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IPFS in JavaScript logo

The JavaScript implementation of the IPFS protocol.

Project status

We've come a long way, but this project is still in Alpha, lots of development is happening, API might change, beware of the Dragons ūüźČ..

Want to get started? Check our examples folder to learn how to spawn an IPFS node in Node.js and in the Browser.

You can check the development status at:

Table of Contents


This project is available through npm. To install:

> npm install ipfs --save

Requires npm@3 and node >= 4.5, tested on OSX & Linux, expected to work on Windows.

Use in Node.js

To include this project programmatically:

const IPFS = require('ipfs')
const node = new IPFS()

Through command line tool

In order to use js-ipfs as a CLI, you must install it with the global flag. Run the following (even if you have ipfs installed locally):

$ npm install ipfs --global

The CLI is available by using the command jsipfs in your terminal. This is aliased, instead of using ipfs, to make sure it does not conflict with the Go implementation.

Use in the browser with browserify, webpack or any bundler

Simply require it as you would do for Node.js, but when transpiling+minifying with your bundler, make sure to swap zlib with a full replacement for the browser: zlib: 'browserify-zlib-next'. We have submitted PR's to browserify and WebPack to make this as part of the standard node libraries that are transpiled, you can follow this development in browserify, webpack.

You can also find examples of how to do this bundling at:

Special note, if you are using webpack, make sure to use version 2 or above, otherwise it won't work.

Use in a browser using a script tag

Loading this module in a browser (using a <script> tag) makes the Ipfs object available in the global namespace.

The last published version of the package become available for download from unpkg and thus you may use it as the source:

<!-- loading the minified version -->
<script src=""></script>
<!-- loading the human-readable (not minified) version -->
<script src=""></script>



The jsipfs CLI, available when js-ipfs is installed globally, follows(should, it is a WIP) the same interface defined by go-ipfs, you can always use the help command for help menus.

# Install js-ipfs globally 
> npm install ipfs --global
> jsipfs --help
  bitswap               A set of commands to manipulate the bitswap agent.
  block                 Manipulate raw IPFS blocks.
  bootstrap             Show or edit the list of bootstrap peers.
  commands              List all available commands
  config <key> [value]  Get and set IPFS config values
  daemon                Start a long-running daemon process
# ... 

js-ipfs uses some different default config values, so that they don't clash directly with a go-ipfs node running in the same machine. These are:

  • default repo location: ~/.jsipfs (can be changed with env variable IPFS_PATH)
  • default swarm port: 4002
  • default API port: 5002
  • default Bootstrap is off, to enable it set IPFS_BOOTSTRAP=1


The HTTP-API exposed by the js-ipfs daemon follows the http-api-spec. You can use any of the IPFS HTTP-API client libraries with it, such as: js-ipfs-api.

IPFS Core (use IPFS as a module)

Create a IPFS node instance

Creating an IPFS instance couldn't be easier, all you have to do is:

// Create the IPFS node instance
const node = new IPFS()
node.on('start', () => {
  // Your now is ready to use \o/
  // stopping a node
  node.stop(() => {
    // node is now 'offline'

Advanced options when creating an IPFS node.

When starting a node, you can:

// IPFS will need a repo, it can create one for you or you can pass
// it a repo instance of the type IPFS Repo
const repo = <IPFS Repo instance or repo path>
const node = new IPFS({
  repo: repo,
  init: true, // default
  // init: false,
  // init: {
  //   bits: 1024 // size of the RSA key generated
  // },
  start: true,
  // start: false,
  EXPERIMENTAL: { // enable experimental features
    pubsub: true,
    sharding: true // enable dir sharding
  config: { // overload the default config
    Addresses: {
      Swarm: [
// Events
node.on('init', () => {})     // Node has successfully finished initing the repo
node.on('error', (err) => {}) // Node has hit some error while initing/starting
node.on('start', () => {})    // Node has started
node.on('stop', () => {})     // Node has stopped

Tutorials and Examples

You can find some examples and tutorials in the examples folder, these exist to help you get started using js-ipfs.


A complete API definition is in the works. Meanwhile, you can learn how to you use js-ipfs through the standard interface at .

dht (not implemented, yet!)
generic operations
pin (not implemented, yet!)

Every IPFS instance also exposes the libp2p API at ipfs.libp2p. The formal interface for this API hasn't been defined by you can find documentation at its implementations:

Domain data types

A set of data types are exposed directly from the IPFS instance under ipfs.types. That way you're not required to import/require the following.


Package Version Deps DevDeps
API Specs
cli spec
ipfs-repo npm Dep Status devDep Status
ipfs-unixfs-engine npm Dep Status devDep Status
ipfs-block-service npm Dep Status devDep Status
libp2p-ipfs-nodejs npm Dep Status devDep Status
libp2p-ipfs-browser npm Dep Status devDep Status
Data Types
ipfs-block npm Dep Status devDep Status
ipfs-unixfs npm Dep Status devDep Status
peer-id npm Dep Status devDep Status
peer-info npm Dep Status devDep Status
multiaddr npm Dep Status devDep Status
multihashes npm Dep Status devDep Status
ipfs-api npm Dep Status devDep Status
ipfs-multipart npm Dep Status devDep Status
multihashing npm Dep Status devDep Status
mafmt npm Dep Status devDep Status


Clone and install dependencies

> git clone
> cd js-ipfs
> npm install

Run unit tests

# run all the unit tsts 
> npm test
# run just IPFS tests in Node.js 
> npm run test:unit:node:core
# run just IPFS core tests 
> npm run test:unit:node:core
# run just IPFS HTTP-API tests 
> npm run test:unit:node:http
# run just IPFS CLI tests 
> npm run test:unit:node:cli
# run just IPFS core tests in the Browser (Chrome) 
> npm run test:unit:browser

Run interop tests

# run all the interop tsts 
> npm run test:interop
# run just IPFS interop tests in Node.js using one go-ipfs daemon and one js-ipfs daemon 
> npm run test:interop:node
# run just IPFS interop testsin the Browser (Chrome) using one instance in the browser and one go-ipfs daemon 
> npm run test:interop:browser

Run benchmark tests

# run all the interop tsts 
> npm run test:benchmark
# run just IPFS benchmarks in Node.js 
> npm run test:benchmark:node
# run just IPFS benchmarks in Node.js for an IPFS instance 
> npm run test:benchmark:node:core
# run just IPFS benchmarks in Node.js for an IPFS daemon 
> npm run test:benchmark:node:http
# run just IPFS benchmarks in the browser (Chrome) 
> npm run test:benchmark:browser


Conforming to linting rules is a prerequisite to commit to js-ipfs.

> npm run lint

Build a dist version

> npm run build

Runtime Support

Code Architecture and folder Structure

Source code
> tree src -L 2
src                 # Main source code folder

IPFS Core Architecture

What does this image explain?

  • IPFS uses ipfs-repo which picks fs or indexeddb as its storage drivers, depending if it is running in Node.js or in the Browser.
  • The exchange protocol, bitswap, uses the Block Service which in turn uses the Repo, offering a get and put of blocks to the IPFS implementation.
  • The DAG api (previously Object) comes from the IPLD Resolver, it can support several IPLD Formats (i.e: dag-pb, dag-cbor, etc).
  • The Files API uses ipfs-unixfs-engine to import and export files to and from IPFS.
  • Swarm, the component that offers a network API, uses libp2p to dial and listen for connections, use the DHT, discovery mechanisms and more. libp2p-ipfs-nodejs is used in case of running in Node.js and libp2p-ipfs-browser is used in the case of the Browser.


IPFS implementation in JavaScript is a work in progress. As such, there's a few things you can do right now to help out:

  • Go through the modules below and check out existing issues. This would be especially useful for modules in active development. Some knowledge of IPFS may be required, as well as the infrastructure behind it - for instance, you may need to read up on p2p and more complex operations like muxing to be able to help technically.
  • Perform code reviews. More eyes will help a) speed the project along b) ensure quality and c) reduce possible future bugs.
  • Take a look at go-ipfs and some of the planning repositories or issues: for instance, the libp2p spec here. Contributions here that would be most helpful are top-level comments about how it should look based on our understanding. Again, the more eyes the better.
  • Add tests. There can never be enough tests.
  • Contribute to the FAQ repository with any questions you have about IPFS or any of the relevant technology. A good example would be asking, 'What is a merkledag tree?'. If you don't know a term, odds are, someone else doesn't either. Eventually, we should have a good understanding of where we need to improve communications and teaching together to make IPFS and IPN better.

Want to hack on IPFS?