How to copy static files to build directory with Webpack?

How to copy static files to build directory with Webpack?

I’m trying to move from Gulp to Webpack. In Gulp I have task which copies all files and folders from /static/ folder to /build/ folder. How to do the same with Webpack? Do I need some plugin?


Solution 1:

You don’t need to copy things around, webpack works different than gulp. Webpack is a module bundler and everything you reference in your files will be included. You just need to specify a loader for that.

So if you write:

var myImage = require("./static/myImage.jpg");

Webpack will first try to parse the referenced file as JavaScript (because that’s the default). Of course, that will fail. That’s why you need to specify a loader for that file type. The file– or url-loader for instance take the referenced file, put it into webpack’s output folder (which should be build in your case) and return the hashed url for that file.

var myImage = require("./static/myImage.jpg");
console.log(myImage); // '/build/12as7f9asfasgasg.jpg'

Usually loaders are applied via the webpack config:

// webpack.config.js

module.exports = {
    module: {
        loaders: [
            { test: /\.(jpe?g|gif|png|svg|woff|ttf|wav|mp3)$/, loader: "file" }

Of course you need to install the file-loader first to make this work.

Solution 2:

Requiring assets using the file-loader module is the way webpack is intended to be used (source). However, if you need greater flexibility or want a cleaner interface, you can also copy static files directly using my copy-webpack-plugin (npm, Github). For your static to build example:

const CopyWebpackPlugin = require('copy-webpack-plugin');

module.exports = {
    context: path.join(__dirname, 'your-app'),
    plugins: [
        new CopyWebpackPlugin([
            { from: 'static' }

Solution 3:

If you want to copy your static files you can use the file-loader in this way :

for html files :

in webpack.config.js :

module.exports = {
    module: {
        loaders: [
            { test: /\.(html)$/,
              loader: "file?name=[path][name].[ext]&context=./app/static"

in your js file :

  require.context("./static/", true, /^\.\/.*\.html/);

./static/ is relative to where your js file is.

You can do the same with images or whatever.
The context is a powerful method to explore !!

Solution 4:

One advantage that the aforementioned copy-webpack-plugin brings that hasn’t been explained before is that all the other methods mentioned here still bundle the resources into your bundle files (and require you to “require” or “import” them somewhere). If I just want to move some images around or some template partials, I don’t want to clutter up my javascript bundle file with useless references to them, I just want the files emitted in the right place. I haven’t found any other way to do this in webpack. Admittedly it’s not what webpack originally was designed for, but it’s definitely a current use case.
(@BreakDS I hope this answers your question – it’s only a benefit if you want it)

Solution 5:

Above suggestions are good. But to try to answer your question directly I’d suggest using cpy-cli in a script defined in your package.json.

This example expects node to somewhere on your path. Install cpy-cli as a development dependency:

npm install --save-dev cpy-cli

Then create a couple of nodejs files. One to do the copy and the other to display a checkmark and message.


#!/usr/bin/env node

var shelljs = require('shelljs');
var addCheckMark = require('./helpers/checkmark');
var path = require('path');

var cpy = path.join(__dirname, '../node_modules/cpy-cli/cli.js');

shelljs.exec(cpy + ' /static/* /build/', addCheckMark.bind(null, callback));

function callback() {
  process.stdout.write(' Copied /static/* to the /build/ directory\n\n');


var chalk = require('chalk');

 * Adds mark check symbol
function addCheckMark(callback) {
  process.stdout.write(' ✓'));

module.exports = addCheckMark;

Add the script in package.json. Assuming scripts are in <project-root>/scripts/

"scripts": {
  "copy": "node scripts/copy.js",

To run the sript:

npm run copy

Solution 6:

Most likely you should use CopyWebpackPlugin which was mentioned in kevlened answer. Alternativly for some kind of files like .html or .json you can also use raw-loader or json-loader. Install it via npm install -D raw-loader and then what you only need to do is to add another loader to our webpack.config.js file.


    test: /\.html/,
    loader: 'raw'

Note: Restart the webpack-dev-server for any config changes to take effect.

And now you can require html files using relative paths, this makes it much easier to move folders around.

template: require('./nav.html')