Git ignore node modules (.gitignore for node_modules)

2 min read
git node modules


When working with Node.js projects, managing the size and efficiency of your Git repository is crucial. One of the essential practices in this regard is ignoring unnecessary files, particularly the node_modules directory. This directory can become quite large, as it contains all the dependencies your project needs, which are already managed by your package.json and package-lock.json files.

Key Takeaways

  • The .gitignore file is used to ignore files and folders in git.
  • Add node_modules to your .gitignore file to ignore node modules.

What is .gitignore?

.gitignore is a text file in your Git repository that tells Git which files or directories to ignore in a project. It’s a crucial tool for keeping your repository clean and avoiding the upload of unnecessary or sensitive files to remote repositories.

Purpose of .gitignore

  • Prevents unnecessary files from being tracked by Git.
  • Helps maintain a clean and manageable repository size.
  • Protects sensitive data from being exposed.

Why Ignore node_modules?

The node_modules folder can be quite large, as it contains all the packages installed for your project. Including it in your Git repository can make cloning and pulling operations slow, and increase the repository size unnecessarily, and often, there’s no need to track changes in these files as they’re managed by your package manager.

Benefits of Ignoring node_modules

  • Faster repository operations.
  • Reduced repository size.
  • Easier collaboration and cleaner pull requests.

How to Ignore node_modules in Git

Create a .gitignore File:

  • In your project root, create a file named .gitignore.

Specify node_modules:

  • Open .gitignore and add the following line:
  • This tells Git to ignore the entire node_modules directory.

Commit .gitignore:

  • Commit your .gitignore file to your repository:
  • git add .gitignore && git commit -m “Add .gitignore with node_modules”

Effect on Existing Repositories:

  • If node_modules was previously committed, you need to remove it:
  • git rm -r –cached node_modules && git commit -m “Remove node_modules”


Ignoring node_modules is a best practice in Node.js Git repositories. It helps in keeping your Git operations efficient, your repository size manageable, and your codebase clean. Always ensure that your .gitignore file is up-to-date with all unnecessary or sensitive files and directories specified.

Remember, while it’s important to keep your repository lean, always ensure that essential files are tracked to avoid any disruptions in your development workflow. If you’re looking for more best practices in managing Node.js projects or need assistance with Git and version control, consider exploring Flatirons’ software development services. Our team can help streamline your development process and ensure best practices are followed in your projects.

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