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This is a Vagrant file for building a basic node development environment. It was primarily built as a companion to my book, Learning Web App Development. You can read more about it at

If you're not familiar with Vagrant, read more about it at

To get this to work, you must have VirtualBox (> 5.1.0) and Vagrant (> 2.0) installed. I've most recently been testing it with VirtualBox 5.1.30 and Vagrant 2.0.2. Please post an issue if you're having problems with other versions, and I'll see if I can track it down.

Installers for VirtualBox are available at, and installers for Vagrant are available at

Once you have the pre-requisites installed, you should be able to clone this repository

git clone

and change to your new project directory to start your VM:

cd my_project vagrant up

Note that the Vagrantfile will download and install the xenial32 vagrant box if you don't already have it.

After a few minutes, you should have a virtual dev environment with node, npm, mongodb and redis. The app folder is shared, and port 3000 on the VM is forwarded to port 3000 on the localhost. This is all customizable in the Vagrantfile.

You can test out your environment by ssh'ing into your environment and running the sample script:

vagrant ssh cd app node server.js

Next open localhost:3000 in your web browser. If everything worked correctly, you should see 'Hello World'

Important note about Installing NPM Packages

Later versions of VirtualBox do not support symlinks in shared folders. More info is available here:

This can cause problems when you're attempting to install certain packages via npm. For example, the 'jade' and 'express' packages create symlinks during installation, and therefore the installation will fail in the shared 'app' directory.

The best workaround for this is to install node packages in your shared folder with the --no-bin-links flag, e.g.

npm install express --no-bin-links

If VirtualBox is your provider and you're using MacOS, you may also want to try to uncomment the "setextradata" customization in the VagrantFile to allow symlinks to work.

I'm not sure how this affects other Virtual Machine providers.


bootstrap a development environment for node.js using Vagrant, includes redis-server and mongodb



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