Last updated 2nd June 2022


Effectively debugging web apps takes effort, especially when an HTTP request goes through multiple layers before reaching your web app. Follow the steps below to debug a specific app.

You can choose to debug in an environment deployed to Web PaaS or with your app running locally but connected to deployed services. In either case, make sure to debug in a non-production environment.

1. Create a new environment

Start by creating a new environment completely isolated from production but with the same data for debugging:

webpaas branch debug-branch

2. Get access

Access your app container via [SSH](../../development-ssh/):

webpaas ssh
To access deployed apps and services, open tunnels to everything your app has relationships with:

webpaas tunnel:open

In the same terminal, set the relevant environment variables:

export PLATFORM_RELATIONSHIPS="$(webpaas tunnel:info --encode)"
export PORT=8888

3. Run your app in inspect mode

Stop the current process and restart it in inspect mode:

sv stop app
node --inspect <START_FILE>
In the same terminal as the previous step, run the following command:

node --inspect <START_FILE>

Replace <START_FILE> with the file defined for your app's start command.

You should get an output similar to this:

Debugger listening on ws://
For help, see:
Listening on port 8888

4. (If debugging remotely) Forward the debugger port locally

In another terminal, create an SSH tunnel that forwards to the 9229 port:

ssh -N -L 9229:localhost:9229 $(webpaas ssh --pipe)

5. Connect the debugger

You can now connect the debugger as if you were debugging a local application. See examples with some common tools:

Go to `chrome://inspect`.
Find your running app under the `Remote Target` list.
Click **inspect** to start the debugger.
Use the `Node.js: Attach` debugger option.

If you haven't created the option:

1. On the **Run and Debug** tab, click `create a launch.json file`.
2. Select `Node.js` as the environment.
3. In the `configurations` array, start IntelliSense (usually <kbd>ctrl</kbd>+<kbd>space</kbd>).
4. Select `Node.js: Attach`.
5. Make sure the port is the same as in [step 4 above](#4-if-debugging-remotely-forward-the-debugger-port-locally).

Once you have the option:

In the **Run and Debug** tab, select `Attach` from the menu and click **Start Debugging** (the green arrow).

See more on [Node.js debugging in Visual Studio Code](

Now when you load the site at your deployed URL (if debugging remote) or localhost (if debugging locally), the local debugger you've attached is called.

Set breakpoints:

In the JavaScript files from your remote site:
On the **Run and Debug** tab under **Loaded Scripts** find `Attach: Remote Process` > `/app`.
Directly in your source files.

Other issues

pm2 process manager blocks other processes

If you're using the pm2 process manager to start your app from a script, you might find it daemonizes itself and blocks other processes (such as backups) by constantly respawning. This may happen even if you use the --no-daemon flag.

Instead of using a script, call pm2 start directly in your start command.

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