September 25, 20224 min read

Create SHA3-256 Hash of a File in Node.js

Encryption and hashing have served as the foundation for new security modules, among other network security developments. One of the most used hash algorithms is the Secure Hash Algorithm(SHA) with a digest size of 256 bits, or SHA 256. Although there are numerous variations, SHA 256 has been the most often used in practical applications.

SHA-3 (Secure Hash Algorithm 3) is the latest member of the Secure Hash Algorithm family of standards. Although part of the same series of standards, SHA-3 is internally different from the MD5-like structure of SHA-1 and SHA-2. SHA-3 instances are drop-in replacements for SHA-2, intended to have identical security properties. The SHA-3 family consists of six hash functions with digests (hash values) that are 128, 224, 256, 384 or 512 bits: SHA3-224, SHA3-256, SHA3-384, SHA3-512, SHAKE128, SHAKE256.

The SHA-3 / Keccak algorithm is one of the most secure and efficient hashing algorithms and some claim that it won’t be cracked in the next 20 - 30 years. Developments in the quantum computing world might decrease that time frame but it is still one of the best hashing algorithm we have got right now.

The hash function generates the same output hash for the same input string. This means that, you can use this string to validate files or text or anything when you pass it across the network or even otherwise. SHA3-256 can act as a stamp or for checking if the data is valid or not.

The 256 in the name SHA3-256 refers to the final hash digest value, meaning that regardless of the amount of plaintext or cleartext, the hash value will always be 256 bits.

For example -

Input StringOutput Hash
computer science is amazing! I love it.9d9c88852fed897f23a898f0994b325cff9c70b629c96eff3739c4ffb1459edf

If you want to generate SHA3-256 checksum in JavaScript i.e., client side (browser), please follow this article - Create SHA3-256 Hash in JavaScript

Node.js crypto module provides cryptographic functions to help you secure code and data in Node.js. It includes a set of wrappers for OpenSSL’s hash, HMAC, cipher, decipher, sign, and verify functions.

crypto is built into Node.js, so there is not configuration or custom implementation needed.

For creating SHA3-256 hash in nodejs script/code, we shall use the default crypto module that comes packaged with nodejs.

If you looking to create an MD5 hash of a string, please follow the article where we discuss about this.

Creating SHA3-256 Hash of a File

Now let's learn how to create an SHA3-256 hash of a file. File can be any file, a text file, a JSON file, data file etc.,

You can either require the crypto module-

const crypto = require("crypto");

or also use the modern import to import the crypto module-

import { createHash } from "crypto";

Here, let's consider a text file for example - hello.txt having content - Welcome to Debugpointer. Let's read the contents of the file using the fs module and read the file in a synchronous manner.

import { createHash } from "crypto";
const fs = require("fs");
const buff = fs.readFileSync("hello.txt");
const hash = createHash("sha3-256").update(buff).digest("hex");

The output of the above script will be an SHA3-256 hash when you run the command node index.js in your shell-


Prefer SHA3-256 or SHA-512 or other superior cryptographic hash functions for creating a hash for passwords, integrity verification.

It's as simple as that! You do not need any fancy npm library for creating an SHA3-256 hash in Node.js.

I'm glad that you found the content useful. Happy Coding.

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About the Author
Satvik is a passionate developer turned Entrepreneur. He is fascinated by JavaScript, Operating System, Deep Learning, AR/VR. He has published several research papers and applied for patents in the field as well. Satvik is a speaker in conferences, meetups talking about Artificial Intelligence, JavaScript and related subjects. His goal is to solve complex problems that people face with automation. Related projects can be seen at - [Projects](/projects)
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