Command Line Interface

For proper usage and easy distribution of this configuration, webpack can be configured with webpack.config.js. Any parameters sent to the CLI will map to a corresponding parameter in the configuration file.

Read the installation guide if you don't already have webpack and CLI installed.


webpack-cli offers a variety of commands to make working with webpack easy. By default webpack ships with

Command Usage Description
build build|bundle|b [entries...] [options] Run webpack (default command, can be omitted).
configtest configtest|t [config-path] Validate a webpack configuration.
help help|h [command] [option] Display help for commands and options.
info info|i [options] Outputs information about your system.
init init|create|c|new|n [generation-path] [options] Initialize a new webpack project.
loader loader|l [output-path] [options] Scaffold a loader.
plugin plugin|p [output-path] [options] Scaffold a plugin.
serve serve|server|s [options] Run the webpack-dev-server.
version version|v [commands...] Output the version number of webpack, webpack-cli and webpack-dev-server.
watch watch|w [entries...] [options] Run webpack and watch for files changes.


Used to initialize a new webpack project.

npx webpack init [generation-path] [options]


npx webpack init ./my-app --force --template=default

Generation Path

Location of where to generate the configuration. Defaults to process.cwd().



string = 'default'

Name of template to generate.



To generate a project without questions. When enabled, default answer for each question will be used.


Outputs information about your system.

npx webpack info [options]


npx webpack info --output=json

Options for info


string : 'json' | 'markdown'

To get the output in a specified format.


Validate a webpack configuration.

npx webpack configtest [config-path]


npx webpack configtest ./webpack.config.js

Config Path

Path to your webpack configuration file. Defaults to ./webpack.config.js.


By default webpack ships with the following flags:

Flag / Alias Type Description
--entry string[] The entry point(s) of your application e.g. ./src/main.js
--config, -c string[] Provide path to a webpack configuration file e.g. ./webpack.config.js
--config-name string[] Name of the configuration to use
--name string Name of the configuration. Used when loading multiple configurations
--color boolean Enable colors on console
--merge, -m boolean Merge two or more configurations using webpack-merge
--env string[] Environment passed to the configuration when it is a function
--node-env string Set process.env.NODE_ENV to the specified value
--progress boolean, string Print compilation progress during build
--help boolean Outputs list of supported flags and commands
--output-path, -o string Output location of the file generated by webpack e.g. ./dist
--target, -t string[] Sets the build target
--watch, -w boolean Watch for file changes
--watch-options-stdin boolean Stop watching when stdin stream has ended
--hot, -h boolean Enables Hot Module Replacement
--devtool, -d string Controls if and how source maps are generated.
--prefetch string Prefetch this request
--json, -j boolean, string Prints result as JSON or store it in a file
--mode string Defines the mode to pass to webpack
--version, -v boolean Get current version
--stats boolean, string It instructs webpack on how to treat the stats
--analyze boolean It invokes webpack-bundle-analyzer plugin to get bundle information

Negated Flags

Flag Description
--no-color Disables any color on the console
--no-hot Disables hot reloading if you have it enabled via your config
--no-stats Disables any compilation stats emitted by webpack
--no-watch Do not watch for file changes
--no-devtool Do not generate source maps
--no-watch-options-stdin Do not stop watching when stdin stream has ended

Core Flags

Starting CLI v4 and webpack v5, CLI imports the entire configuration schema from webpack core to allow tuning almost every configuration option from the command line.

Here's the list of all the core flags supported by webpack v5 with CLI v4 - link

For example if you want to enable performance hints in your project you'd use this option in configuration, with core flags you can do -

npx webpack --performance-hints warning


With configuration file

npx webpack [--config webpack.config.js]

See configuration for the options in the configuration file.

Without configuration file

npx webpack --entry <entry> --output-path <output-path>


npx webpack --entry ./first.js --entry ./second.js --output-path /build


A filename or a set of named filenames which act as the entry point to build your project. You can pass multiple entries (every entry is loaded on startup). Following are the multiple ways of specifying entry file(s) via CLI -

npx webpack ./first-entry.js
npx webpack --entry ./first-entry.js
npx webpack ./first-entry.js ./other-entry.js
npx webpack --entry ./first-entry.js ./other-entry.js


A path for the bundled file to be saved in. It will be mapped to the configuration options output.path.


If your project structure is as follows -

├── dist
├── index.html
└── src
    ├── index.js
    ├── index2.js
    └── others.js
npx webpack ./src/index.js --output-path dist

This will bundle your source code with entry as index.js, and the output bundle file will have a path of dist.

asset main.js 142 bytes [compared for emit] [minimized] (name: main)
./src/index.js 30 bytes [built] [code generated]
./src/others.js 1 bytes [built] [code generated]
webpack 5.1.0 compiled successfully in 187 ms
npx webpack ./src/index.js ./src/others2.js --output-path dist/

This will form the bundle with both the files as separate entry points.

asset main.js 142 bytes [compared for emit] [minimized] (name: main)
./src/index.js 30 bytes [built] [code generated]
./src/others2.js 1 bytes [built] [code generated]
./src/others.js 1 bytes [built] [code generated]
webpack 5.1.0 compiled successfully in 198 ms

Default Configurations

CLI will look for some default configurations in the path of your project, here are the config files picked up by CLI.

This is the lookup priority in increasing order

example - config file lookup will be in order of .webpack/webpackfile > .webpack/webpack.config.js > webpack.config.js


Common Options


List basic commands and flags available on the cli

Both webpack help [command] [option] and webpack [command] --help are valid to get help:

npx webpack --help

# or

npx webpack help

List all supported commands and flags by cli

npx webpack --help=verbose

See help for a specific command or option

npx webpack help --mode


Show version of installed packages and sub-packages

To inspect the version of webpack and webpack-cli you are using just run command:

npx webpack --version

# or

npx webpack version

This will output the following result:

webpack 5.31.2
webpack-cli 4.6.0

It will output the version of webpack-dev-server as well if you have it installed:

webpack 5.31.2
webpack-cli 4.6.0
webpack-dev-server 3.11.2

To inspect the version of any webpack-cli sub-package (like @webpack-cli/info) just run command similar to the following:

npx webpack info --version

This will output the following result:

@webpack-cli/info 1.2.3
webpack 5.31.2
webpack-cli 4.6.0
webpack-dev-server 3.11.2


Build source using a configuration file

Specify a different configuration file other than webpack.config.js, which is one of the defaults.

npx webpack --config example.config.js


In case your configuration file exports multiple configurations, you can use --config-name to specify which configuration to run.

Consider the following webpack.config.js:

module.exports = [
    output: {
      filename: './dist-first.js',
    name: 'first',
    entry: './src/first.js',
    mode: 'development',
    output: {
      filename: './dist-second.js',
    name: 'second',
    entry: './src/second.js',
    mode: 'development',
    output: {
      filename: './dist-third.js',
    name: 'third',
    entry: './src/third.js',
    mode: 'none',
    stats: 'verbose',

To run only the second configuration:

npx webpack --config-name second

You can also pass multiple values:

npx webpack --config-name first --config-name second


You can merge two or more different webpack configurations with the help of --merge:

npx webpack --config ./first.js --config ./second.js --merge


Print result of webpack as JSON

npx webpack --json

If you want to store stats as json instead of printing it, you can use -

npx webpack --json stats.json

In every other case, webpack prints out a set of stats showing bundle, chunk and timing details. Using this option, the output can be a JSON object. This response is accepted by webpack's analyse tool, or chrisbateman's webpack-visualizer, or th0r's webpack-bundle-analyzer. The analyse tool will take in the JSON and provide all the details of the build in graphical form.

Environment Options

When the webpack configuration exports a function, an "environment" may be passed to it.


npx webpack --env production    # env.production = true

The --env argument accepts multiple values:

Invocation Resulting environment
npx webpack --env prod { prod: true }
npx webpack --env prod --env min { prod: true, min: true }
npx webpack --env platform=app --env production { platform: "app", production: true }
npx webpack --env foo=bar=app { foo: "bar=app"}
npx webpack --env app.platform="staging" --env"test" { app: { platform: "staging", name: "test" }

In addition to the customized env showed above, there are some built-in ones under env to be used inside your webpack configuration:

Environment Variable Description
WEBPACK_SERVE true if serve|s is being used.
WEBPACK_BUILD true if build|bundle|b is being used.
WEBPACK_WATCH true if --watch|watch|w is being used.

Note that you can not access those built-in environment variables inside the bundled code.

module.exports = (env, argv) => {
  return {
    mode: env.WEBPACK_SERVE ? 'development' : 'production',


You can use --node-env option to set process.env.NODE_ENV:

npx webpack --node-env production   # process.env.NODE_ENV = 'production'

Configuration Options

Parameter Explanation Input type Default
--config Path to the configuration file string[] Default Configs
--config-name Name of the configuration to use string[] -
--env Environment passed to the configuration, when it is a function string[] -

Analyzing Bundle

You can also use webpack-bundle-analyzer to analyze your output bundles emitted by webpack. You can use --analyze flag to invoke it via CLI.

npx webpack --analyze


To check the progress of any webpack compilation you can use the --progress flag.

npx webpack --progress

To collect profile data for progress steps you can pass profile as value to --progress flag.

npx webpack --progress=profile

Pass CLI arguments to Node.js

To pass arguments directly to Node.js process, you can use the NODE_OPTIONS option.

For example, to increase the memory limit of Node.js process to 4 GB

NODE_OPTIONS="--max-old-space-size=4096" webpack

Also, you can pass multiple options to Node.js process

NODE_OPTIONS="--max-old-space-size=4096 -r /path/to/preload/file.js" webpack

Exit codes and their meanings

Exit Code Description
0 Success
1 Errors from webpack
2 Configuration/options problem or an internal error

CLI Environment Variables

Environment Variable Description
WEBPACK_CLI_SKIP_IMPORT_LOCAL when true it will skip using the local instance of webpack-cli.
WEBPACK_CLI_FORCE_LOAD_ESM_CONFIG when true it will force load the ESM config.
WEBPACK_PACKAGE Use a custom webpack version in CLI.
WEBPACK_CLI_HELP_WIDTH Use a custom width for help output.
WEBPACK_CLI_FORCE_LOAD_ESM_CONFIG=true npx webpack --config ./webpack.config.esm


Use a custom webpack version in CLI. Considering the following content in your package.json:

  "webpack": "^4.0.0",
  "webpack-5": "npm:webpack@^5.32.0",
  "webpack-cli": "^4.5.0"

To use webpack v4.0.0:

npx webpack

To use webpack v5.32.0:

WEBPACK_PACKAGE=webpack-5 npx webpack