In JavaScript, null and undefined are both falsy values, but they represent different things. So what is the difference?

The intentional absence of a value

The null value represents the intentional absence of any object value.

For example, if you try to use the querySelector() method to get an element that doesn't exist, the method will return null:

const nonExistent = document.querySelector('#non-existent'); // null

In the example above, I try to get the element with the ID #non-existent, but there is no such element, so the querySelector() method returns null.

The element doesn't exist in an undefined state. It doesn't exist at all, so it's just null. The querySelector() method says "hey, there's no such thing, so I'm returning null to explicitly tell you that."

Variables with no value

The undefined value is automatically assigned to variables that have just been declared, or to formal arguments for which there are no actual arguments.

For example, if I create a variable without assigning it a value, it becomes undefined:

let myName; // undefined

In the example above, the myName variable does exist, but it doesn't have a value, so it becomes undefined.

Similarly, if a function is expecting an argument but I don't provide one, its value becomes undefined:

function sayHello (name) {
console.log(`Hello, ${name}!`);

sayHello(); // Hello, undefined!

In the example above, the name parameter does exist, but I don't pass in a value for it, so it becomes undefined instead.