How to Delete a File or Directory in Node.js

Updated: July 12, 2022 By: Augustus Post a comment

This article shows you a couple of different ways to remove a file or a directory using Node.js. We’ll use modern Javascript (ES6 and newer) and the latest features provided by Node.js core. No third-party libraries need to be installed.

Removing FIles

Using fsPromises.unlink() with async/await

Nowadays developers often prefer to use async/await over callback functions.


import fsPromises from 'fs/promises'

// for CommonJS, use this:
// const fsPromises = require("fs/promises");

const deleteFile = async (filePath) => {
  try {
    await fsPromises.unlink(filePath);
    console.log('Successfully removed file!');
  } catch (err) {

// Try it
const filePath = "./";  

If the file exists, you will see this:

Successfully removed file!

Otherwise, the output should look like this:

[Error: ENOENT: no such file or directory, unlink './'] {
  errno: -2,
  code: 'ENOENT',
  syscall: 'unlink',
  path: './'

Using fs.unlink() and fs.unlinkSync()

You can use the unlink() method from the fs module to asynchronously unlink a file. There is no need to check whether the file exists before executing deletion.


import fs from 'fs'

// for CommonJS, use this:
// const fs = require("fs");

const filePath = "./kindacode.jpeg";

fs.unlink(filePath, (err) => {
  if (err && err.code == "ENOENT") {"Error! File doesn't exist.");
  } else if (err) {
    console.error("Something went wrong. Please try again later.");
  } else {`Successfully removed file with the path of ${filePath}`);

If you want to synchronously unlink a file, use the unlinkSync() method instead:

import fs from 'fs';
const filePath = 'path-to-your-file'; 

Removing Directories

Using fsPromises.rmdir() with async/await

If you want to delete a folder and all files and subfolders inside it, you can use fsPromises.rmdir() with the recursive: true option, like this:

import fsPromises from "fs/promises";
/* Other code go here */
fsPromises.rmdir(dirPath, { recursive: true });

If you only want to remove an empty folder, just set recursive to false.

Full Example:

import fsPromises from "fs/promises";

// Delete a directory and its children
const removeDirectory = async (dirPath) => {
  try {
    await fsPromises.rm(dirPath, { recursive: true });
    console.log("Directory removed!");
  } catch (err) {

const dir = "./some";

Using fs.rm() and fs.rmSync()

If you like the old-fashioned callback things of Node.js, you can use the rm() method to asynchronously remove a directory or use the rmSync() method to synchronously remove a directory.


import fs from 'fs'

const dir1 = "./some-dir";
fs.rmdir(dir1, (err) => {
  if (err) {

const dir2 = "./kindacode-directory";
// Delete dir2 and its child files or sub directories
fs.rmdirSync(dir2, { recursive: true }); 


We’ve walked through a few examples of deleting files and directories in Node.js. If you’d like to learn more interesting stuff about this Javascript runtime, take a look at the following articles:

You can also check out our Node.js category page or PHP category page for the latest tutorials and examples.

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