Skip to content


Folders and files

Last commit message
Last commit date

Latest commit



55 Commits

Repository files navigation

Parallel Shell

This is a super simple npm module to run shell commands in parallel. All processes will share the same stdout/stderr, and if any command exits with a non-zero exit status, the rest are stopped and the exit code carries through.

Version compatibility notes

  • Fully compatible with Node up to v8 and later!

Maintenance has been resumed by @darkguy2008. However, there are also better options, see Consolidation of multiple similar libraries.


How is this different than:

$ cmd1 & cmd2 & cmd3
  • Cross platform -- works on Unix or Windows.

  • & creates a background process, which only exits if you kill it or it ends. parallelshell will autokill processes if one of the others dies.

  • command1 & command2 & command3 will wait in the terminal until command3 ends only. parallelshell will wait until all 3 end.

  • If command1 or command2 exit with non-zero exit code, then this will not effect the outcome of your shell (i.e. they can fail and npm/bash/whatever will ignore it). parallelshell will not ignore it, and will exit with the first non-zero exit code.

  • Pressing Ctrl+C will exit command3 but not 1 or 2. parallelshell will exit all 3

  • parallelshell outputs all jobs stdout/err to its stdout/err. background jobs do that... kind of coincidentally (read: unreliably)

So what's the difference between GNU parallel and this?

The biggest difference is that parallelshell is an npm module and GNU parallel isn't. While they probably do similar things, albeit (GNU) parallel being more advanced, parallelshell is an easier option to work with when using npm (because it's an npm module).

If you have GNU parallel installed on all the machines you project will be on, then by all means use it! :)


Simply run the following to install this to your project:

npm i --save-dev parallelshell

Or, to install it globally, run:

npm i -g parallelshell


To use the command, simply call it with a set of strings - which correspond to shell arguments, for example:

parallelshell "echo 1" "echo 2" "echo 3"

This will execute the commands echo 1 echo 2 and echo 3 simultaneously.

Note that on Windows, you need to use double-quotes to avoid confusing the argument parser.

Available options:

-h, --help         output usage information
-v, --verbose      verbose logging
-w, --wait         will not close sibling processes on error