Nativefier – Easily Make Any Website into Desktop Application

Nativefier is a CLI tool that easily create a executable desktop application of any website with succinct and minimal configuration. Anybody can use it and it is a lot lighter than typical Electron apps.

Nativefier is based on the electron-package and since Electron apps are platform independent, any Nativefiered app will run on GNU/Linux distros as well as on Windows and Mac Operating Systems.

Talking about the reason why he created Nativefier, the developer wrote on GitHub:

I did this because I was tired of having to ⌘-tab or alt-tab to my browser and then search through the numerous open tabs when I was using Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp Web.

This is a good example of how to create solutions using our computing skills.

Features in Nativefier

  • Free and open-source with code available on GitHub.
  • Works on GNU/Linux, Windows, and Mac.
  • Desktop Notifications.
  • OS-specific icons.
  • Make single-page web apps (e.g. Telegram and WhatsApp) executable stand-alone apps.

How to Install and Use Nativefier in Linux

Installing Nativefier is as easy as running the following command in terminal.

$ npm install nativefier -g

The developer has done some heavy lifting by setting up a template app containing appropriate event listeners and callbacks in the /app folder.

This is the directory that is copied to the temporary directory when the nativefier command is called and then the core methods of electron packager follow. meaning that getting a URL and invoking the nativefier gets the job done.

So, for example, creating a GitHub or WhatsApp web executable (or any web page) is as easy as typing:

$ nativefier -name GitHub
$ nativefier

The -name flag is the option that tells Nativefier the name to give your executable. There are other options including:

  • flash to enable flash in your application explorer.
  • version is prints the version of your nativefier install.
  • platform automatically determined based on the current OS. Overwrite it by specifyinglinux, windows (or win32), or osx (darwin).

The full list of options and more usage details are on its GitHub page.


  1. Nativefier doesn’t have any back button by default because it is designed to wrap just single-page apps. That notwithstanding, you can build an executable from any url and hitting backspace on your keyboard will take you to the previous page.
  2. Don’t put spaces when defining the app name with the -name option on Linux because it will cause problems when pinning the app to the launcher.

Do you see how useful Nativefier can be to you? Drop your two cents in the comments section below.

Divine Okoi is a cybersecurity postgrad with a passion for the open-source community. With 700+ articles covering different topics in IT, you can always trust him to inform you about the coolest tech.

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9 thoughts on “Nativefier – Easily Make Any Website into Desktop Application”

  1. If I give a created application to someone else to use on their computer, do they have to install Nativefier on their machine to run it?

  2. Nice one. Non-Coders and folks can use GUI version of Nativefier, named Web2Desk. It’s simple and straight forward.

  3. Good article. I use Nativefier quite a bit, actually. Anything that can extend the Linux desktop’s functionality is not a bad thing. I have made my own DirtyMarkup app, Hemingway Editor, ProWriting, etc.

    WebCatalog is a GUI front-end and you can use Juli instead of Chrome. It is limited to 2 wraps without paying so I made my Google Drive with it.

    There is also the Web2Desk site that makes the app for all three platforms, simultaneously. You can use the completed apps on any computer. I wrote a little review about it on my new blog at

    Thanks for inspiration, Martins. You will be receiving some props when I release my Deepin 15.x review.

    The newest Linux Mint Cinnamon and KDE Neon releases based on 18.04 have brought me back to the Ubuntu family, at least for now. Most impressive (and bug-free) Ubuntu release yet.

    Really liking Manjaro. I am trying the Deepin Desktop edition now. I am going to check out Antergos, as well. It must be pretty special since you give it high marks.

    Oh, I use Nativefier wrapped apps but when I hit the Web, I use Firefox. I failed to see how this ‘utility’ removed any of my freedoms. Electron is evolving and I am sure Gecko, Juli, Safari, and any others will join Chrome as an optional engine.

    One area I would say Chrome removes users freedom is on Android. No other browser can give you as complete experience as Chrome, if you use Google’s services. It would be great if other mobile browsers could be as integrated with those services as Chrome is. There are steps you can take to improve it, but it really doesn’t compare.

    I use Firefox on my mobile devices and it is fine as a browser. Unfortunately, there is no comparison to Chrome because it allows for such a complete Android experience. Google Chrome is to Android what iOS is to Apple mobile devices. Highly optimized and integrated. I don’t like it but it is what it is.

    At least Firefox rocks on the Linux desktop. The speed difference is very noticeable and it looks a lot better. Chrome’s new makeover looks a bit strange on the desktop but it’s pretty nice on Android, I must admit.

    Google is a giant and there is little we can do about it. I have tried the alternatives and realized outside of Apple, there are no viable options yet.

  4. Basically, with this “utility” you are removing the freedom of users to use their favorite web browser to just the electron (aka crappy Google Chrome).

    Web already have an standard for progressive web apps (, no need for non-standard non-neutral vendor stuff anymore

    Yes, certainly it’s very useful… If you are Google and want to get rid of fair competition.

    • I hear what you’re saying about PWAs bro. But I disagree that freedom is being removed since users are free to use (or not to use) Nativefier. Some people find it useful e.g. the inventor.


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