Babel register

The require hook will bind itself to node's require and automatically compile files on the fly.

One of the ways you can use Babel is through the require hook. The require hook will bind itself to node’s require and automatically compile files on the fly. This is equivalent to CoffeeScript’s coffee-script/register.


npm install babel-register --save-dev



All subsequent files required by node with the extensions .es6, .es, .jsx and .js will be transformed by Babel.

Polyfill not included

You must include the polyfill separately when using features that require it, like generators.

Ignores node_modules by default

NOTE: By default all requires to node_modules will be ignored. You can override this by passing an ignore regex via:

  // This will override `node_modules` ignoring - you can alternatively pass
  // an array of strings to be explicitly matched or a regex / glob
  ignore: false

Specifying options

  // Optional ignore regex - if any filenames **do** match this regex then they
  // aren't compiled.
  ignore: /regex/,

  // Ignore can also be specified as a function.
  ignore: function(filename) {
    if (filename === "/path/to/es6-file.js") {
      return false;
    } else {
      return true;

  // Optional only regex - if any filenames **don't** match this regex then they
  // aren't compiled
  only: /my_es6_folder/,

  // Setting this will remove the currently hooked extensions of .es6, `.es`, `.jsx`
  // and .js so you'll have to add them back if you want them to be used again.
  extensions: [".es6", ".es", ".jsx", ".js"],

  // Setting this to false will disable the cache.
  cache: true

You can pass in all other options as well, including plugins and presets. But note that the closest .babelrc to each file still applies, and takes precedence over any options you pass in here.

Environment variables

By default babel-node and babel-register will save to a json cache in your temporary directory.

This will heavily improve with the startup and compilation of your files. There are however scenarios where you want to change this behaviour and there are environment variables exposed to allow you to do this.


Specify a different cache location.

BABEL_CACHE_PATH=/foo/my-cache.json babel-node script.js


Disable the cache.

BABEL_DISABLE_CACHE=1 babel-node script.js

© 2018 Sebastian McKenzie
Licensed under the MIT License.