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A command line tool for easily doing prebuilds for multiple versions of Node.js, io.js and Electron on a specific platform.

$ npm install -g prebuild

build status js-standard-style


  • Builds native modules for any version of Node.js, io.js or Electron, without having to switch between different versions to do so. This works by only downloading the correct headers and telling node-gyp to use those instead of the ones installed on your system.
  • Upload (--upload) prebuilt binaries to GitHub.
  • Support for stripping (--strip) debug information.
  • Install prebuilt modules via prebuild-install.


Building is only required for targets with different ABI versions. To build for all supported ABI versions greater than 0.8 (example from leveldown):

prebuild --all

Alternatively, to build for some specific versions you can do:

prebuild -t 0.10.42 -t 0.12.10 -t 4.3.0

To build against Electron headers, do:

prebuild -t 1.4.10 -r electron

See allTargets for all available versions.

For more options run prebuild --help. The prebuilds created are compatible with node-pre-gyp


prebuild supports uploading prebuilds to GitHub releases. If the release doesn't exist, it will be created for you. To upload prebuilds simply add the -u <github-token> option:

$ prebuild --all -u <github-token>

If you don't want to use the token on cli you can put it in ~/.prebuildrc:


Note that --upload will only upload the targets that was built and stored in ./prebuilds, so prebuild -u <github-token> -t 4.3.0 will only upload the binary for the 4.3.0 target.

You can use prebuild --upload-all to upload all files from the ./prebuilds folder.

Create GitHub Token

A GitHub token is needed for two reasons:

  • Create a GitHub release (leveldown example)
  • Upload the prebuilt binaries to that release

To create a token:

  • Go to this page
  • Click the Generate new token button
  • Give the token a name and click the Generate token button, see below


The default scopes should be fine.


$ prebuild -h
prebuild [options]

  --target      -t  version     (version to build or install for)
  --runtime     -r  runtime     (Node runtime [node or electron] to build or install for, default is node)
  --all                         (prebuild for all known abi versions)
  --upload      -u  [gh-token]  (upload prebuilds to github)
  --upload-all  -u  [gh-token]  (upload all files from ./prebuilds folder to github)
  --preinstall  -i  script      (run this script before prebuilding)
  --path        -p  path        (make a prebuild here)
  --libc                        (use provided libc rather than system default)
  --backend                     (specify build backend, default is 'node-gyp')
  --strip                       (strip debug information)
  --debug                       (set Debug or Release configuration)
  --verbose                     (log verbosely)
  --version                     (print prebuild version and exit)

JavaScript API

var prebuild = require('prebuild')

.build(opts, version, cb)


  • .log (optional)
  • .preinstall (optional)
  • .gyp Provide a custom node-gyp instance (optional)
  • .backend Provide a custom node-gyp instance via string. Alternatives are 'node-gyp' and 'node-ninja' (optional, defaults to 'node-gyp')
  • .args Additional command line arguments to node-gyp (optional)
  • .debug Pass in --debug on command line to gyp backend (optional)

Example:{}, version, function (err) {
  // ...

Global options:

  • .debug Download or build a debug build (default: false)
  • .arch Processor architecture (default: process.arch)

Develop prebuild

If you want to hack on prebuild you need an environment to play around with. We recommend a setup similar to the following:

  • A fork of prebuild
  • A GitHub token (see above)
  • A native node module
$ git clone<your-nick>/prebuild
$ cd prebuild && npm link && cd ..
$ git clone<your-nick>/some-native-module

Since you did npm link on prebuild it will be installed globally. Now you can go ahead and try things out.

$ cd some-native-module
$ prebuild --all --strip -u <github-token>

This command would:

  • Build some-native-module for all supported targets and store them in ./prebuilds/
  • Strip binaries from debug information
  • Create a release on GitHub, if needed
  • Upload all binaries to that release, if not already uploaded

Before you commit your changes and send us a pull request, do run npm test.




A command line tool for easily doing prebuilds for multiple version of node/iojs on a specific platform







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