Title says it all.

I understand that entity_load provides a performant and efficient means to load multiple nodes whilst reducing database queries, so I presume in that instance I should be using entity_load(). But when I just want one node, which should I use? And will node_load() be deprecated in d8 in favour of the more generic entity_load() api?

I guess the same question goes for the familiar user_load() too.


3 Answers 3


node_load is just a fancy wrapper for entity_load.

That is node_load calls node_load_multiple which is a wrapper for entity_load. This means that performance wise there isn't really much of a difference, which function you use, unless you have to load a lot of nodes.

node_load has many advantages over entity_load

  • It's simpler
  • It increases code readability
  • it returns the node object instead of an array with the node object(s)

So in all, node_load is a convenience that you always should use whenever possible, then resort to node_load_multiple for cases where you need to load many more nodes.

entity_load should be used for loading entities when you don't know the type, or have it stored in a variable, in which case you can do

entity_load($type, ...);
  • 1
    after all node_load() is what we are used to.
    – Sivaji
    Commented Jun 24, 2011 at 16:44

Use node_load() when you have a single node to load and node_load_multiple() when you have more of them. Use entity_load() directly when you don't know the entity type in advance, for example entity_load($type, array($id)).

Note that entity_load() is inconsistently named, it should actually be entity_load_multiple(), as it allows to load multiple results and returns an array of results.


node_load() is the function that existed before the entity API was introduced in Drupal 7. The difference with entity_load() is that it accepts parameters that are specific for the loading a node object, such as $vid. The function calls node_load_multiple(); it is helpful for compatibility reason, and because it requires less parameters.

$node = node_load($nid);
$nodes = entity_load('node', array($nid));

In Drupal 8, node_load(), node_load_multiple() and entity_load() are deprecated. This they are removed when Drupal 9 will have its stable release).
Furthermore, in Drupal 8 calls to those functions need to be changed, since in Drupal 8:

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