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The process object is a global object and can be accessed from anywhere. It is an instance of EventEmitter.

Event: 'exit'

Emitted when the process is about to exit. This is a good hook to perform constant time checks of the module's state (like for unit tests). The main event loop will no longer be run after the 'exit' callback finishes, so timers may not be scheduled.

Example of listening for exit:

process.on('exit', function() {
  setTimeout(function() {
    console.log('This will not run');
  }, 0);
  console.log('About to exit.');

Event: 'uncaughtException'

Emitted when an exception bubbles all the way back to the event loop. If a listener is added for this exception, the default action (which is to print a stack trace and exit) will not occur.

Example of listening for uncaughtException:

process.on('uncaughtException', function(err) {
  console.log('Caught exception: ' + err);

setTimeout(function() {
  console.log('This will still run.');
}, 500);

// Intentionally cause an exception, but don't catch it.
console.log('This will not run.');

Note that uncaughtException is a very crude mechanism for exception handling. Using try / catch in your program will give you more control over your program's flow. Especially for server programs that are designed to stay running forever, uncaughtException can be a useful safety mechanism.

Signal Events

Emitted when the processes receives a signal. See sigaction(2) for a list of standard POSIX signal names such as SIGINT, SIGUSR1, etc.

Example of listening for SIGINT:

// Start reading from stdin so we don't exit.

process.on('SIGINT', function() {
  console.log('Got SIGINT.  Press Control-D to exit.');

An easy way to send the SIGINT signal is with Control-C in most terminal programs.


A Writable Stream to stdout.

Example: the definition of console.log

console.log = function(d) {
  process.stdout.write(d + '\n');

process.stderr and process.stdout are unlike other streams in Node in that writes to them are usually blocking. They are blocking in the case that they refer to regular files or TTY file descriptors. In the case they refer to pipes, they are non-blocking like other streams.


A writable stream to stderr.

process.stderr and process.stdout are unlike other streams in Node in that writes to them are usually blocking. They are blocking in the case that they refer to regular files or TTY file descriptors. In the case they refer to pipes, they are non-blocking like other streams.


A Readable Stream for stdin. The stdin stream is paused by default, so one must call process.stdin.resume() to read from it.

Example of opening standard input and listening for both events:


process.stdin.on('data', function(chunk) {
  process.stdout.write('data: ' + chunk);

process.stdin.on('end', function() {


An array containing the command line arguments. The first element will be 'node', the second element will be the name of the JavaScript file. The next elements will be any additional command line arguments.

// print process.argv
process.argv.forEach(function(val, index, array) {
  console.log(index + ': ' + val);

This will generate:

$ node process-2.js one two=three four
0: node
1: /Users/mjr/work/node/process-2.js
2: one
3: two=three
4: four


This is the absolute pathname of the executable that started the process.




This causes node to emit an abort. This will cause node to exit and generate a core file.


Changes the current working directory of the process or throws an exception if that fails.

console.log('Starting directory: ' + process.cwd());
try {
  console.log('New directory: ' + process.cwd());
catch (err) {
  console.log('chdir: ' + err);


Returns the current working directory of the process.

console.log('Current directory: ' + process.cwd());


An object containing the user environment. See environ(7).


Ends the process with the specified code. If omitted, exit uses the 'success' code 0.

To exit with a 'failure' code:


The shell that executed node should see the exit code as 1.


Note: this function is only available on POSIX platforms (i.e. not Windows)

Gets the group identity of the process. (See getgid(2).) This is the numerical group id, not the group name.

if (process.getgid) {
  console.log('Current gid: ' + process.getgid());


Note: this function is only available on POSIX platforms (i.e. not Windows)

Sets the group identity of the process. (See setgid(2).) This accepts either a numerical ID or a groupname string. If a groupname is specified, this method blocks while resolving it to a numerical ID.

if (process.getgid && process.setgid) {
  console.log('Current gid: ' + process.getgid());
  try {
    console.log('New gid: ' + process.getgid());
  catch (err) {
    console.log('Failed to set gid: ' + err);


Note: this function is only available on POSIX platforms (i.e. not Windows)

Gets the user identity of the process. (See getuid(2).) This is the numerical userid, not the username.

if (process.getuid) {
  console.log('Current uid: ' + process.getuid());


Note: this function is only available on POSIX platforms (i.e. not Windows)

Sets the user identity of the process. (See setuid(2).) This accepts either a numerical ID or a username string. If a username is specified, this method blocks while resolving it to a numerical ID.

if (process.getuid && process.setuid) {
  console.log('Current uid: ' + process.getuid());
  try {
    console.log('New uid: ' + process.getuid());
  catch (err) {
    console.log('Failed to set uid: ' + err);


A compiled-in property that exposes NODE_VERSION.

console.log('Version: ' + process.version);


A property exposing version strings of node and its dependencies.


Will output:

{ node: '0.4.12',
  v8: '',
  ares: '1.7.4',
  ev: '4.4',
  openssl: '1.0.0e-fips' }


An Object containing the JavaScript representation of the configure options that were used to compile the current node executable. This is the same as the "config.gypi" file that was produced when running the ./configure script.

An example of the possible output looks like:

{ target_defaults:
   { cflags: [],
     default_configuration: 'Release',
     defines: [],
     include_dirs: [],
     libraries: [] },
   { host_arch: 'x64',
     node_install_npm: 'true',
     node_install_waf: 'true',
     node_prefix: '',
     node_shared_v8: 'false',
     node_shared_zlib: 'false',
     node_use_dtrace: 'false',
     node_use_openssl: 'true',
     node_shared_openssl: 'false',
     strict_aliasing: 'true',
     target_arch: 'x64',
     v8_use_snapshot: 'true' } }

process.kill(pid, [signal])

Send a signal to a process. pid is the process id and signal is the string describing the signal to send. Signal names are strings like 'SIGINT' or 'SIGUSR1'. If omitted, the signal will be 'SIGTERM'. See kill(2) for more information.

Note that just because the name of this function is process.kill, it is really just a signal sender, like the kill system call. The signal sent may do something other than kill the target process.

Example of sending a signal to yourself:

process.on('SIGHUP', function() {
  console.log('Got SIGHUP signal.');

setTimeout(function() {
}, 100);

process.kill(, 'SIGHUP');

The PID of the process.

console.log('This process is pid ' +;


Getter/setter to set what is displayed in 'ps'.


What processor architecture you're running on: 'arm', 'ia32', or 'x64'.

console.log('This processor architecture is ' + process.arch);


What platform you're running on: 'darwin', 'freebsd', 'linux', 'solaris' or 'win32'

console.log('This platform is ' + process.platform);


Returns an object describing the memory usage of the Node process measured in bytes.

var util = require('util');


This will generate:

{ rss: 4935680,
  heapTotal: 1826816,
  heapUsed: 650472 }

heapTotal and heapUsed refer to V8's memory usage.


On the next loop around the event loop call this callback. This is not a simple alias to setTimeout(fn, 0), it's much more efficient. It typically runs before any other I/O events fire, but there are some exceptions. See process.maxTickDepth below.

process.nextTick(function() {
  console.log('nextTick callback');

This is important in developing APIs where you want to give the user the chance to assign event handlers after an object has been constructed, but before any I/O has occurred.

function MyThing(options) {

  process.nextTick(function() {

var thing = new MyThing();

// thing.startDoingStuff() gets called now, not before.

It is very important for APIs to be either 100% synchronous or 100% asynchronous. Consider this example:

function maybeSync(arg, cb) {
  if (arg) {

  fs.stat('file', cb);

This API is hazardous. If you do this:

maybeSync(true, function() {

then it's not clear whether foo() or bar() will be called first.

This approach is much better:

function definitelyAsync(arg, cb) {
  if (arg) {

  fs.stat('file', cb);


  • {Number} Default = 1000

Callbacks passed to process.nextTick will usually be called at the end of the current flow of execution, and are thus approximately as fast as calling a function synchronously. Left unchecked, this would starve the event loop, preventing any I/O from occurring.

Consider this code:

process.nextTick(function foo() {

In order to avoid the situation where Node is blocked by an infinite loop of recursive series of nextTick calls, it defers to allow some I/O to be done every so often.

The process.maxTickDepth value is the maximum depth of nextTick-calling nextTick-callbacks that will be evaluated before allowing other forms of I/O to occur.


Sets or reads the process's file mode creation mask. Child processes inherit the mask from the parent process. Returns the old mask if mask argument is given, otherwise returns the current mask.

var oldmask, newmask = 0644;

oldmask = process.umask(newmask);
console.log('Changed umask from: ' + oldmask.toString(8) +
            ' to ' + newmask.toString(8));


Number of seconds Node has been running.


Returns the current high-resolution real time in a [seconds, nanoseconds] tuple Array. It is relative to an arbitrary time in the past. It is not related to the time of day and therefore not subject to clock drift. The primary use is for measuring performance between intervals.

You may pass in the result of a previous call to process.hrtime() to get a diff reading, useful for benchmarks and measuring intervals:

var t = process.hrtime();
// [ 1800216, 927643717 ]

setTimeout(function() {
  t = process.hrtime(t);
  // [ 1, 6962306 ]

  console.log('benchmark took %d seconds and %d nanoseconds', t[0], t[1]);
  // benchmark took 1 seconds and 6962306 nanoseconds
}, 1000);
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