[Solved] Reactjs: document is not defined

I have a pretty simple react project setup:

├── app.js
├── components
│   ├── MainWrapper.js
│   └── html.js
├── package.json
└── server.js

The application is started by:

node server.js

Which uses the express server and renders markup for an HtmlComponent in html.js:

import React from 'react';
import MainWrapper from './MainWrapper.js'

class HtmlComponent extends React.Component {
    render() {
        return (
                    <meta charSet="utf-8" />
                    <title>My Awesome Site</title>
                    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, user-scalable=no" />
                    <link rel="stylesheet" href="awesome.css" />
                    <div id="root"></div>

export default HtmlComponent;

The goal is to create a Wrapper that will fill the ‘root’ div. It’s very simple right now:


import React from 'react';
import ReactDOM from 'react-dom';

var MainWrapper = React.createClass ({
    render: function() {
        return (

React.render(<MainWrapper />, document.getElementById("root"));

When I run node server.js there’s an exception:

_react2['default'].render(_react2['default'].createElement(MainWrapper, null), document.getElementById("root"));

ReferenceError: document is not defined
    at Object.<anonymous> (/Users/me/Desktop/Simple/components/MainWrapper.js:27:31)
    at Module._compile (module.js:425:26)
    at normalLoader (/Users/me/Desktop/Simple/node_modules/babel-core/lib/api/register/node.js:199:5)
    at Object.require.extensions.(anonymous function) [as .js] (/Users/me/Desktop/Simple/node_modules/babel-core/lib/api/register/node.js:216:7)
    at Module.load (module.js:356:32)
    at Function.Module._load (module.js:311:12)
    at Module.require (module.js:366:17)
    at require (module.js:385:17)
    at Object.<anonymous> (/Users/me/Desktop/Simple/components/Html.js:5:26)
    at Module._compile (module.js:425:26)

I do not understand why document is not defined. It seems it’s simple javascript.

Enquirer: Matt


Solution #1:

if you’re rendering this server side, there will be no “document” object. try wrapping it in the following:

if (typeof window !== 'undefined') {
    React.render(<MainWrapper />, document.getElementById("root"));

this will check to see if a window object is present – meaning its in the browser – which also means that the document object is present

to keep this answer valid

Newer versions of React have been split into multiple packages, you will need to import from react-dom now:

import ReactDOM from 'react-dom';

if (typeof window !== 'undefined') {
    ReactDOM.render(<MainWrapper />, document.getElementById("root"));
Respondent: duxfox–

Solution #2:

document won’t be defined when rendering on the server – try wrapping the React.render() call in if(typeof window !== 'undefined') { }.

Respondent: Donald

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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