Node.js – SyntaxError: Unexpected token import

Node.js – SyntaxError: Unexpected token import

I don’t understand what is wrong.
Node v5.6.0
NPM v3.10.6
The code:

function (exports, require, module, __filename, __dirname) {
import express from ‘express’

The error:
SyntaxError: Unexpected token import
at exports.runInThisContext (vm.js:53:16)
at Module._compile (module.js:387:25)
at Object.Module._extensions..js (module.js:422:10)
at Module.load (module.js:357:32)
at Function.Module._load (module.js:314:12)
at Function.Module.runMain (module.js:447:10)
at startup (node.js:140:18)
at node.js:1001:3


Solution 1:

Update: In Node 9, it is enabled behind a flag, and uses the .mjs extension.

node --experimental-modules my-app.mjs

While import is indeed part of ES6, it is unfortunately not yet supported in NodeJS by default, and has only very recently landed support in browsers.

See browser compat table on MDN and this Node issue.

From James M Snell’s Update on ES6 Modules in Node.js (February 2017):

Work is in progress but it is going to take some time — We’re currently looking at around a year at least.

Until support shows up natively, you’ll have to continue using classic require statements:

const express = require("express");

If you really want to use new ES6/7 features in NodeJS, you can compile it using Babel. Here’s an example server.

Solution 2:

Unfortunately, Node.js doesn’t support ES6’s import yet.

To accomplish what you’re trying to do (import the Express module), this code should suffice

var express = require("express");

Also, be sure you have Express installed by running

$ npm install express

See the Node.js Docs for more information about learning Node.js.

Solution 3:

Error: SyntaxError: Unexpected token import or SyntaxError: Unexpected token export

Solution: Change all your imports as example

const express 				= require('express');
const webpack				= require('webpack');
const path				= require('path');
const config				= require('../');
const open 				= require('open');

And also change your export default = foo; to module.exports = foo;

Solution 4:

As mentioned in other answers Node JS currently doesn’t support ES6 imports

(As of now, read EDIT 2)

Enable ES6 imports in node js provides a solution to this issue. I have tired this and it worked for me.

Run the command:

    npm install babel-register babel-preset-env --save-dev

Now you need to create a new file(config.js) and add the following code to it.

        presets: [ 'env' ]
    // Import the rest of our application.
    module.exports = require('./your_server_file.js')

Now you can write import statements without getting any errors.

Hope this helps.


You need to run the new file which you created with above code. In my case it was config.js. So i have to run:

    node config.js


While experimenting, I found one easy solution to this issue.

Create .babelrc file in the root of your project.

Add following(and any other babel presets you need, can be added in this file):

        "presets": ["env"]

Install babel-preset-env using command npm install babel-preset-env --save, and then install babel-cli using command npm install babel-cli -g --save

Now, go to the folder where your server or index file exists and run using:
babel-node fileName.js

Or you can run using npm start by adding following code to your package.json file:

    "scripts": {
        "start": "babel-node src/index.js"

Solution 5:

In case that you still can’t use “import” here is how I handled it:
Just translate it to a node friendly require. Example:

import { parse } from 'node-html-parser';

Is the same as:

const parse = require('node-html-parser').parse;

Solution 6:

if you can use ‘babel’, try to add build scripts in package.json(–presets=es2015) as below. it make to precompile import code to es2015

"build": "babel server --out-dir build --presets=es2015 && webpack"