Use Native Node Modules

Install with NPM

For LTS Releases

Use Same Version and Architecture of Node.js and NW.js

Following instructions only works if you are using the same version and architecture of Node.js and NW.js.

If you are using LTS release, native modules installed by npm can be supported after hacking as below:

For non-LTS Releases

If you are using non-LTS release, nw-gyp is required to be pre-installed globally to build modules due to ABI differences in V8. These instructions below works for LTS releases as well.

To install native modules for NW.js, run following commands in your terminal:

# Install nw-gyp globally
npm install -g nw-gyp
# Setup target NW.js version
export npm_config_target=0.18.5
# Setup build architecture, ia32 or x64
export npm_config_arch=x64
export npm_config_target_arch=x64
# Setup env for modules built with node-pre-gyp
export npm_config_runtime=node-webkit
export npm_config_build_from_source=true
# Setup nw-gyp as node-gyp
export npm_config_node_gyp=$(which nw-gyp)
# Run npm install
npm install

Note for Windows

You will need to have a compiler installed. You can get one by installing the Visual C++ Build Tools. You will also need Python 2.7 (version 3.x is not supported).
The npm_config_node_gyp environment variable has to be set to path\to\global\node_modules\nw-gyp\bin\nw-gyp.js instead of the nw-gyp.cmd batch script. This is a bug of npm.

You must use set instead of export to set environment variables in Windows. Here is a full example (Windows 10, Visual C++ Build Tool v2015):

set PYTHON=C:\Python27\python.exe
set npm_config_target=0.21.6
set npm_config_arch=x64
set npm_config_runtime=node-webkit
set npm_config_build_from_source=true
set npm_config_node_gyp=C:\Users\xxxxxxxxx\AppData\Roaming\npm\node_modules\nw-gyp\bin\nw-gyp.js
npm install --msvs_version=2015

Manually Rebuild

Full NPM Install is Recommended

After a version switch of NW.js, the recommended approach is to delete node_modules folder and do a full npm install as the instructions above.

Once you switch to a new version of NW.js, you can rebuild each of the native modules with the tools below without reinstall all the modules. Since binding.gyp is required for building native modules, you can easily locate all native modules by finding binding.gyp file.

Rebuild ALL Native Modules

Make sure you rebuilt all native modules. Or you will meet various issues, even crashes. Once manually rebuild don’t work for you, try to do a full npm install.


nw-gyp is a hack on node-gyp to support NW.js specific headers and libraries.

The usage is the same with node-gyp, except that you need to specify the version and arch (x64 or ia32) of NW.js manually.

npm install -g nw-gyp
cd myaddon
nw-gyp rebuild --target=0.13.0 --arch=x64

See for more details.


Some packages uses node-pre-gyp, which supports building for both Node.js and NW.js by using either node-gyp or nw-gyp.

The usage of node-pre-gyp is as following:

npm install -g node-pre-gyp
cd myaddon
node-pre-gyp build --runtime=node-webkit --target=0.13.0 --target_arch=x64

See for more details.