[Solved] SyntaxError: Unexpected token function – Async Await Nodejs

I was experimenting on using Node version 6.2.1 with some of my code. Had plans to migrate most of the hyper-callback oriented codes to something that looks cleaner and maybe performs better.

I have no clue why, the terminal throws up an error when I try to execute the node code.


(async function testingAsyncAwait() {
    await console.log("Print me!");


BOZZMOB-M-T0HZ:rest bozzmob$ node helloz.js 
(function (exports, require, module, __filename, __dirname) { (async function testingAsyncAwait() {
SyntaxError: Unexpected token function
    at Object.exports.runInThisContext (vm.js:53:16)
    at Module._compile (module.js:513:28)
    at Object.Module._extensions..js (module.js:550:10)
    at Module.load (module.js:458:32)
    at tryModuleLoad (module.js:417:12)
    at Function.Module._load (module.js:409:3)
    at Function.Module.runMain (module.js:575:10)
    at startup (node.js:160:18)
    at node.js:456:3
BOZZMOB-M-T0HZ:rest bozzmob$ node -v

What am I missing? Please throw me some light on the same.

Update 1:

I tried to use Babel as Quentin suggested, But, I am getting the following error still.

Updated Code-


    (async function testingAsyncAwait() {
        await console.log("Print me!");


BOZZMOB-M-T0HZ:rest bozzmob$ babel helloz.js > helloz.trans.js
SyntaxError: helloz.js: Unexpected token (3:7)
  1 | require("babel-polyfill");
  2 | 
> 3 | (async function testingAsyncAwait() {
    |        ^
  4 |     await console.log("Print me!");
  5 | })();
Enquirer: bozzmob


Solution #1:

Async functions are not supported by Node versions older than version 7.6.

You’ll need to transpile your code (e.g. using Babel) to a version of JS that Node understands if you are using an older version.

That said, the current (2018) LTS version of Node.js is 8.x, so if you are using an earlier version you should very strongly consider upgrading.

Respondent: Quentin

Solution #2:

Nodejs supports async/await from version 7.6.

Release post:

Respondent: Phillipe Moreira

Solution #3:

Node.JS does not fully support ES6 currently, so you can either use asyncawait module or transpile it using Bable.


npm install --save asyncawait


var async = require('asyncawait/async');
var await = require('asyncawait/await');

(async (function testingAsyncAwait() {
    await (console.log("Print me!"));
Respondent: Nivesh

Solution #4:

If you are just experimenting you can use babel-node command line tool to try out the new JavaScript features

  1. Install babel-cli into your project

    $ npm install --save-dev babel-cli

  2. Install the presets

    $ npm install --save-dev babel-preset-es2015 babel-preset-es2017

  3. Setup your babel presets

    Create .babelrc in the project root folder with the following contents:

    { "presets": ["es2015","es2017"] }

  4. Run your script with babel-node

    $ babel-node helloz.js

This is only for development and testing but that seems to be what you are doing. In the end you’ll want to set up webpack (or something similar) to transpile all your code for production

If you want to run the code somewhere else, webpack can help and here is the simplest configuration I could work out:

Respondent: stujo

Solution #5:

node v6.6.0

If you just use in development. You can do this:

npm i babel-cli babel-plugin-transform-async-to-generator babel-polyfill --save-dev

the package.json would be like this:

"devDependencies": {
   "babel-cli": "^6.18.0",
   "babel-plugin-transform-async-to-generator": "^6.16.0",
   "babel-polyfill": "^6.20.0"

create .babelrc file and write this:

  "plugins": ["transform-async-to-generator"]

and then, run your async/await script like this:

./node_modules/.bin/babel-node script.js
Respondent: slideshowp2

Solution #6:

Though I’m coming in late, what worked for me was to install transform-async-generator and transform-runtime plugin like so:

npm i babel-plugin-transform-async-to-generator babel-plugin-transform-runtime --save-dev

the package.json would be like this:

"devDependencies": {
   "babel-plugin-transform-async-to-generator": "6.24.1",
   "babel-plugin-transform-runtime": "6.23.0"

create .babelrc file and write this:

  "plugins": ["transform-async-to-generator", 
["transform-runtime", {
      "polyfill": false,
      "regenerator": true

and then happy coding with async/await

Solution #7:

include and specify the node engine version to the latest, say at this time I did add version 8.

  "name": "functions",
  "dependencies": {
    "firebase-admin": "~7.3.0",
    "firebase-functions": "^2.2.1",
  "engines": {
    "node": "8"
  "private": true

in the following file


Respondent: Joseph Wambura

Solution #8:

I too had the same problem.

I was running node v 6.2 alongside using purgecss within my gulpfile. Problem only occurred when I created a new Laravel project; up until that point, I never had an issue with purgecss.

Following @Quentin’s statement – how node versions prior to 7.6 do not support async functions – I decided to update my node version to 9.11.2

This worked for me:


$ npm install -g n

$ n 9.11.2


delete ‘node_modules’ from the route directory


$ npm install

Still not sure how node/purgecss worked prior to updating.. but this did the trick.

Respondent: A.Morris

The answers/resolutions are collected from stackoverflow, are licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0 .

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