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1.3.0 • Public • Published

Webpack Chrome Extension Reloader

A Webpack plugin to enable hot reloading while developing Chrome extensions.

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npm install webpack-chrome-extension-reloader --save-dev


yarn add webpack-chrome-extension-reloader --dev

Solution for ...

Have your ever being annoyed while developing a Google Chrome extension, and being unable to use webpack-hot-server because it's not a web app but a browser extension?

Well, now you can do hot reloading!

What it does?

Basically something similar to what the webpack hot reload middleware does. When you change the code and the webpack trigger and finish the compilation, your extension is notified and then reloaded using the chrome.runtime API. Check out Hot reloading Chrome extensions using Webpack for more background.

How to use

Using as a plugin

Add webpack-chrome-extension-reloader to the plugins section of your webpack configuration file.

const ChromeExtensionReloader  = require('webpack-chrome-extension-reloader');
plugins: [
    new ChromeExtensionReloader()

You can also set some options (the following are the default ones):

// webpack.dev.js
module.exports = {
  mode: "development", // The plugin is activated only if mode is set to development
  watch: true,
  entry: {
      'content-script': './my-content-script.js',
      background: './my-background-script.js'
  plugins: [
      new ChromeExtensionReloader({
        port: 9090, // Which port use to create the server
        reloadPage: true, // Force the reload of the page also
        entries: { // The entries used for the content/background scripts
          contentScript: 'content-script', // Use the entry names, not the file name or the path
          background: 'background' // *REQUIRED

And then just run your application with Webpack in watch mode:

NODE_ENV=development webpack --config myconfig.js --mode=development --watch 

Important: You need to set --mode=development to activate the plugin (only if you didn't set on the webpack.config.js already) then you need to run with --watch, as the plugin will be able to sign the extension only if webpack triggers the rebuild (again, only if you didn't set on webpack.config).

Multiple Content Script support

If you use more than one content script in your extension, like:

entry: {
    'my-first-content-script': './my-first-content-script.js',
    'my-second-content-script': './my-second-content-script.js',
    // and so on ...
    background: './my-background-script.js'

You can use the entries.contentScript options as an array:

plugins: [
    new ChromeExtensionReloader({
      entries: { 
        contentScript: ['my-first-content-script', 'my-second-content-script', /* and so on ... */],
        background: 'background'


If you don't want all the plugin setup, you can just use the client that comes with the package.
You can use by intalling the package globably, or directly using npx after installing locally the plugin:

npx wcer

If you run directly, it will use the default configurations, but if you want to customize you can call it with the following options:

npx wcer --config wb.config.js --port 9080 --no-page-reload --content-script my-content.js --background bg.js 

If you have multiple content scripts, just use comma (with no spaces) while passing the option

npx wcer --content-script my-first-content.js,my-second-content.js,my-third-content.js 

Client options

name default description
--help Shows this help
--config webpack.config.js The webpack configuration file path
--port 9090 The port to run the server
--content-script content-script The entry/entries name(s) for the content script(s)
--background background The entry name for the background script
--no-page-reload Disable the auto reloading of all pages which runs the plugin

Every time webpack triggers a compilation, the extension reloader are going to do the hot reload :)
Note: the plugin only works on development mode, so don't forget to set the NODE_ENV before run the command above


Please before opening any issue or pull request check the contribution guide.

Building and Testing

Inside this repository have an example plugin, so you can test and see it working After clone the repo, run:

yarn build

And then run:

yarn sample

This will make the webpack run in watch mode for the sample plugin source and output the built files on the "dist" directory. Load the extension (the files in "sample/dist" directory) in Chrome using the "load unpacked extension", open a new tab in any site and open the developer panel on it. Watch the dev. tools console tab, and do some changes on the background or content script. Voila!

Note: You must have both background and content scripts for this plugin to work, and they must be specified in separate entry chunks in your webpack config.

The reloading script will be injected only on the main entries chunks (in background and content script). Any other chunks will be ignored.


This project is under the MIT LICENSE

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  • rubenspgcavalcante