There are basically two ways to reference the current folder in a Node.js script:

  • ./
  • __dirname

Along with ./, there is ../, which points to the parent folder. They behave in the same way.

There is a big difference between the two.

Using __dirname in a Node script will return the path of the folder where the current JavaScript file resides.

Using ./ will give you the current working directory. It will return the same result as calling process.cwd().

Initially the current working directory is the path of the folder where you ran the node command, but that can be changed during the execution of your script, by using the process.chdir() API.

There is just one place where ./ refers to the current file path, and it’s in a require() call. In there, ./ (for convenience) will always refer to the JavaScript file path, letting you import other modules based on the folder structure.