benchmark. Nano ID. Retrieved from https://github.com/ai/nanoid#benchmark
  3. UUID. Retrieved from https://github.com/uuidjs/uuid

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