1.1.1 • Public • Published


oembetter is a modern oembed client which allows you to add filters that provide or improve oembed support for services that either don't have it or don't do it very well.

oembetter fully supports the oembed standard including both XML and JSON responses from servers, and delivers the result as a neatly parsed JavaScript object.

oembetter also allows you to allowlist trusted oembed domains. We strongly recommend this to prevent session cookie theft and other attacks.

oembetter intentionally sticks to the oembed standard so you can use it to implement straightforward proxies that provide "better oembed."

Basic Usage

const oembetter = require('oembetter')();

oembetter.fetch(url, function(err, response) {
  if (!err) {
    // thumbnail_url points to an image

    // response.html contains markup to embed the video or
    // whatever it might be

oembetter is not restricted to handling responses of type video. See the oembed documentation for other response types that may come down the pipe.

Usage with maxwidth and maxheight

You can pass an object containing maxwidth and maxheight options. Sites vary in how well they support them.

const oembetter = require('oembetter')();

oembetter.fetch(url, { maxwidth: 480, maxheight: 480 }, function(err, response) {
  if (!err) {
    // response.html contains markup to embed the video or
    // whatever it might be

Usage with custom headers

You may pass on custom headers to be included in all HTTP requests made by oembetter. Referer is particularly useful to ensure that Vimeo allows you to embed videos when they are private and embedding is restricted on a per-domain basis:

const oembetter = require('oembetter')();

oembetter.fetch('https://vimeo.com/abc/def', {
  headers: {
    'Referer': 'https://example.com'
}, function(err, response) {
  if (!err) {
    // response.html contains markup to embed the video

Important security note: allowlisting

Trusting oembed completely isn't safe for your users, especially if you are allowing untrusted users to embed things. The HTML returned by third party sites could do nasty things like running JavaScript that sniffs user sessions or just displaying a fake login prompt.

But sites like YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr do play nicely with others. So we use a allowlist to decide which domains are OK:

oembetter.allowlist([ 'youtube.com', 'vimeo.com', 'wufoo.com' ]);

Just list acceptable domain names and oembetter will make sure URLs are in one of those domains (or a subdomain) before doing anything else. If not, an error is delivered to the callback.

For your convenience, there is a standard allowlist available. Use it at your own risk:


Suggesting Endpoints

Some services support oembed but aren't discoverable. You can tell oembetter where to point for the oembed api by passing in an array of endpoints.

  { domain: 'instagram.com', endpoint: 'http://api.instagram.com/oembed' },
  { domain: 'facebook.com', path: /\/videos\//, endpoint: 'https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video/oembed.json/' },

There is also a list of suggested endpoints which you can elect to use:


(Hint: you can concatenate an additional array with your own endpoints if desired.)

Adding Filters

Filtering before the oembed request

Some services don't support oembed. In these cases you'll want to fake it by providing a filter that substitutes its own response.

Other services support oembed, but only for certain URLs. In these cases you'll want to change the URL that oembed will use.

Pass a function to the addBefore method. This function will receive the URL, the options object (which might contain maxwidth and maxheight), the response so far (usually undefined at this point), and a callback function. Your function should invoke the callback with an error if any, and a new URL, options object and response object if desired. You may also modify the objects you are given and skip passing any arguments to the callback.

"When would response already be defined?" If another before filter has already suggested one, you'll see it even though we haven't made a real oembed call yet.

If any filter provides a response object, then an actual oembed call is not made. Not all before filters do this. Some just change the URL.

Your filter must begin by making sure this URL is relevant to its interests.

Here's an example: hootenanny.com (yes, I made it up) has pages like /pages/50.html. We know each one has a thumbnail at /thumbnails/50.jpg and a video page suitable for iframes at /videos/50. Let's create our own oembed response since hootenanny.com doesn't support it.

oembetter.addBefore(function(url, options, response, callback) {
  const parsed = new URL(url);
  if (!oembetter.inDomain('hootenanny.com', parsed.hostname)) {
    return setImmediate(callback);
  const matches = parsed.pathname.match(/pages\/(\d+).html/);
  if (!matches) {
    return setImmediate(callback);
  const id = matches[1];
  const newResponse = {
    thumbnail_url: 'http://hootenanny.com/thumbnails/' + id + '.jpg',
    html: '<iframe src="http://hootenanny.com/videos/' + id + '"></iframe>'
  return callback(null, url, options, newResponse);

You can also write a filter that just adjusts URLs. This filter knows that wiggypants.com URLs will work better if we point them at jiggypants.com:

oembetter.addBefore(function(url, options, response, callback) {
  const parsed = new URL(url);
  if (!oembetter.inDomain('wiggypants.com', parsed.hostname)) {
    return setImmediate(callback);
  url = url.replace(/wiggypants\.com/g, 'jiggypants.com');
  return callback(null, url);

Filtering after the oembed request

Some services support oembed, but not quite well enough. So you want to make a small adjustment to the standard response. You want an after filter.

Here's an async filter that makes sure YouTube's embed codes use wmode=opaque and also upgrades to a high-res thumbnail if possible.

oembetter.addAfter(function(url, options, response, callback) {
  if (!url.match(/youtube/)) {
    return setImmediate(callback);

  // Fix YouTube iframes to use wmode=opaque so they don't
  // ignore z-index in Windows Chrome
  response.html = response.html.replace('feature=oembed', 'feature=oembed&wmode=opaque');

  // Change thumbnail to be largest available if it exists
  const maxResImage = result.thumbnail_url.replace('hqdefault.jpg', 'maxresdefault.jpg');

  return request.head(maxResImage, function(err, httpResponse) {
    if (response.statusCode < 400) {
      result.thumbnail_url = maxResImage;
    return callback(null);

This filter modifies the result object directly. You may also pass a new result object as the second argument to the callback.

Fallback filters: when all else fails

after filters are only called if there is a response.

If you wish to provide a fallback solution for cases where there is no response from oembed, use a fallback filter.

This only makes sense when you're hopeful that oembed will work some of the time. If not, write a before filter that supplies its own response.

// "fallback" filter can create a response when oembed fails
oembetter.addFallback(function(url, options, callback) {
  const parsed = new URL(url);
  if (!oembetter.inDomain('wonkypants83742938.com', parsed.hostname)) {
    return setImmediate(callback);
  return callback(null, { html: 'so wonky' });

About P'unk Avenue and ApostropheCMS

oembetter was created at P'unk Avenue for use in many projects built with ApostropheCMS, an open-source content management system built on node.js. oembetter isn't mandatory for Apostrophe and vice versa, but they play very well together. If you like oembetter you should definitely check out Apostrophe.

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