CORS: Cross Origin Resource Sharing in Node.js

When attempting to access an API backend you will receive a CORS error if the appropriate headers aren’t configured on the http responses.

Blocking CORS is a default security feature of web browsers. Something you may not of encountered prior to attempting to decouple your front and backend servers. Here’s the error:

Access to XMLHttpRequest at ‘http://localhost:3030/’ from origin ‘http://localhost:8080’ has been blocked by CORS policy: No ‘Access-Control-Allow-Origin’ header is present on the requested resource.

Initially you might think something’s wrong with the front-end request, this isn’t the case. There’s nothing to be done on the front-end to solve this. The issue is on the backend, and luckily it’s an easy fix.

Allowing CORS requires some headers be added to the backend http responses.

Using NodeJS Express:

// FILE: app.js


app.use((req,res,next) => {
    res.setHeader('Access-Control-Allow-Origin', '*');
    // You may also want to include other HTTP methods, PUT, PATCH, DELETE etc.
    res.setHeader('Access-Control-Allow-Methods', 'GET, POST');
    res.setHeader('Access-Control-Allow-Headers', 'Content-Type, Authorization');

...Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Using NPM Middleware:

A Node Middleware has been created specifically to make this task even easier.

From your CLI:

$ npm install cors --save

Include these line in your app.js file:

// Near the top
const cors = require('cors');
// Somewhere after var app = express();
app.use(cors());Code language: PHP (php)

Read more about this package at npm.


This article has focused on dealing with CORS from a Node Express API, however the mentioned headers are relevant to any server side systems.

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