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Release It! ๐Ÿš€

๐Ÿš€ Generic CLI tool to automate versioning and package publishing-related tasks:

Use release-it for version management and publish to anywhere with its versatile configuration, a powerful plugin system, and hooks to execute any command you need to test, build, and/or publish your project.

Action Status npm version

Are you using release-it at work? Please consider sponsoring me!


Although release-it is a generic release tool, most projects use it for projects with npm packages. The recommended way to install release-it uses npm and adds some minimal configuration to get started:

npm init release-it

Alternatively, install it manually, and add the release script to package.json:

npm install -D release-it
  "name": "my-package",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "scripts": {
    "release": "release-it"
  "devDependencies": {
    "release-it": "^16.1.0"


Run release-it from the root of the project using either npm run or npx:

npm run release
npx release-it

You will be prompted to select the new version, and more prompts will follow based on your configuration.


Using Yarn? Please see the npm section on Yarn.


Using a monorepo? Please see this monorepo recipe.

Global Installation

Per-project installation as shown above is recommended, but global installs are supported as well:

  • From npm: npm install -g release-it
  • From Homebrew: brew install release-it


Use Release It! - Containerized to run it in any environment as a standardized container without the need for a Node environment. Thanks Juan Carlos!

Videos, articles & examples

Here's a list of interesting external resources:

Want to add yours to the list? Just open a pull request!


Out of the box, release-it has sane defaults, and plenty of options to configure it. Most projects use a .release-it.json file in the project root, or a release-it property in package.json.

Here's a quick example .release-it.json:

  "git": {
    "commitMessage": "chore: release v${version}"
  "github": {
    "release": true

โ†’ See Configuration for more details.

Interactive vs. CI mode

By default, release-it is interactive and allows you to confirm each task before execution:

By using the --ci option, the process is fully automated without prompts. The configured tasks will be executed as demonstrated in the first animation above. In a Continuous Integration (CI) environment, this non-interactive mode is activated automatically.

Use --only-version to use a prompt only to determine the version, and automate the rest.

Latest version

How does release-it determine the latest version?

  1. For projects with a package.json, its version will be used (see npm to skip this).
  2. Otherwise, release-it uses the latest Git tag to determine which version should be released.
  3. As a last resort, 0.0.0 will be used as the latest version.

Alternatively, a plugin can be used to override this (e.g. to manage a VERSION or composer.json file):

Add the --release-version flag to print the next version without releasing anything.


Git projects are supported well by release-it, automating the tasks to stage, commit, tag and push releases to any Git remote.

โ†’ See Git for more details.

GitHub Releases

GitHub projects can have releases attached to Git tags, containing release notes and assets. There are two ways to add GitHub releases in your release-it flow:

  1. Automated (requires a GITHUB_TOKEN)
  2. Manual (using the GitHub web interface with pre-populated fields)

โ†’ See GitHub Releases for more details.

GitLab Releases

GitLab projects can have releases attached to Git tags, containing release notes and assets. To automate GitLab releases:

โ†’ See GitLab Releases for more details.


By default, release-it generates a changelog, to show and help select a version for the new release. Additionally, this changelog serves as the release notes for the GitHub or GitLab release.

The default command is based on git log .... This setting (git.changelog) can be overridden. To further customize the release notes for the GitHub or GitLab release, there's github.releaseNotes or gitlab.releaseNotes. Make sure any of these commands output the changelog to stdout. Note that release-it by default is agnostic to commit message conventions. Plugins are available for:

  • GitHub and GitLab Releases
  • auto-changelog
  • Conventional Changelog
  • Keep A Changelog

To print the changelog without releasing anything, add the --changelog flag.

โ†’ See Changelog for more details.

Publish to npm

With a package.json in the current directory, release-it will let npm bump the version in package.json (and package-lock.json if present), and publish to the npm registry.

โ†’ See Publish to npm for more details.

Manage pre-releases

With release-it, it's easy to create pre-releases: a version of your software that you want to make available, while it's not in the stable semver range yet. Often "alpha", "beta", and "rc" (release candidate) are used as identifiers for pre-releases. An example pre-release version is 2.0.0-beta.0.

โ†’ See Manage pre-releases for more details.

Update or re-run existing releases

Use --no-increment to not increment the last version, but update the last existing tag/version.

This may be helpful in cases where the version was already incremented. Here are a few example scenarios:

  • To update or publish a (draft) GitHub Release for an existing Git tag.
  • Publishing to npm succeeded, but pushing the Git tag to the remote failed. Then use release-it --no-increment --no-npm to skip the npm publish and try pushing the same Git tag again.


Use script hooks to run shell commands at any moment during the release process (such as before:init or after:release).

The format is [prefix]:[hook] or [prefix]:[plugin]:[hook]:

part value
prefix before or after
plugin version, git, npm, github, gitlab
hook init, bump, release

Use the optional :plugin part in the middle to hook into a life cycle method exactly before or after any plugin.

The core plugins include version, git, npm, github, gitlab.

Note that hooks like after:git:release will not run when either the git push failed, or when it is configured not to be executed (e.g. git.push: false). See execution order for more details on execution order of plugin lifecycle methods.

All commands can use configuration variables (like template strings). An array of commands can also be provided, they will run one after another. Some example release-it configuration:

  "hooks": {
    "before:init": ["npm run lint", "npm test"],
    "after:my-plugin:bump": "./bin/",
    "after:bump": "npm run build",
    "after:git:release": "echo After git push, before github release",
    "after:release": "echo Successfully released ${name} v${version} to ${repo.repository}."

The variables can be found in the default configuration. Additionally, the following variables are exposed:

repo.remote, repo.protocol,, repo.owner, repo.repository, repo.project

All variables are available in all hooks. The only exception is that the additional variables listed above are not yet available in the init hook.

Use --verbose to log the output of the commands.

For the sake of verbosity, the full list of hooks is actually: init, beforeBump, bump, beforeRelease, release or afterRelease. However, hooks like before:beforeRelease look weird and are usually not useful in practice.

Note that arguments need to be quoted properly when used from the command line:

release-it --'hooks.after:release="echo Successfully released ${name} v${version} to ${repo.repository}."'

Using Inquirer.js inside custom hook scripts might cause issues (since release-it also uses this itself).

Dry Runs

Use --dry-run to show the interactivity and the commands it would execute.

โ†’ See Dry Runs for more details.

Troubleshooting & debugging

  • With release-it --verbose (or -V), release-it prints the output of every user-defined hook.
  • With release-it -VV, release-it also prints the output of every internal command.
  • Use NODE_DEBUG=release-it:* release-it [...] to print configuration and more error details.

Use verbose: 2 in a configuration file to have the equivalent of -VV on the command line.


Since v11, release-it can be extended in many, many ways. Here are some plugins:

Plugin Description
@release-it/bumper Read & write the version from/to any file
@release-it/conventional-changelog Provides recommended bump, conventional-changelog, and updates
@release-it/keep-a-changelog Maintain using the Keep a Changelog standards
@release-it-plugins/lerna-changelog Integrates lerna-changelog into the release-it pipeline
@jcamp-code/release-it-changelogen Use @unjs/changelogen for versioning and changelog
@release-it-plugins/workspaces Releases each of your projects configured workspaces
release-it-calver-plugin Enables Calendar Versioning (calver) with release-it
@grupoboticario/news-fragments An easy way to generate your changelog file
@j-ulrich/release-it-regex-bumper Regular expression based version read/write plugin for release-it
@jcamp-code/release-it-dotnet Use .csproj or .props file for versioning, automate NuGet publishing
release-it-pnpm Add basic support for pnpm workspaces, integrates with bumpp and changelogithub

Internally, release-it uses its own plugin architecture (for Git, GitHub, GitLab, npm).

โ†’ See all release-it plugins on npm.

โ†’ See plugins for documentation to write plugins.

Use release-it programmatically

While mostly used as a CLI tool, release-it can be used as a dependency to integrate in your own scripts. See use release-it programmatically for example code.

Example projects using release-it

Legacy Node.js

The latest major version is v17, supporting Node.js 18 and up (as Node.js v16 is EOL). The previous major version was v16, supporting Node.js 16. Use release-it v15 for environments running Node.js v14. Also see




Are you using release-it at work? Please consider sponsoring me!