This library enables you to utilize AWS Lambda and Amazon API Gateway to respond to web and API requests using your existing Node.js application framework.
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Latest commit 0c421fa Feb 5, 2017 @brettstack brettstack 2.1.3

Run serverless applications and REST APIs using your existing Node.js application framework, on top of AWS Lambda and Amazon API Gateway. The sample provided allows you to easily build serverless web applications/services and RESTful APIs using the Express framework.

Getting Started

npm install aws-serverless-express
// lambda.js
'use strict'
const awsServerlessExpress = require('aws-serverless-express')
const app = require('./app')
const server = awsServerlessExpress.createServer(app)

exports.handler = (event, context) => awsServerlessExpress.proxy(server, event, context)

Package and create your Lambda function, then configure a simple proxy API using Amazon API Gateway and integrate it with your Lambda function.


In addition to a basic Lambda function and Express server, the example directory includes a Swagger file, CloudFormation template with Serverless Application Model (SAM), and helper scripts to help you set up and manage your application.

Steps for running the example

This guide assumes you have already set up an AWS account and have the latest version of the AWS CLI installed.

  1. From your preferred project directory: git clone && cd aws-serverless-express/example.
  2. Run npm run config -- --account-id="<accountId>" --bucket-name="<bucketName>" [--region="<region>" --function-name="<functionName>"] to configure the example, eg. npm run config -- --account-id="123456789012" --bucket-name="my-bucket" --region="us-west-2" --function-name="my-function". This modifies package.json, simple-proxy-api.yaml and cloudformation.yaml with your account ID, bucket, region and function name (region defaults to us-east-1 and function name defaults to AwsServerlessExpressFunction). If the bucket you specify does not yet exist, the next step will create it for you. This step modifies the existing files in-place; if you wish to make changes to these settings, you will need to modify package.json, simple-proxy-api.yaml and cloudformation.yaml manually.
  3. Run npm run setup (Windows users: npm run win-setup) - this installs the node dependencies, creates an S3 bucket (if it does not already exist), packages and deploys your serverless Express application to AWS Lambda, and creates an API Gateway proxy API.
  4. After the setup command completes, open the AWS CloudFormation console and switch to the region you specified. Select the AwsServerlessExpressStack stack, then click the ApiUrl value under the Outputs section - this will open a new page with your running API. The API index lists the resources available in the example Express server (app.js), along with example curl commands.

See the sections below for details on how to migrate an existing (or create a new) Node.js project based on this example. If you would prefer to delete AWS assets that were just created, simply run npm run delete-stack to delete the CloudFormation Stack, including the API and Lambda Function. If you specified a new bucket in the config command for step 1 and want to delete that bucket, run npm run delete-bucket.

Creating or migrating a Node.js project based on the example

To use this example as a base for a new Node.js project:

  1. Copy the files in the example directory into a new project directory (cp -r ./example ~/projects/my-new-node-project). If you have not already done so, follow the steps for running the example (you may want to first modify some of the resource names to something more project-specific, eg. the CloudFormation stack, Lambda function, and API Gateway API).
  2. After making updates to app.js, simply run npm run package-deploy (Windows users: npm run win-package-deploy).

To migrate an existing Node server:

  1. Copy the following files from the example directory: api-gateway-event.json, cloudformation.yaml, lambda.js, and simple-proxy-api.yaml. Additionally, copy the scripts and config sections of example/package.json into your existing package.json - this includes many helpful commands to manage your AWS serverless assets and perform basic local simulation of API Gateway and Lambda. If you have not already done so, follow the steps for running the example (be sure to copy over scripts/configure.js. You may want to first modify some of the resource names to something more project-specific, eg. the CloudFormation stack, Lambda function, and API Gateway API).
  2. From your existing project directory, run npm install --save aws-serverless-express.
  3. Modify lambda.js to import your own server configuration (eg. change require('./app') to require('./server')). You will need to ensure you export your app configuration from the necessary file (eg. module.exports = app). This library takes your app configuration and listens on a Unix Domain Socket for you, so you can remove your call to app.listen() (if you have a server.listen callback, you can provide it as the second parameter in the awsServerlessExpress.createServer method).
  4. Modify the CodeUri property of the Lambda function resource in cloudformation.yaml to point to your application directory (e.g. CodeUri: ./src). If you are using a build tool (e.g. Gulp, Grunt, Webpack, Rollup, etc.), you will instead want to point to your build output directory.
  5. Run npm run package-deploy (Windows users: npm run win-package-deploy) to package and deploy your application.

To perform a basic, local simulation of API Gateway and Lambda with your Node server, update api-gateway-event.json with some values that are valid for your server (httpMethod, path, body etc.) and run npm run local. AWS Lambda uses NodeJS 4.3 LTS, and it is recommended to use the same version for testing purposes.

If you need to make modifications to your API Gateway API, modify simple-proxy-api.yaml and run npm run package-deploy. If your API requires CORS, be sure to modify the two options methods defined in the Swagger file, otherwise you can safely remove them. To modify your other AWS assets, make your changes to cloudformation.yaml and run npm run package-deploy. Alternatively, you can manage these assets via the AWS console.

Getting the API Gateway event object

This package includes middleware to easily get the event object Lambda receives from API Gateway

const awsServerlessExpressMiddleware = require('aws-serverless-express/middleware')

Is AWS serverless right for my app?



  • Currently limited to Node.js 4.3 (LTS)
  • For apps that may not see traffic for several minutes at a time, you could see cold starts
  • May be more expensive for high-traffic apps
  • Cannot use native libraries (aka Addons) unless you package your app on an EC2 machine running Amazon Linux
  • Stateless only
  • API Gateway has a timeout of 30 seconds, and Lambda has a maximum execution time of 5 minutes.