VS Code - debug Express.js under Node.js server

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In this short article, we would like to show how to configure VS Code to debug Express.js applications.

Quick solution (create the following .vscode/launch.json configuration file):

    "version": "0.2.0",
    "configurations": [
            "command": "node index.js",
            "name": "My Backend",
            "request": "launch",
            "type": "node-terminal"

Hint: you can change "node index.js" to "nodemon index.js" to debug Expess.js with nodemon.


VS Code debugger used with Express.js application.
VS Code debugger used with Express.js application.

Project structure

 +-- back-end/
      +-- .vscode/
      |    |
      |    +-- launch.json
      +-- node_modules/
      +-- index.js
      +-- package-lock.json
      +-- package.json

index.js file:

const express = require('express');

const port = 3000;
const app = express();

app.get('/test', (request, response) => {
    response.send('This is test...');

app.listen(port, () => {
    console.log(`Server is listening at ${port} port.`);

package.json file:

  "name": "back-end",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1",
    "start": "node index.js",
    "dev": "nodemon index.js"
  "keywords": [],
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC",
  "dependencies": {
    "express": "^4.17.1",
    "nodemon": "^2.0.12"

Node.js packages should be installed with the following command:

npm ci install

Where: ci parameter runs installation without changing the version of the used packages.

See also

  1. VS Code - debug js file with Node.js
  2. VS Code - debug with npm run

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