- Frequently Asked Questions
, or run:
npm config set viewer browser
to open these documents in your default web browser rather than man
That´s not really a question.
I don´t know yet.
Read the error output, and if you can´t figure out what it means, do what
it says and post a bug with all the information it asks for.
npm help See npm-folders
- Use the npm root command to see where modules go,
and the npm bin command to see where executables go
- Global installs are different from local installs. If you
install something with the -g flag, then its executables go in
npm bin -g and its modules go in npm root -g.
Install it globally by tacking -g
to the command.
(This is especially important for command line utilities that need to add
their bins to the global system PATH
Install it locally.
The global install location is a place for command-line utilities to put their
bins in the system PATH
. It´s not for use with require()
If you require()
a module in your code, then that means it´s a
dependency, and a part of your program. You need to install it locally in your
Not every change is an improvement, but every improvement is a change. This
would be like asking git to do network IO for every commit. It´s not
going to happen, because it´s a terrible idea that causes more problems
than it solves.
npm help It is much harder to avoid dependency conflicts without nesting
dependencies. This is fundamental to the way that npm works, and has proven to
be an extremely successful approach. See npm-folders
for more details.
If you want a package to be installed in one place, and have all your programs
reference the same copy of it, then use the npm link
That´s what it´s for. Install it globally, then link it into
each program that uses it.
Write your own package manager. You could probably even wrap up npm
shell script if you really wanted to.
npm will not help you do something that is known to be a bad idea.
Mikeal Rogers answered this question very well:
- Check node_modules into git for things you
deploy, such as websites and apps.
- Do not check node_modules into git for libraries and
modules intended to be reused.
- Use npm to manage dependencies in your dev environment, but
not in your deployment scripts.
npm should never be capitalized unless it is being displayed in a location that
is customarily all-caps (such as the title of man pages.)
Contrary to the belief of many, "npm" is not in fact an abbreviation
for "Node Package Manager". It is a recursive bacronymic
abbreviation for "npm is not an acronym". (If it was
"ninaa", then it would be an acronym, and thus incorrectly named.)
"NPM", however, is
an acronym (more precisely, a capitonym) for
the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. You can learn more about them
In software, "NPM" is a Non-Parametric Mapping utility written by
Chris Rorden. You can analyze pictures of brains with it. Learn more about the
(capitalized) NPM program at http://www.cabiatl.com/mricro/npm/
The first seed that eventually grew into this flower was a bash utility named
"pm", which was a shortened descendent of "pkgmakeinst", a
bash function that was used to install various different things on different
platforms, most often using Yahoo´s yinst
. If npm
ever an acronym for anything, it was node pm
or maybe new pm
So, in all seriousness, the "npm" project is named after its
command-line utility, which was organically selected to be easily typed by a
right-handed programmer using a US QWERTY keyboard layout, ending with the
right-ring-finger in a postition to type the -
key for flags and other
command-line arguments. That command-line utility is always lower-case, though
it starts most sentences it is a part of.
Arguments are greps. npm search jsdom
shows jsdom packages.
npm update npm -g
You can also update all outdated local packages by doing npm update
without any arguments, or global packages by doing npm update -g
Occasionally, the version of npm will progress such that the current version
cannot be properly installed with the version that you have installed already.
(Consider, if there is ever a bug in the update
In those cases, you can do this:
curl https://www.npmjs.org/install.sh | sh
A package is:
- a) a folder containing a program described by a
- b) a gzipped tarball containing (a)
- c) a url that resolves to (b)
- d) a <name>@<version> that is published
on the registry with (c)
- e) a <name>@<tag> that points to
- f) a <name> that has a "latest" tag
- g) a git url that, when cloned, results in (a).
Even if you never publish your package, you can still get a lot of benefits of
using npm if you just want to write a node program (a), and perhaps if you
also want to be able to easily install it elsewhere after packing it up into a
Git urls can be of the form:
can be any tag, sha, or branch which can be supplied as an
argument to git checkout
. The default is master
A module is anything that can be loaded with require()
in a Node.js
program. The following things are all examples of things that can be loaded as
- A folder with a package.json file containing a
- A folder with an index.js file in it.
Most npm packages are modules, because they are libraries that you load with
. However, there´s no requirement that an npm package be
a module! Some only contain an executable command-line interface, and
don´t provide a main
field for use in Node programs.
Almost all npm packages (at least, those that are Node programs) contain
many modules within them (because every file they load with require()
is a module).
In the context of a Node program, the module
is also the thing that was
a file. For example, in the following program:
var req = require(´request´)
we might say that "The variable req
refers to the request
file defines the package. (See "What is a
folder is the place Node.js looks for modules. (See
"What is a module?" above.)
For example, if you create a file at node_modules/foo.js
and then had a
program that did var f = require(´foo.js´)
then it would
load the module. However, foo.js
is not a "package" in this
case, because it does not have a package.json.
Alternatively, if you create a package which does not have an index.js
field in the package.json
file, then it is
not a module. Even if it´s installed in node_modules
can´t be an argument to require()
No. This will never happen. This question comes up sometimes, because it seems
silly from the outside that npm couldn´t just be configured to put
stuff somewhere else, and then npm could load them from there. It´s an
arbitrary spelling choice, right? What´s the big deal?
At the time of this writing, the string ´node_modules´
appears 151 times in 53 separate files in npm and node core (excluding tests
Some of these references are in node´s built-in module loader. Since npm
is not involved at all
at run-time, node itself would have to be
configured to know where you´ve decided to stick stuff. Complexity
hurdle #1. Since the Node module system is locked, this cannot be changed, and
is enough to kill this request. But I´ll continue, in deference to your
deity´s delicate feelings regarding spelling.
Many of the others are in dependencies that npm uses, which are not necessarily
tightly coupled to npm (in the sense that they do not read npm´s
configuration files, etc.) Each of these would have to be configured to take
the name of the node_modules
folder as a parameter. Complexity hurdle
Furthermore, npm has the ability to "bundle" dependencies by adding
the dep names to the "bundledDependencies"
package.json, which causes the folder to be included in the package tarball.
What if the author of a module bundles its dependencies, and they use a
different spelling for node_modules
? npm would have to rename the
folder at publish time, and then be smart enough to unpack it using your
locally configured name. Complexity hurdle #3.
Furthermore, what happens when you change
this name? Fine, it´s
easy enough the first time, just rename the node_modules
or whatever name you choose. But what about when you
change it again? npm doesn´t currently track any state about past
configuration settings, so this would be rather difficult to do properly. It
would have to track every previous value for this config, and always accept
any of them, or else yesterday´s install may be broken tomorrow.
Complexity hurdle #4.
Never going to happen. The folder is named node_modules
. It is written
indelibly in the Node Way, handed down from the ancient times of Node 0.3.
You don´t. Try one of these node version managers:
npm help See npm-developersnpm help
You´ll most likely want to npm link
your development folder.
That´s awesomely handy.
npm help To set up your own private registry, check out npm-registry
Yes. It should be a url to a gzipped tarball containing a single folder that has
a package.json in its root, or a git url. (See "what is a package?"
npm help See npm-link
npm help See npm-registry
Go to https://npmjs.org/forgot
Either the registry is down, or node´s DNS isn´t able to reach
To check if the registry is down, open up https://registry.npmjs.org/
a web browser. This will also tell you if you are just unable to access the
internet for some reason.
If the registry IS down, let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
posting an issue at https://github.com/npm/npm/issues
. If it´s
down for the world (and not just on your local network) then we´re
probably already being pinged about it.
You can also often get a faster response by visiting the #npm channel on
Please see this discussion: https://github.com/npm/npm/issues/798
tl;dr - It doesn´t actually make things better, and can make them worse.
If you want to namespace your own packages, you may: simply use the -
character to separate the names. npm is a mostly anarchic system. There is not
sufficient need to impose namespace rules on everyone.
npm was originally written by Isaac Z. Schlueter, and many others have
contributed to it, some of them quite substantially.
The npm open source project, The npm Registry, and the community website
are maintained and operated by the good folks at
npm, Inc. http://www.npmjs.com
Post an issue on the github project:
npm is not capable of hatred. It loves everyone, especially you.
- npm help npm
- npm help developers
- npm help package.json
- npm help config
- npm help config
- npm help npmrc
- npm help config
- npm help folders