Expressive way to handle errors in expressjs

When you have created new express project, the errors get handled a bit differently in dev mode and in production mode. In development mode the errors are show in express error template with some error stack if showStack is set to true. But in production mode you will be shown as less as you need the ‘Internal Server Error’ on plain text page. Here is our plan to make the production side errors more fancier and keep the development side informative.

First take of the production mode default error handling.

app.configure('production', function(){

Add app.error which will be run on if error is caught. I have already created views for errors which needs some customization on jade template.

app.error(function(err, req, res, next){
  if (err instanceof NotFound) {
    res.render('error/404.jade', { title: 'Not found 404' });
  } else {
    res.render('error/500.jade', { title: 'Error', error: err });

And in the end of app.js, added the /* router which routes all the unknown pages to 404 page by throwing NotFound errror. So by going to url like this localhost:3000/path/that/does/not/exist does not lead you to the some GET that route does not exist, but into 404 page.

// The 404
app.get('/*', function(req, res){
    throw new NotFound;

function NotFound(msg){ = 'NotFound';, msg);
    Error.captureStackTrace(this, arguments.callee);

Running now the server in production mode NODE_ENV=production node app.js, should give on visiting unknown page this:

And on the 500 error which are thrown when user tries to go in /add/post page without permission:

This is one way to handle the errors in expressjs, if you know any better methods feel free to post. The code is also added into github.


One thought on “Expressive way to handle errors in expressjs

  1. Hi ! Just wanted to give 2 things : a correction and a better way.
    – The correction : in your app.error callback, you should definitely set the error code. Using the Express 3 API (not sure it’s the same in Express 2) it looks like : `res.status(400).send(‘error/404.jade’, { your: params })`. Notice the `.status(400)`, it’s chainable. Do the same for error 500 as well.
    – The Express docs mentions another way of handling error. Basically you write middlewares out of the router and put them at the very end of your app initialization. Put 404 middleware before the 500, and the 500 should be the one who catch the `err`. More info in the docs :

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