How to Install npm & Manage npm Versions

npm is written in Node.js, so your system needs to have Node.js before you can use npm. However, the two products are managed by different entities, so updates and maintenance can become complex. Also, the Node.js installation process installs npm in a directory that doesn't have global permissions. This can cause permissions errors when you attempt to run packages globally.

To solve both these issues, npm recommends that you use a node version manager, or nvm, to install npm. The version manager will avoid permissions errors, and will solve the complexities of updating Node.js and npm.

In addition, many developers like to test their applications on multiple versions of npm. Using a version manager makes it easy to switch versions.

Installing npm from a Version Manager

A version manager allows you to switch between node and npm versions, which makes it easier to ensure that your applications work for most users. Use the instructions for the version manager you select to learn how to switch versions, and to learn how to keep up-to-date with the latest version of npm.

Apple macOS

There are several recommended approaches for installing npm for the MacOS.

Using HomeBrew to Install NVM

Many Macintosh developers use Homebrew, a valuable tool for managing apps and files.

  1. To install Homebrew, click here.

  2. After you've installed Homebrew, run brew install node

  3. Homebrew will install Node.js and npm.

Installing NVM Directly

If you don't want to install Homebrew, click here to learn how to install nvm without it.

Microsoft Windows

To install and manage npm and Node.js on Windows, we recommend that you install this version manager, nvm-windows.


Click here to learn how to install nvm for Linux.

Installing npm Directly

Although it is not recommended for most users, you can install npm without a version manager. The Nodejs.org installation process will install Node.js and npm into /usr/local.

Note: using this method to install npm can lead to permissions errors such as EACCESS. To learn more about permissions, see Chapter 3.

1. Install Node.js

If you're using OS X or Windows, another way to install Node.js is to use one of the installers from the Node.js download page. Be sure to install the version labeled LTS. Other versions have not been tested with npm.

If you're using Linux, you can use the installer, or you can check NodeSource's binary distributions to see whether or not there's a more recent version that works with your system.

After installing, run node -v. The version should be higher than v8.9.1

2. Update npm

Node comes with npm installed so you should have a version of npm. However, npm gets updated more frequently than Node does, so you'll want to make sure it's the latest version.

To test, run npm -v. Compare this version with the version at the bottom of each page of doc (scroll down) to see if it's the latest version.

If the version is not the latest version, run:

npm install npm@latest -g

How to Install npm from a Module

For more advanced users

The npm module is available for download on our website.

Experimenting with the Next Release

For more advanced users

If you want to try the next, unreleased version of npm to test packages you have created, use this command:

npm install npm@next -g

This may simply reinstall the current version, depending on the development cycle.

Learn More

To learn how to use nvm, click here.

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Licensed under the npm License.
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