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The Publishing Project

Running Lighthouse Programmatically


In addition to the DevTools menu and the Chrome extension and the Lighthouse CLI, there are ways to use Lighthouse programmatically in ways that would be too time-consuming to do with the lighthouse tools already available.

The simplest example will run all Lighthouse reports for the given URL using the default options for Lighthouse.

function launchChromeAndRunLighthouse(url, opts, config = null) {
  return chromeLauncher.launch({chromeFlags: opts.chromeFlags})
    .then((chrome) => {
      opts.port = chrome.port;
      return lighthouse(url, opts, config)
        .then((results) => {
          return chrome.kill()
            .then(() => results.lhr)

The lighthouse configurations docs provides a detailed description of all the options that you can pass to Lighthouse.

There are sample configuration objects to show specific customizations of the default configuration.

This example will run the accessibility audits for a desktop-class device and produce an HTML report of the results.

const lighthouseOptions = {
  extends: 'lighthouse:default',
  settings: {
    onlyCategories: ['accessibility'],
    output: ['html'],

modules.export = lighthouseOptions;

While the next example runs the performance audits and throttles using Chrome DevTools.

const perfConfig = {
  extends: 'lighthouse:default',
  settings: {
    throttlingMethod: 'devtools',
    onlyCategories: ['performance'],

module.exports = perfConfig;

You can have multiple functions to run each set of audits separately or you can run them all in one function. It's completely up to you.

Using Lighthouse programmatically offers a more complete example using the built-in fs module, Lighthouse, and Chrome Launcher

async function runLighthouse() {
  const chrome = await chromeLauncher.launch({chromeFlags: ['--headless']});
  const options = {
    logLevel: 'info',
    output: 'html',
    onlyCategories: ['performance'],
    port: chrome.port};
  const runnerResult = await lighthouse('', options);

  // `.report` is the HTML report as a string
  const reportHtml =;
  fs.writeFileSync('lhreport.html', reportHtml);

  // `.lhr` is the Lighthouse Result as a JS object
  console.log('Report is done for', runnerResult.lhr.finalUrl);
  console.log('Performance score was', runnerResult.lhr.categories.performance.score * 100);

  await chrome.kill();


To run Chrome on headless mode, pass --headless as a parameter to Chrome Launcher.

We then build an options object to run the performance audits, we write the results to an HTML file (lhreport.html) and log the results to the console.

The final task is to kill the headless Chrome instance we create to run Lighthouse.

This gives us a way to run a test repeatedly against our sites; however, it doesn't guarantee the same results every time.

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