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Use WebRTC in Node.js via a hidden Electron process

WebRTC is a powerful web API that lets browsers make peer-to-peer connections, and has already been deployed in many popular browsers. It may sometimes be useful to let Node.js programs use WebRTC, e.g. in webtorrent-hybrid. However, the modules for WebRTC in Node (node-webrtc and node-rtc-peer-connection) are either hard to install, broken, or incomplete.

As a hack, this module talks to an invisible Electron instance in the background (using electron-eval) to use Chromium's built-in WebRTC implementation.


This module is compatible with simple-peer and passes its tests.

electron-webrtc is intended for use with RTCDataChannels, so the MediaStream API is not supported.


npm install electron-webrtc

// call exported function to create Electron process
var wrtc = require('electron-webrtc')()

// handle errors that may occur when trying to communicate with Electron
wrtc.on('error', function (err) { console.log(err) })

// uses the same API as the `wrtc` package
var pc = new wrtc.RTCPeerConnection(config)

// compatible with `simple-peer`
var peer = new SimplePeer({
  initiator: true,
  wrtc: wrtc

// listen for errors
wrtc.on('error', function (err, source) {


var wrtc = require('electron-webrtc')([opts])

Calling the function exported by this module will create a new hidden Electron process. It is recommended to only create one, since Electron uses a lot of resources.

An optional opts object may contain specific options (including headless mode). See electron-eval

The object returned by this function has the same API as the node-webrtc package.

Any errors that occur when communicating with the Electron daemon will be emitted by the wrtc object (wrtc.on('error', ...)).


Closes the Electron process and releases its resources. You may not need to do this since the Electron process will close automatically after the Node process terminates.



A handle to the electron-eval daemon that this module uses to talk to the Electron process.


- error

Emitted by RTCPeerConnection or RTCDataChannel when daemon.eval() evaluates code that throws an internal error.

Running on a headless server

Chromium normally won't run on a headless server since it expects a screen that it can render to. So to work around this, we can use Xvfb, a utility that creates a framebuffer that Chromium can use as a virtual screen.

First, install Xvfb:

apt-get install xvfb # Ubuntu/Debian
yum install xorg-x11-server-Xvfb # CentOS

Create the HEADLESS env variable:

export HEADLESS=true

Or if you want to do it programmatically, initialize a new instance and pass in headless as a key as demonstrated:

var wrtc = require('electron-webrtc')({ headless: true })

Now you may run your WebRTC code with electron-webrtc :)

Related Modules


Use WebRTC in Node.js via a hidden Electron process






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