Installing Cypress

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What you’ll learn

  • How to install Cypress via npm.
  • How to install Cypress via direct download.
  • How to version and run Cypress via package.json

System requirements

Cypress is a desktop application that is installed on your computer. The desktop application supports these operating systems:

  • Mac OS 10.9+ (Mavericks+), only 64bit binaries are provided for macOS.
  • Linux Ubuntu 12.04+, Fedora 21, Debian 8, 64-bit binaries
  • Windows 7+, only 32bit binaries are provided for Windows.


npm install

Installing Cypress via npm is easy:

cd /your/project/path
npm install cypress --save-dev

This will install Cypress locally as a dev dependency for your project.

Make sure that you have already run npm init or have a node_modules folder or package.json file in the root of your project to ensure cypress is installed in the correct directory.

Notice that the Cypress npm package is a wrapper around the Cypress binary. The version of the npm package determines the version of the binary downloaded.
As of version 3.0, the binary is downloaded to a global cache directory to be used across projects.

Best Practice

The recommended approach is to install Cypress with npm because :

yarn add

Installing Cypress via yarn:

cd /your/project/path
yarn add cypress --dev

Direct download

If you’re not using Node.js or npm in your project or you just want to try Cypress out quickly, you can always download Cypress directly from our CDN.

The direct download will always grab the latest available version. Your platform will be detected automatically.

Just manually unzip and double click. Cypress will run without needing to install any dependencies.

Continuous integration

Please read our Continuous Integration docs for help installing Cypress in CI. When running in linux you’ll need to install some system dependencies or you can just use our Docker images which have everything you need prebuilt.

Opening Cypress

If you used npm to install, Cypress has now been installed to your ./node_modules directory, with its binary executable accessible from ./node_modules/.bin. This means you can call it from your project root either of the following ways:

The long way with the full path

./node_modules/.bin/cypress open

Or with the shortcut using npm bin

$(npm bin)/cypress open

Or by using npx

note: npx is included with npm > v5.2 or can be installed separately.

npx cypress open

After a moment, the Cypress Test Runner will launch.

Adding npm scripts

While there’s nothing wrong with writing out the full path to the Cypress executable each time, it’s much easier and clearer to add Cypress commands to the scripts field in your package.json file.

  "scripts": {
    "cypress:open": "cypress open"

Now you can invoke the command like so:

npm run cypress:open

…and Cypress will open right up for you.

CLI tools

By installing Cypress through npm you also get access to many other CLI commands.

As of version 0.20.0 Cypress is also a fully baked node_module you can require in your Node scripts.

You can read more about the CLI here.


Environment variables

Using an environment variable you can control how Cypress is installed. This is helpful if you want to:

  • Install a different version than the default npm package.
  • Specify an external URL (to bypass a corporate firewall).
  • Specify a local file to install locally instead of using the internet.

To override what is installed, you simply set CYPRESS_INSTALL_BINARY with the npm install command.


  1. Install the cypress npm package version 2.0.3 with the binary 2.0.1 version:

     CYPRESS_INSTALL_BINARY=2.0.1 npm install [email protected]
  2. Install the Cypress binary from a given URL:

     CYPRESS_INSTALL_BINARY= npm install cypress
  3. Install the Cypress binary from a local file:

     CYPRESS_INSTALL_BINARY=/local/path/to/ npm install cypress

In all cases, the fact that the binary was installed from a custom location is not saved in your package.json file. Every repeated installation needs to use the same environment variable to install the same binary.

Skipping installation

You can also force Cypress to skip the installation of the binary application. This could be useful if you want to prevent Cypress from downloading the Cypress binary at the time of npm install.



Now Cypress will skip its install phase once the npm module is installed.

Overriding the binary cache folder

As of version 3.0, Cypress downloads the matching Cypress binary to the global system cache, so that the binary can be shared between projects. By default, these locations are:

  • MacOS: ~/Library/Caches/Cypress
  • Linux: ~/.cache/Cypress
  • Windows: /AppData/Local/Cypress/Cache

To override the default cache folder, set the environment variable CYPRESS_CACHE_FOLDER.

CYPRESS_CACHE_FOLDER=~/Desktop/cypress_cache npm install
CYPRESS_CACHE_FOLDER=~/Desktop/cypress_cache npm run test

CYPRESS_CACHE_FOLDER will need to exist every time cypress is launched. To ensure this, consider exporting this environment variable. For example, in a .bash_profile (MacOS, Linux), or using RegEdit (Windows).

Overriding the Cypress binary at runtime

Setting the environment variable CYPRESS_RUN_BINARY overrides where the npm module finds the Cypress binary.

CYPRESS_RUN_BINARY should be a path to an already unzipped binary executable. The Cypress commands open, run, and verify will then launch the provided binary.


CYPRESS_RUN_BINARY=~/Downloads/ cypress run


CYPRESS_RUN_BINARY=~/Downloads/Cypress/Cypress cypress run


CYPRESS_RUN_BINARY=~/Downloads/Cypress/Cypress.exe cypress run

We recommend not exporting the CYPRESS_RUN_BINARY environment variable, since it will affect every cypress module installed on your file system.


If you want to download a specific Cypress version for a given platform, you can get it from our CDN.

You may want to do this if you want to host Cypress yourself and serve it from a local network.

The download server url is

Method Url Description
GET /desktop Download latest desktop app
GET /desktop?platform=p downloads latest desktop app for specific platform
GET /desktop.json returns desktop manifest.json
GET /desktop/:version downloads desktop app by version
GET /desktop/:version?platform=p downloads desktop app by OS which could be darwin, win32 or linux64

This will download Cypress 2.0.1 for Windows platform.

If you do not provide a platform, it will be detected automatically.