a package manager for node
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npm(1) -- node package manager


This is just enough info to get you up and running.

Much more info available via npm help once it's installed.


You need node v0.4 or higher to run this program.

To install an old and unsupported version of npm that works on node 0.3 and prior, clone the git repo and dig through the old tags and branches.

Simple Install (Unix only, sorry)

To install npm with one command, do this:

curl http://npmjs.org/install.sh | sh

To skip the npm 0.x cleanup, do this:

curl http://npmjs.org/install.sh | clean=no sh

To say "yes" to the 0.x cleanup, but skip the prompt:

curl http://npmjs.org/install.sh | clean=yes sh

If you get permission errors, see the section below, entitled "Permission Errors on Installation".

Installing on Windows -- Experimental

Yes, this sucks. A convenient one-liner is coming soon.

Step 1: Drop the node.exe somewhere

You will probably need the latest version of node, at least version 0.5.8 or higher. You can get it from http://nodejs.org/dist/v0.5.8/node.exe.

Step 2 (optional): Update the %PATH% environment variable

Update your %PATH% environment variable in System Properties: Advanced: Environment, so that it includes the bin folder you chose. The entries are separated by semicolons.

You may be able to do this from the command line using set and setx. cd into the bin folder you created in step 1, and do this:

set path=%PATH%;%CD%
setx path "%PATH%"

This will have the added advantage that you'll be able to simply type npm or node in any project folder to access those commands.

If you decide not to update the PATH, and put the node.exe file in C:\node\node.exe, then the npm executable will end up C:\node\npm.cmd, and you'll have to type C:\node\npm <command> to use it.

Step 3: Install git

If you don't already have git, install it.

Run git --version to make sure that it's at least version 1.7.6.

Step 4: install npm

Lastly, after node.exe, git, and your %PATH% have all been set up properly, install npm itself:

git config --system http.sslcainfo /bin/curl-ca-bundle.crt
git clone --recursive git://github.com/isaacs/npm.git
cd npm
node cli.js install npm -gf

Permission Errors on Installation

If you get permission errors, you can either install node someplace that you have permission to write to (recommended!) or you can place a very unsafe amount of trust in me, and in your network, and do this:

curl http://npmjs.org/install.sh | sudo sh

Note: You need to sudo the sh, not the curl. Fetching stuff from the internet typically doesn't require elevated permissions. Running it might.

I highly recommend that you first download the file, and make sure that it is what you expect, and then run it.

curl -O http://npmjs.org/install.sh
# inspect file..
sudo sh install.sh

Installing on Cygwin


It's not supported, and terrible. Use the windows native approach, or use a Linux or Solaris virtual machine in VMWare or VirtualBox.

Dev Install

To install the latest unstable development version from git:

git clone https://github.com/isaacs/npm.git
cd npm
sudo make install     # (or: `node cli.js install -gf`)

If you're sitting in the code folder reading this document in your terminal, then you've already got the code. Just do:

sudo make install

and npm will install itself.

If you don't have make, and don't have curl or git, and ALL you have is this code and node, you can probably do this:

sudo node ./cli.js install -g

However, note that github tarballs do not contain submodules, so those won't work. You'll have to also fetch the appropriate submodules listed in the .gitmodules file.



  • Use sudo for greater safety. Or don't, if you prefer not to.
  • npm will downgrade permissions if it's root before running any build scripts that package authors specified.

More details...

As of version 0.3, it is recommended to run npm as root. This allows npm to change the user identifier to the nobody user prior to running any package build or test commands.

If you are not the root user, or if you are on a platform that does not support uid switching, then npm will not attempt to change the userid.

If you would like to ensure that npm always runs scripts as the "nobody" user, and have it fail if it cannot downgrade permissions, then set the following configuration param:

npm config set unsafe-perm false

This will prevent running in unsafe mode, even as non-root users.


So sad to see you go.

sudo npm uninstall npm -g

Or, if that fails,

sudo make uninstall

More Severe Uninstalling

Usually, the above instructions are sufficient. That will remove npm, but leave behind anything you've installed.

If you would like to remove all the packages that you have installed, then you can use the npm ls command to find them, and then npm rm to remove them.

To remove cruft left behind by npm 0.x, you can use the included clean-old.sh script file. You can run it conveniently like this:

npm explore npm -g -- sh scripts/clean-old.sh

npm uses two configuration files, one for per-user configs, and another for global (every-user) configs. You can view them by doing:

npm config get userconfig   # defaults to ~/.npmrc
npm config get globalconfig # defaults to /usr/local/etc/npmrc

Uninstalling npm does not remove configuration files by default. You must remove them yourself manually if you want them gone. Note that this means that future npm installs will not remember the settings that you have chosen.

Using npm Programmatically

If you would like to use npm programmatically, you can do that. It's not very well documented, but it is rather simple.

var npm = require("npm")
npm.load(myConfigObject, function (er) {
  if (er) return handlError(er)
  npm.commands.install(["some", "args"], function (er, data) {
    if (er) return commandFailed(er)
    // command succeeded, and data might have some info
  npm.on("log", function (message) { .... })

The load function takes an object hash of the command-line configs. The various npm.commands.<cmd> functions take an array of positional argument strings. The last argument to any npm.commands.<cmd> function is a callback. Some commands take other optional arguments. Read the source.

You cannot set configs individually for any single npm function at this time. Since npm is a singleton, any call to npm.config.set will change the value for all npm commands in that process.

See ./bin/npm-cli.js for an example of pulling config values off of the command line arguments using nopt. You may also want to check out npm help config to learn about all the options you can set there.

More Docs

Check out the docs, especially the faq.

You can use the npm help command to read any of them.

If you're a developer, and you want to use npm to publish your program, you should read this

Legal Stuff

"npm" and "the npm registry" are owned by Isaac Z. Schlueter. All rights not explicitly granted in the MIT license are reserved. See the included LICENSE file for more details.

"Node.js" and "node" are trademarks owned by Joyent, Inc. npm is not officially part of the Node.js project, and is neither owned by nor officially affiliated with Joyent, Inc.

The packages in the npm registry are not part of npm itself, and are the sole property of their respective maintainers. While every effort is made to ensure accountability, there is absolutely no guarantee, warrantee, or assertion made as to the quality, fitness for a specific purpose, or lack of malice in any given npm package. Modules published on the npm registry are not affiliated with or endorsed by Joyent, Inc., Isaac Z. Schlueter, Ryan Dahl, or the Node.js project.

If you have a complaint about a package in the npm registry, and cannot resolve it with the package owner, please express your concerns to Isaac Z. Schlueter at i@izs.me.

In plain english

This is mine; not my employer's, not Node's, not Joyent's, not Ryan Dahl's.

If you publish something, it's yours, and you are solely accountable for it. Not me, not Node, not Joyent, not Ryan Dahl.

If other people publish something, it's theirs. Not mine, not Node's, not Joyent's, not Ryan Dahl's.

Yes, you can publish something evil. It will be removed promptly if reported, and we'll lose respect for you. But there is no vetting process for published modules.

If this concerns you, inspect the source before using packages.


  • npm(1)
  • npm-faq(1)
  • npm-help(1)
  • npm-index(1)