Web Extension

Web Extensions are a set of APIs for building browser extensions that work across many browsers. Parcel supports building Web Extensions using @parcel/config-webextension.

Getting started


First, install @parcel/config-webextension into your project:

yarn add @parcel/config-webextension --dev

Next, you'll need a manifest.json file, which will be the entry point of your extension. See this guide for details on how to set it up. Both Manifest V2 and V3 are supported. You can use TypeScript, Vue, and any other languages supported by Parcel within your web extension code.

"manifest_version": 3,
"name": "Sample Web Extension",
"version": "0.0.1",
"background": {
"service_worker": "background.ts",
"type": "module"
"content_scripts": [{
"matches": ["*://github.com/parcel-bundler/*"],
"js": ["parcel-content-script.ts"]

To build your extension, run Parcel using your manifest.json as an entry, and @parcel/config-webextension as the config:

parcel build manifest.json --config @parcel/config-webextension

You can also create a .parcelrc file in your project extending @parcel/config-webextension. This way you don't need to pass the --config option to the Parcel CLI every time.

"extends": "@parcel/config-webextension"



Due to restrictions on Content Security Policy in MV3, HMR is not supported, but updating your code will cause the extension to reload. For MV2, HMR is fully supported by default. Reloading pages with content scripts will reload the extension in both versions.

For the best developer experience, use --host localhost for development builds (this is sometimes necessary for content script reloading). You can copy the following configuration:

"scripts": {
"start": "parcel watch src/manifest.json --host localhost --config @parcel/config-webextension",
"build": "parcel build src/manifest.json --config @parcel/config-webextension"

Running yarn start or npm start will start the development server. Source maps and HMR will work for background scripts, the popup page, and the options page. For MV2, HMR will usually also work on content scripts.

To add the extension to your browser, load Parcel's output folder unpacked. For example, in Chrome, click "Load Unpacked" in the chrome://extensions page and select path/to/project/dist.

Running yarn build or npm run build will give you the final web extension package, ready to be published. After zipping the output directory, you should be able to upload your file to your platform of choice, such as the Chrome Web Store.

Special Considerations


Unexpected messages


In development mode, your background scripts will receive a message event with the content { __parcel_hmr_reload__: true } whenever a content script page is reloaded. Parcel will use this automatically to refresh the extension when necessary. Therefore, you'll want to ensure any messages your background scripts receive do not have the __parcel_hmr_reload__ property before handling them.



Any styles imported in a content script will be injected into the css property of that content script and will thus apply to the entire page. Usually this is what you want, but if not you can always use CSS modules to prevent the styles from applying to the original site.

Additionally, content script CSS resolves links to the site they are injected into, so you won't be able to reference local assets. You should inline your bundles to resolve this issue.

.my-class {
/* Equivalent to: https://injected-site.com/custom-bg.png */
/* This is probably not what you want! */
background-image: url(./custom-bg.png);

.my-other-class {
/* This will use the local file custom-bg.png */
background-image: url(data-url:./custom-bg.png);

Lastly, hot reload may not work when adding or removing CSS linked from inside an import() in content scripts, while synchronous import has no such issues. This is a known limitation and will be fixed in a future version.



Any resources you use in a content script will automatically be added into web_accessible_resources, so you don't usually need to specify anything in web_accessible_resources at all. For example, the following content script will work without issues:

import myImage from 'url:./image.png';

const injectedImage = document.createElement('img');
injectedImage.src = myImage;

However, if you actually want resources from your extension to be accessible from other extensions or websites, you can specify file paths or globs within web_accessible_resources. Note that Parcel treats entries in web_accessible_resources like Unix globs (as in, examples/*.png will retrieve every PNG in the examples folder, and examples/**.png will do it recursively). This is different from the globbing in Chrome, which is always recursive.