I’ve had to look up how to create a new Node server enough times that I’m writing it down to make it easier for me to find in the future. This is a quick and dirty post without much context or explanation. Feel free to ask me for details if something I said isn’t clear.

This is the fastest way I know of to get a Node server running with TypeScript as of 2024. If you know a better way, please do let me know!

Set up the project

Terminal window
# create a new project
mkdir my-node-app
cd my-node-app/
# initialize the project
git init
npm init -y
# install dev dependencies
npm i -D typescript ts-node @types/node
# initialize TypeScript
npx tsc --init

Next, open package.json and add the following:

"engines": {
"node": ">=20.6.0"
"name": "my-node-app",
"version": "1.0.0",
"description": "",
"main": "index.js",
"scripts": {
"build": "tsc",
"dev": "node --env-file=.env --watch -r ts-node/register src/index.ts",
"test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
"author": "Jason Lengstorf <jason@learnwithjason.dev>",
"license": "ISC",
"devDependencies": {
"@types/node": "^20.11.17",
"ts-node": "^10.9.2",
"typescript": "^5.3.3"

Add environment variables, if needed

Create .env and put any secrets inside:


Create the main Node app file

Create src/index.ts and put something inside:

function test(): void {

Start the Node server and test live reload

Start the server with npm run dev and you’ll see the following output:

Terminal window
npm run dev
> my-node-app@1.0.0 dev
> node --env-file=.env --watch -r ts-node/register src/index.ts
(node:29702) ExperimentalWarning: Watch mode is an experimental feature and might change at any time
(Use `node --trace-warnings ...` to show where the warning was created)
Completed running 'src/index.ts'

Make a change to src/index.ts or .env and the server will automatically restart and show your changes in the console.

And that’s it — now you’ve got a Node app with TypeScript running with live reloading and environment variables, using as few dependencies as possible, modernized for building apps in 2024.

Happy building!