Is it possible to define a global variable with webpack?

var myvar = {};

All of the examples I saw were using external file require("imports?$=jquery!./file.js")

Best Answer

There are several ways to approach globals

  1. Put your variables in a module

Webpack evaluates modules only once, so your instance remains global and carries changes through from module to module. So if you create something like a globals.js and export an object of all your globals then you can import './globals' and read/write to these globals. You can make changes to the object from a function and import them into another module and read them in a function Also remember the order things happen. Webpack will first take all the imports and load them up in order starting in your entry.js . Then it will execute entry.js . So where you read/write to globals is important. Is it in the root scope of a module or a function called later?


export default {
    FOO: 'bar'


import CONFIG from './config.js'
console.log(`FOO: ${CONFIG.FOO}`)

Note: If you want the instance to be new each time, then use an ES6 class. Traditionally in JS you would capitalize classes (as opposed to the lowercase for objects) like
import FooBar from './foo-bar' // <-- Usage: myFooBar = new FooBar()

  1. Webpack's ProvidePlugin

Here's how you can do it using webpack's provideplugin (which makes a module available as a variable in every module and only those modules where you actually use it). This is useful when you don't want to keep typing import Bar from 'foo' again and again. Or you can bring in a package like jQuery or lodash as global here (although you might take a look at Webpack's Externals ).

Step 1 create a module For example, a global set of utilities would be handy.


export function sayHello () {

Step 2 alias the module and add to the provideplugin


var webpack = require("webpack");
var path = require("path");

// ...

module.exports = {

  // ...

  resolve: {
    extensions: ['', '.js'],
    alias: {
      'utils': path.resolve(__dirname, './utils')  // <-- When you build or restart dev-server, you'll get an error if the path to your utils.js file is incorrect.

  plugins: [

    // ...

    new webpack.ProvidePlugin({
      'utils': 'utils'


Now just call utils.sayHello() in any js file and it should work. Make sure you restart your dev-server if you are using that with webpack.

Note: Don't forget to tell your linter about the global, so it won't complain. For example, see my answer for ESLint here.

  1. Use Webpack's DefinePlugin

If you want to use const with strings values for your globals then you can add this plugin to your list of webpack plugins

new webpack.DefinePlugin({
  PRODUCTION: JSON.stringify(true),
  VERSION: JSON.stringify("5fa3b9"),
  TWO: "1+1",
  "typeof window": JSON.stringify("object")

Use it as you want

console.log("Running App version " + VERSION);
if(!BROWSER_SUPPORTS_HTML5) require("html5shiv");
  1. Use the global window object (or Node's global) = 'bar'  // For SPA's, browser environment. = 'bar'  // Webpack will automatically convert this to window if your project is targeted for web (default), read more here:

You'll see this commonly used for polyfills, for example: window.Promise = Bluebird

  1. Use a package like dotenv

(For server side projects) The dotenv package will take a local configuration file (which you could add to your .gitignore if there are any keys/credentials) and adds your configuration variables to Node's process.env object.

// As early as possible in your application, require and configure dotenv.

Create a .env file in the root directory of your project. Add environment-specific variables on new lines in the form of NAME=VALUE . For example.


This is the end of it

process.env now has the keys and values you defined in your .env file.

var db = require('db')
  host: process.env.DB_HOST,
  username: process.env.DB_USER,
  password: process.env.DB_PASS


Regarding Webpack's Externals , use it if you want to exclude some modules from being included in your built bundle. Webpack will make this module globally available but won't put it in your bundle This is handy for big libraries like jQuery (because tree shaking external packages doesn't work in Webpack ) where you have these loaded on your page already in separate script tags (perhaps from a CDN).