2.5.1 • Public • Published
  • Copy from segmentio/nightmare to add experimental support to iframes an automatic waiting for actions like clicking, checking, etc.
  • Uses electron ^1.0.0.
  • Mutates/extends the Nightmare object, adds code to preload.js to support iframes and some changes in files to be compatible with meteor's nodejs version (see nightmare-update file for additional info).
  • Adds a couple of utility functions (see index.js).

Build Status Nightmare

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Nightmare is a high-level browser automation library.

The goal is to expose just a few simple methods, and have an API that feels synchronous for each block of scripting, rather than deeply nested callbacks. It's designed for automating tasks across sites that don't have APIs.

Under the covers it uses Electron, which is similar to PhantomJS but faster and more modern.

Daydream is a complementary chrome extension built by @stevenmiller888 that generates Nightmare scripts for you while you browse.

Many thanks to @matthewmueller and @rosshinkley for their help on Nightmare.


Let's search on Yahoo:

var Nightmare = require('nightmare');
var nightmare = Nightmare({ show: true })
  .type('form[action*="/search"] [name=p]', 'github nightmare')
  .click('form[action*="/search"] [type=submit]')
  .evaluate(function () {
    return document.querySelector('#main .searchCenterMiddle li a').href
  .then(function (result) {
  .catch(function (error) {
    console.error('Search failed:', error);

You can run this with:

npm install nightmare
node example.js

Or, let's run some mocha tests:

var Nightmare = require('nightmare');
var expect = require('chai').expect; // jshint ignore:line
describe('test yahoo search results', function() {
  it('should find the nightmare github link first', function*() {
    var nightmare = Nightmare()
    var link = yield nightmare
      .type('form[action*="/search"] [name=p]', 'github nightmare')
      .click('form[action*="/search"] [type=submit]')
      .evaluate(function () {
        return document.querySelector('#main .searchCenterMiddle li a').href

You can see examples of every function in the tests here.

Please note that the examples are using the mocha-generators package for Mocha, which enables the support for generators.

To install dependencies

npm install

To run the mocha tests

npm test

Node versions

Nightmare is intended to be run on NodeJS 4.x or higher.



Create a new instance that can navigate around the web. The available options are documented here, along with the following nightmare-specific options.


Returns the version of Nightmare.

waitTimeout (default: 30s)

This will throw an exception if the .wait() didn't return true within the set timeframe.

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  waitTimeout: 1000 // in ms
gotoTimeout (default: 30s)

This will throw an exception if the .goto() didn't finish loading within the set timeframe. Note that, even though goto normally waits for all the resources on a page to load, a timeout exception is only raised if the DOM itself has not yet loaded.

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  gotoTimeout: 1000 // in ms

The default system paths that Electron knows about. Here's a list of available paths:

You can overwrite them in Nightmare by doing the following:

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  paths: {
    userData: '/user/data'

The command line switches used by the Chrome browser that are also supported by Electron. Here's a list of supported Chrome command line switches:

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  switches: {
    'proxy-server': '',
    'ignore-certificate-errors': true

The path to prebuilt Electron binary. This is useful for testing on different version Electron. Note that Nightmare only supports the version this package depending on. Please use this option at your own risk.

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  electronPath: require('electron-prebuilt')
dock (OS X)

A boolean to optionally show the Electron icon in the dock (defaults to false). This is useful for testing purposes.

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  dock: true

Optionally show the DevTools in the Electron window using true, or use an object hash containing detatch to show in a separate window. The hash gets passed to webContents.openDevTools() to be handled. This is also useful for testing purposes. Note that this option is honored only if show is set to true.

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  openDevTools: true,
  show: true


Gets the versions for Electron and Chromium.


Set the useragent used by electron.

.authentication(user, password)

Set the user and password for accessing a web page using basic authentication. Be sure to set it before calling .goto(url).


Complete any queue operations, disconnect and close the electron process.

Interact with the Page

.goto(url[, headers])

Load the page at url. Optionally, a headers hash can be supplied to set headers on the goto request.

When a page load is successful, goto returns an object with metadata about the page load, including:

  • url: The URL that was loaded
  • code: The HTTP status code (e.g. 200, 404, 500)
  • method: The HTTP method used (e.g. "GET", "POST")
  • referrer: The page that the window was displaying prior to this load or an empty string if this is the first page load.
  • headers: An object representing the response headers for the request as in {header1-name: header1-value, header2-name: header2-value}

If the page load fails, the error will be an object wit the following properties:

Note that any valid response from a server is considered “successful.” That means things like 404 “not found” errors are successful results for goto. Only things that would cause no page to appear in the browser window, such as no server responding at the given address, the server hanging up in the middle of a response, or invalid URLs, are errors.

You can also adjust how long goto will wait before timing out by setting the gotoTimeout option on the Nightmare constructor.


Go back to the previous page.


Go forward to the next page.


Refresh the current page.


Clicks the selector element once.


Mousedown the selector element once.

.type(selector[, text])

Enters the text provided into the selector element. Empty or falsey values provided for text will clear the selector's value.

.type() mimics a user typing in a textbox and will emit the proper keyboard events

Key presses can also be fired using Unicode values with .type(). For example, if you wanted to fire an enter key press, you would write .type('document', '\u000d').

If you don't need the keyboard events, consider using .insert() instead as it will be faster and more robust.

.insert(selector[, text])

Similar to .type(). .insert() enters the text provided into the selector element. Empty or falsey values provided for text will clear the selector's value.

.insert() is faster than .type() but does not trigger the keyboard events.


checks the selector checkbox element.


unchecks the selector checkbox element.

.select(selector, option)

Changes the selector dropdown element to the option with attribute [value=option]

.scrollTo(top, left)

Scrolls the page to desired position. top and left are always relative to the top left corner of the document.

.viewport(width, height)

Set the viewport size.

.inject(type, file)

Inject a local file onto the current page. The file type must be either js or css.

.evaluate(fn[, arg1, arg2,...])

Invokes fn on the page with arg1, arg2,.... All the args are optional. On completion it returns the return value of fn. Useful for extracting information from the page. Here's an example:

var selector = 'h1';
var text = yield nightmare
  .evaluate(function (selector) {
    // now we're executing inside the browser scope.
    return document.querySelector(selector).innerText;
   }, selector); // <-- that's how you pass parameters from Node scope to browser scope


Wait for ms milliseconds e.g. .wait(5000)


Wait until the element selector is present e.g. .wait('#pay-button')

.wait(fn[, arg1, arg2,...])

Wait until the fn evaluated on the page with arg1, arg2,... returns true. All the args are optional. See .evaluate() for usage.

.header([header, value])

Add a header override for all HTTP requests. If header is undefined, the header overrides will be reset.

Extract from the Page


Returns whether the selector exists or not on the page.


Returns whether the selector is visible or not

.on(event, callback)

Capture page events with the callback. You have to call .on() before calling .goto(). Supported events are documented here.

Additional "page" events
.on('page', function(type="error", message, stack))

This event is triggered if any javascript exception is thrown on the page. But this event is not triggered if the injected javascript code (e.g. via .evaluate()) is throwing an exception.

"page" events

Listen for window.addEventListener('error'), alert(...), prompt(...) & confirm(...).

.on('page', function(type="error", message, stack))

Listen for top-level page errors. This will get triggered when an error is thrown on the page.

.on('page', function(type="alert", message))

Nightmare disables window.alert from popping up by default, but you can still listen for the contents of the alert dialog.

.on('page', function(type="prompt", message, response))

Nightmare disables window.prompt from popping up by default, but you can still listen for the message to come up. If you need to handle the confirmation differently, you'll need to use your own preload script.

.on('page', function(type="confirm", message, response))

Nightmare disables window.confirm from popping up by default, but you can still listen for the message to come up. If you need to handle the confirmation differently, you'll need to use your own preload script.

.on('console', function(type [, arguments, ...]))

type will be either log, warn or error and arguments are what gets passed from the console.

Additional "console" events

Listen for console.log(...), console.warn(...), and console.error(...).

.on('console', function(type [, arguments, ...]))

type will be either log, warn or error and arguments are what gets passed from the console.

.on('console', function(type, errorMessage, errorStack))

This event is triggered if console.log is used on the page. But this event is not triggered if the injected javascript code (e.g. via .evaluate()) is using console.log.

.once(event, callback)

Similar to .on(), but captures page events with the callback one time.

.removeListener(event, callback)

Removes a given listener callback for an event.

.screenshot([path][, clip])

Takes a screenshot of the current page. Useful for debugging. The output is always a png. Both arguments are optional. If path is provided, it saves the image to the disk. Otherwise it returns a Buffer of the image data. If clip is provided (as documented here), the image will be clipped to the rectangle.

.html(path, saveType)

Save the current page as html as files to disk at the given path. Save type options are here.

.pdf(path, options)

Saves a PDF to the specified path. Options are here.


Returns the title of the current page.


Returns the url of the current page.



Get a cookie by it's name. The url will be the current url.


Query multiple cookies with the query object. If a is set, it will return the first cookie it finds with that name, otherwise it will query for an array of cookies. If no query.url is set, it will use the current url. Here's an example:

// get all google cookies that are secure
// and have the path `/query`
var cookies = yield nightmare
    path: '/query',
    secure: true

Available properties are documented here:


Get all the cookies for the current url. If you'd like get all cookies for all urls, use: .get({ url: null }).

.cookies.set(name, value)

Set a cookie's name and value. Most basic form, the url will be the current url.


Set a cookie. If cookie.url is not set, it will set the cookie on the current url. Here's an example:

yield nightmare
    name: 'token',
    value: 'some token',
    path: '/query',
    secure: true

Available properties are documented here:


Set multiple cookies at once. cookies is an array of cookie objects. Take a look at the .cookies.set(cookie) documentation above for a better idea of what cookie should look like.


Clear a cookie for the current domain. If name is not specified, all cookies for the current domain will be cleared.

yield nightmare

Extending Nightmare

Nightmare.action(name, [electronAction|electronNamespace], action|namespace)

You can add your own custom actions to the Nightmare prototype. Here's an example:

Nightmare.action('size', function (done) {
  this.evaluate_now(function() {
    var w = Math.max(document.documentElement.clientWidth, window.innerWidth || 0)
    var h = Math.max(document.documentElement.clientHeight, window.innerHeight || 0)
    return {
      height: h,
      width: w
  }, done)
var size = yield Nightmare()

Remember, this is attached to the static class Nightmare, not the instance.

You'll notice we used an internal function evaluate_now. This function is different than nightmare.evaluate because it runs it immediately, whereas nightmare.evaluate is queued.

An easy way to remember: when in doubt, use evaluate. If you're creating custom actions, use evaluate_now. The technical reason is that since our action has already been queued and we're running it now, we shouldn't re-queue the evaluate function.

We can also create custom namespaces. We do this internally for nightmare.cookies.get and nightmare.cookies.set. These are useful if you have a bundle of actions you want to expose, but it will clutter up the main nightmare object. Here's an example of that:

Nightmare.action('style', {
  background: function (done) {
    this.evaluate_now(function () {
      return window.getComputedStyle(document.body, null).backgroundColor
    }, done)
var background = yield Nightmare()

You can also add custom Electron actions. The additional Electron action or namespace actions take name, options, parent, win, renderer, and done. Note the Electron action comes first, mirroring how .evaluate() works. For example:

  function(name, options, parent, win, renderer, done) {
    parent.respondTo('clearCache', function(done) {
  function(message, done) {'clearCache', done);
yield Nightmare()

...would clear the browser’s cache before navigating to


nightmare.use is useful for reusing a set of tasks on an instance. Check out nightmare-swiftly for some examples.

Custom preload script

If you need to do something custom when you first load the window environment, you can specify a custom preload script. Here's how you do that:

var nightmare = Nightmare({
  webPreferences: {
    preload: custom-script.js

The only requirement for that script is that you'll need the following prelude:

window.__nightmare = {};
__nightmare.ipc = require('ipc');



Nightmare is a Node.js module, so you'll need to have Node.js installed. Then you just need to npm install the module:

$ npm install --save nightmare


Nightmare is a node module that can be used in a Node.js script or module. Here's a simple script to open a web page:

var Nightmare = require('nightmare'),
  nightmare = Nightmare();
    return document.title;

If you save this as cnn.js, you can run it on the command line like this:

npm install nightmare
node cnn.js


There are three good ways to get more information about what's happening inside the headless browser:

  1. Use the DEBUG=* flag described below.
  2. Pass { show: true } to the nightmare constructor to have it create a visible, rendered window that you can watch what's happening.
  3. Listen for specific events.

To run the same file with debugging output, run it like this DEBUG=nightmare node cnn.js (on Windows use set DEBUG=nightmare & node cnn.js).

This will print out some additional information about what's going on:

  nightmare queueing action "goto" +0ms
  nightmare queueing action "evaluate" +4ms
  Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News -
Debug Flags

All nightmare messages


Only actions


Only logs



Automated tests for nightmare itself are run using Mocha and Chai, both of which will be installed via npm install. To run nightmare's tests, just run make test.

When the tests are done, you'll see something like this:

make test
  18 passing (1m)

Note that if you are using xvfb, make test will automatically run the tests under an xvfb-run wrapper. If you are planning to run the tests headlessly without running xvfb first, set the HEADLESS environment variable to 0.

License (MIT)

 W W W||W W W
    ( OO )__________
     /  |           \
    /o o|    MIT     \
    \___/||_||__||_|| *
         || ||  || ||
        _||_|| _||_||

Copyright (c) 2015, Inc.

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the 'Software'), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.




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