Dotenv is a popular npm package that allows you to load environment variables from a .env file into your Node.js application. It provides a simple and convenient way to manage configuration settings without hardcoding them in your codebase. With Dotenv, you can easily define environment-specific variables like API keys, database credentials, and other sensitive information.
Compared to manually setting environment variables, Dotenv simplifies the process by automatically loading the variables from the .env file when your application starts. It also supports different data types and allows you to specify default values for variables that are not defined in the .env file.
Dotenv is actively maintained and widely used in the Node.js ecosystem. It is considered a best practice for managing environment variables in Node.js applications.