How to Download PDF Files From URL in Node.js

Updated November 22, 2023

Node.js is a potent runtime environment for executing server-side JavaScript code, making it an optimal choice for a wide range of web development tasks. Among these tasks, a common requirement is the retrieval of PDF files from a specified URL. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into harnessing the capabilities of Node.js to effortlessly download PDF documents from designated URLs. This functionality enhances the seamless integration of critical resources, enabling efficient access to static files for various applications and processes.

In this article, we will explore the process of downloading PDF documents from URLs using the PDF library known as IronPDF, tailored specifically for Node.js. This library provides a robust solution for handling PDF-related PDF server side tasks in Node.js applications, streamlining the retrieval and manipulation of PDF documents from remote sources.

IronPDF for Node.js

IronPDF is a versatile and powerful PDF library designed to facilitate seamless PDF generation, manipulation, and management within Node.js applications. It offers developers a comprehensive set of features and functionalities to work with PDF documents, making it an indispensable tool for a wide array of web development projects.

Developed specifically for integration with Node.js, IronPDF empowers developers to effortlessly generate PDF files from various data sources, such as HTML, CSS, and images. This allows for dynamic content creation, making it ideal for generating invoices, reports, certificates, or any other documents that require a professional and standardized format.

One of the standout features of IronPDF is its ability to convert HTML content directly to PDF, enabling developers to take advantage of their existing web development skills and libraries. This means you can leverage your proficiency in HTML and CSS to craft visually appealing PDFs without the need for complex manual formatting. Additionally, IronPDF provides functionalities to merge, split, and manipulate existing PDF files, allowing for advanced document organization and customization. It also supports encryption and password protection, enhancing the security of sensitive information within PDFs.

IronPDF Features

  • PDF Generation: Create PDFs effortlessly using HTML, CSS, and images. Tailor content for professional-grade PDFs.
  • HTML to PDF: Convert complex HTML into polished PDFs while maintaining formatting and styling.
  • PDF Editing: Modify and edit existing PDFs to update, correct, or add elements as needed.
  • Merging and Splitting: Combine or separate PDF files for efficient organization and structuring.
  • Printing: Print PDFs directly from Node.js for convenient physical copies.
  • Form Handling: Efficiently fill and extract data from PDF forms to enhance user interaction.
  • Security: Implement encryption and password protection for PDF document security.
  • Text Extraction: Extract text from PDFs for easy content access and data retrieval.
  • Customization: Control PDF layout and styles to achieve a professional and polished look.
  • Cross-Platform: Seamlessly operate on various platforms for consistent performance and functionality.

Installing IronPDF for Node.js

In this section we will discuss how you can set up the environment and install IronPDF for Node.js.

Before starting make sure you have Node.js installed on your system.

  1. First Open the Command Prompt (CMD) and create a new Node-JS project using the following commands.
  2. mkdir IronPDF This will create a new directory in which we can set up our project.

    How to Download PDF Files From URL in Node.js: Figure 1 - Open the command prompt and create a new Node.js project using the command: mkdir IronPDF.

  3. cd IronPDF This command will go to the newly created directory.
  4. npm init -y This command will create a package.json file, which will store project-related metadata and dependencies.

    How to Download PDF Files From URL in Node.js: Figure 2 - Change the path to the newly created directory using the command: `cd IronPDF`. Then use the command npm init -y to create a package.json file within the project, which will store project-related metadata and dependencies.

  5. Once our initial setup is completed, let's install IronPDF using the following command.

    npm install @ironsoftware/ironpdf
  6. Now open the project in Visual Studio Code and create a new file named "index.js".

    How to Download PDF Files From URL in Node.js: Figure 3 - Open the project in Visual Studio Code and add a new JavaScript file named index.js.

  7. Now open the package.json file and add the following line of command in it to add the npm module.

    "type": "module",

    How to Download PDF Files From URL in Node.js: Figure 4 - Screenshot of package.json file.

Just like that IronPDF is installed, and our environment is ready for running the IronPDF code.

Download PDF Files from URL Using IronPDF for Node.js

IronPDF for Node.js provides a powerful feature allowing the rendering of PDFs directly from URLs and subsequently to files and saving them in the local file system. Essentially, it operates as a comprehensive PDF downloader, offering the capabilities of a full version PDF downloader.

The following code can create and save PDF files from a URL using IronPDF for Node.js.

import {PdfDocument} from "@ironsoftware/ironpdf";

// URL to PDF
(async () => {
    var url = ""

    // Render the web URL
    var file = await PdfDocument.fromUrl(url);

    // Export the PDF document
    await file.saveAs("pdf-from-url.pdf");

The provided code is a JavaScript program that utilizes the IronPDF library to generate a PDF from a specified URL and save it as a PDF file. Let's break down the code step by step:

  1. Importing the PdfDocument class from IronPDF:

    import {PdfDocument} from "@ironsoftware/ironpdf";

    This line imports the PdfDocument class from the IronPDF library, which is used to work with PDF documents.

  2. Using an asynchronous IIFE (Immediately Invoked Function Expression):

        (async () => { // Code here })();

    This structure defines an immediately invoked function expression that is marked as async, allowing the use of await within the function. It invokes itself immediately after declaration.

  3. Rendering a web URL to PDF:

        const pdf = await PdfDocument.fromUrl("");

    This line uses the fromUrl static method of the PdfDocument class to render a web page URL (in this case, "") as a PDF document.

  4. Exporting the PDF document:

    await pdf.saveAs("pdf-from-url.pdf");

    This line uses the saveAs method of the PDF document (PDF) to save the generated PDF to a file named "pdf-from-url.pdf" in the folder exists. The await keyword is used to wait for the save operation to complete.

Overall, this script uses IronPDF to fetch a web URL, render it as a PDF document, and save the download PDF file as a file locally with the specified filename "pdf-from-url.pdf". The use of async/await allows for handling the asynchronous nature of PDF generation and file saving.

Output PDF file

How to Download PDF Files From URL in Node.js: Figure 5 - The Output PDF File: pdf-from-url.pdf.


Node.js, with its robust runtime environment for server-side JavaScript, proves to be an ideal choice for a variety of web development tasks. Specifically, the need to download PDF files from designated URLs is a common requirement, and Node.js, when combined with specialized libraries like IronPDF, offers a seamless solution. IronPDF, tailored for Node.js, empowers developers to effortlessly generate, manipulate, and manage PDF documents, enhancing the integration of critical resources for efficient access in various applications and processes.

By leveraging the features of IronPDF, such as HTML to PDF conversion, PDF editing, merging, splitting, and more, developers can optimize document handling and streamline their web development projects. This functionality enriches web applications by facilitating dynamic content creation and ensuring a professional and standardized format for essential documents. Ultimately, IronPDF's integration with Node.js significantly contributes to a smoother and more efficient writing downloaded PDF file handling experience for developers and to download files.

You can install IronPDF for Node.js and find the related code tutorials using the following link.

IronPDF offers a free trial license. For more information regarding purchasing a commercial license, please visit their license page.

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