Anyone used webpack-dev-server? Cant figure out how to serve app

Hi All,

I have a project with the following structure:

├── build
│   └── bundle.js
├── client
│   ├── components
│   ├── index.js
│   ├── package-lock.json
│   ├── package.json
│   └── public
│       └── index.html
├── package-lock.json
├── package.json
├── server
│   ├── db
│   │   └── models
│   └── server.js
└── webpack.config.js

my webpack.config.js file looks as such:

var path = require('path');
var webpack = require('webpack');

module.exports = {
 entry: './client/index.js',
 output: { path: __dirname + '/build', filename: 'bundle.js' },
 module: {
  loaders: [
    test: /.jsx?$/,
    loader: 'babel-loader',
    exclude: /node-modules/,
    query: {
     presets: ['es2015', 'react']
 devServer: {
   contentBase: path.join(__dirname, "/client/public"),
   compress: true,
   port: 3000,

The issue that I am running into is as follows:

When I open ./client/public/index.html in the browser, my react components are rendered and everything works as expected. To me this indicates that webpack is bundling correctly.

However, when i use webpack-dev-server and visit localhost:3000 in the browser nothing is there, just a blank page. The server is running but the App is not rendered.

I thought that in my webpack.config file by setting contentBase: path.join(__dirname, "/client/public") means that visiting localhost:3000 would serve the index.html file at /client/public/index.html. That html file is the one which runs my bundle via a script tag…which in turn should render all my react components (as it does when i open the html file in the browser). This is not the case however.

Could anyone help me out here?


Shouldn’t contentBase point to the directory where the bundle output is? I don’t know if this will work, but try changing the contentBase to the build directory, then add into your config this:

var HtmlWebpackPlugin = require('html-webpack-plugin');

module.exports = {
  // ...
  plugins: [
    new HtmlWebpackPlugin({
      template: './client/public/index.html'
  // ...

html-webpack-plugin handles adding appropriate <script> tags for you, so you might have to remove any <script> tags from the original index.html file.

1 Like

Thanks @kevcomedia.

With your suggestion I was able to figure this issue out (without using HtmlWebpackPlugin).

If anyone is curious as to how I resolved the issue:

  • set contentBase to point to the bundle output directory, /build.
  • in /build, create a copy of /client/public/index.html, this file will be served
  • this copied HTML file has a <script src="/bundle.js"> take to run the bundle contained in the same directory.

Thanks again!