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ğŸŽ‰ create a single executable out of your node.js apps

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Build Status Downloads Version License

npm i nexe -g

Nexe is a command-line utility that compiles your Node.js application into a single executable file.

Motivation and Features

  • Self contained applications
  • Ability to run multiple applications with different node.js runtimes.
  • Distribute binaries without needing node / npm.
  • Idempotent builds
  • Start and deploy faster.
  • Lockdown specific application versions, and easily rollback.
  • Flexible build pipeline
  • Cross platform builds


  • Application entrypoint:

nexe my-app.js
  • stdin interface

rollup -c | nexe --resource "./public/**/*" -o my-app.exe

For more CLI options see:

nexe --help


  • nexe server.js -r "public/**/*.html"
  • nexe --build
  • nexe -t x86-8.0.0


Additional files or resources can be added to the binary by passing

-r "glob/pattern/**/*"
. These included files can be read in the application by using

Compiling Node

By default

will attempt to download a pre-built executable. These are listed on the Nexe V3 releases page. The exact version you want may be unavailable or you may want to customize what is built. See
nexe --help
for a list of options available when passing the
option. You will also need to ensure your environment is setup to build node. Note: the
binary in your path should be an acceptable version of python 2. eg. Systems that have python2 will need to create a symlink.

Node.js API


const { compile } = require('nexe')

compile({ input: './my-app.js', build: true, //required to use patches patches: [ async (compiler, next) => { await compiler.setFileContentsAsync( 'lib/new-native-module.js', 'module.exports = 42' ) return next() } ] }).then(() => { console.log('success') })


options: object

  • ####
    input: string
    • Input bundle file path
    • default: stdin or the current directory's main file (package.json)
  • ####
    output: string
    • Output executable file path
    • default: same as
      with an OS specific extension.
  • target: string | object

    • An object or string describing platform-arch-version. e.g.

      • each segment is optional, and will be merged with the current environment
      • Examples: (full list)
      • 'win32-x86-10.13.0
      • { platform: 'alpine' }
      • darwin-10.13.0
      • linux-x64
      • macos-10.13.0

      See test/target.spec.ts

    • If the

      flag is set, the platform portion of the target is ignored.

    • default:

    • bundle: string | boolean

    • If a string is provided it must be a valid relative module path and should provide an export with the following signature:

      export function createBundle (options: NexeOptions): Promise
    • default: true

  • name: string

    • Module friendly name of the application
    • default: basename of the input file, or
  • cwd: string

    • Directory nexe will operate on as though it is the cwd
    • default: process.cwd()
  • mangle: boolean

    • If set to false, nexe will not include the virtual filesystem (your application and resources) on the output.
    • This will cause the output to error as an "Invalid Binary" unless a userland patch alters the contents of lib/thirdparty_main.js in the nodejs source.
    • default: true
  • build: boolean

    • Build node from source, passing this flag tells nexe to download and build from source. Subsequently using this flag will cause nexe to use the previously built binary. To rebuild, first add
  • remote: string

    • Provide a custom remote location for fetching pre-built nexe binaries from. This can either be an HTTP or HTTPS URL or a file path.
    • default:
  • python: string

    • On Linux this is the path pointing to your python2 executable
    • On Windows this is the directory where
      can be accessed
    • default:
  • flags: string[]

    • Array of node runtime flags to build node with.
    • Example:
    • default:
  • configure: string[]

    • Array of arguments for the node build configure step
    • Example:
      ['--with-dtrace', '--dest-cpu=x64']
    • default:
  • make: string[]

    • Array of arguments for the node build make step
    • default:
  • vcBuild: string[]

    • Options for windows build
    • default:
      ['nosign', 'release']
  • snapshot: string

    • path to a file to be used as the warmup snapshot for the build
    • default:
  • resources: string[]

    • Array of globs with files to include in the build
    • Example:
    • default:
  • temp: string

    • Path to use for storing nexe's build files
    • Override in the env with
    • default:
  • ico: string

    • Path to a user provided icon to be used (Windows only). Requires
      to be set.
  • rc: object

    • Settings for patching the node.rc configuration file (Windows only).
    • Example (keys may vary depending on the version. Reference the file linked above):
        CompanyName: "ACME Corp",
        PRODUCTVERSION: "17,3,0,0",
        FILEVERSION: "1,2,3,4"
    • default:
  • clean: boolean

    • If included, nexe will remove temporary files for the accompanying configuration and exit
  • enableNodeCli: boolean

    • Enable the original Node CLI (will prevent application cli from working).
    • Node CLI arguments passed via the NODE_OPTIONS environment variable will still be processed. NODE_OPTIONS support can be disabled with the
      configure flag.
    • default:
    • ####
      fakeArgv: boolean
    • fake the entry point file name (
      ). If nexe was used with stdin this will be
  • ghToken: string

    • Provide a Github Token for accessing nexe releases
    • This is usually needed in CI environments
    • default:
  • sourceUrl: string

    • Provide an alternate url for the node source code
    • Note: temporary files will still be created for this under the specified version
  • loglevel: string

    • Set the loglevel, info, silent, or verbose
    • default:
  • patches: NexePatch[]

    • Userland patches for patching or modifying node source
    • default:
  • plugins: NexePatch[]

    • Userland plugins for modifying nexe executable behavior
    • default:

NexePatch: (compiler: NexeCompiler, next: () => Promise) => Promise

Patches and Plugins are just a middleware functions that take two arguments, the

, and
. The compiler is described below, and
ensures that the pipeline continues. Its invocation should always be awaited or returned to ensure correct behavior. Patches also require that
be set, while plugins do not.

For examples, see the built in patches: src/patches.


  • setFileContentsAsync(filename: string, contents: string): Promise
    • Quickly set a file's contents within the downloaded Node.js source.
  • replaceInFileAsync(filename: string, ...replaceArgs): Promise
    • Quickly perform a replace in a file within the downloaded Node.js source. The rest arguments are passed along to
  • readFileAsync(filename: string): Promise
    • Access (or create) a file within the downloaded Node.js source.
  • addResource(filename: string, contents: Buffer): Promise
    • Add a resource to the nexe bundle
  • files: NexeFile[]
    • The cache of the currently read, modified, or created files within the downloaded Node.js source.


  • contents: string
  • absPath: string
  • filename: string

Any modifications made to

will be maintained in the cache without the need to explicitly write them back out, e.g. using

Native Modules

In order to use native modules, the native binaries must be shipped alongside the binary generated by nexe.



$ git clone [email protected]:nexe/nexe.git
$ cd nexe
$ npm i && npm run build


$ npm test

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