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Adding Images, Fonts, and Files

With Webpack you can import a file right in a JavaScript module. This tells Webpack to include that file in the bundle. Unlike CSS imports, importing a file gives you a string value. This value is the final path you can reference in your code, e.g. as the src attribute of an image or the href of a link to a PDF.

To reduce the number of requests to the server, importing images that are less than 10,000 bytes returns a data URI instead of a path. This applies to the following file extensions: svg, jpg, jpeg, png, gif, mp4, webm, wav, mp3, m4a, aac, and oga.

Here is an example:

import React from 'react';
import logo from './logo.png'; // Tell Webpack this JS file uses this image

console.log(logo); // /logo.84287d09.png

function Header() {
  // Import result is the URL of your image
  return <img src={logo} alt="Logo" />;
}

export default Header;

This ensures that when the project is built, Webpack will correctly move the images into the public folder, and provide us with correct paths.

This works in CSS too:

.Logo {
  background-image: url(./logo.png);
}

Webpack finds all relative module references in CSS (they start with ./) and replaces them with the final paths from the compiled bundle. If you make a typo or accidentally delete an important file, you will see a compilation error, just like when you import a non-existent JavaScript module. The final filenames in the compiled bundle are generated by Webpack from content hashes. If the file content changes in the future, Webpack will give it a different name in production so you don’t need to worry about long-term caching of assets.

Please be advised that this is also a custom feature of Webpack.

An alternative way of handling static assets is described in the next section.

Using the static Folder

Adding Assets Outside of the Module System

You can also add other assets to a static folder at the root of your project.

Note that we normally encourage you to import assets in JavaScript files instead. This mechanism provides a number of benefits:

  • Scripts and stylesheets get minified and bundled together to avoid extra network requests.
  • Missing files cause compilation errors instead of 404 errors for your users.
  • Result filenames include content hashes so you don’t need to worry about browsers caching their old versions.

However there is an escape hatch that you can use to add an asset outside of the module system.

If you put a file into the static folder, it will not be processed by Webpack. Instead it will be copied into the public folder untouched. To reference assets in the static folder, you need to use a special variable called __PATH_PREFIX__.

In JavaScript code, you can use process.env.__PATH_PREFIX__ for similar purposes:

render() {
  // Note: this is an escape hatch and should be used sparingly!
  // Normally we recommend using `import` for getting asset URLs
  // as described in “Adding Images and Fonts” above this section.
  return <img src={process.env.__PATH_PREFIX__ + '/img/logo.png'} />;
}

Keep in mind the downsides of this approach:

  • None of the files in static folder get post-processed or minified.
  • Missing files will not be called at compilation time, and will cause 404 errors for your users.
  • Result filenames won’t include content hashes so you’ll need to add query arguments or rename them every time they change.

When to Use the static Folder

Normally we recommend importing stylesheets, images, and fonts from JavaScript. The static folder is useful as a workaround for a number of less common cases:

  • You need a file with a specific name in the build output, such as manifest.webmanifest.
  • You have thousands of images and need to dynamically reference their paths.
  • You want to include a small script like pace.js outside of the bundled code.
  • Some library may be incompatible with Webpack and you have no other option but to include it as a <script> tag.