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alias node for sudoers #43

mpotra opened this Issue Jul 1, 2011 · 21 comments
mpotra commented Jul 1, 2011

When sudoing node, 'command not found' is issued, because on most systems PATH is reset on sudo, for security reasons.
This makes 'sudo node' not work anymore.

Simply adding the following line at the end of the script, would fix it:

alias node='$NVM_BIN/node'
//possibly adding an alias for npm as well?

This assumes .bashrc for user contains these 3 lines:

. ~/.nvm/
#enable aliases in sudo
alias sudo='sudo '


Very neat idea. I don't want to add it to my nvm repo since it's a little invasive, but it's not hard for someone who wants to customize their environment.

I usually just source the file as root after running "sudo su" or modify root's .bashrc. I want more than just node when I run sudo and this way I get everything in the $NVM_BIN folder.

@creationix creationix closed this Jul 1, 2011
mpotra commented Jul 2, 2011

You are right, it might be a bit invasive and probably shouldn't be active in the release, but maybe just have it posted here or somewhere in future docs, so that people could find it easy.
Or maybe it might be better to have it in the script, but commented out, and people who need it, would just uncomment it - just a thought.

It took me a bit to figure this out, so probably this could save some time for others.

Modifying root's bashrc wasn't an option for my case, since we had a set-up with several users, each with its own node/nvm, and wanted to allow quick running through sudo (sudo node app_name), where necessary.
Including or the path/s in root's .bashrc would allow only for one single setup to run through sudo.

euskode commented Mar 30, 2012

This is fantastic, I made the changes and it works like a charm.

What if I wanted to do something like sudo ENV1=val1 ENV2=val2 node server.js?

I am able to do that with other tools (I remember that forever never had an issue with it), however in my nvm-ized environment, I get sudo: node: command not found.

Any help would be much appreciated!


Does "nvm install" need sudo to run error-free?


@zakdances no, nvm installs node into a local folder inside your git clone of the nvm repo. Unless your user doesn't have write access to your own clone, then it should work fine without sudo. In fact, using sudo can break things since it creates files as the root user.

casio commented Sep 25, 2012

Hm, just stumbled upon this one when trying to install grunt globally.

Like @mpotra suggested, I had to also alias npm like so:
alias node='$NVM_BIN/node'
alias npm='$NVM_BIN/npm'

So that means that not a single node package intended for global availablity can be installed when using nvm by default, right? That should make quite some users having this scenario, I imagine.

How about inventing a special nvm mode so the aliases only get activated when users explicitly enter that mode?
When they leave the mode again, the aliases could get disabled.


This seems common enough that it should be added to the readme.


Yes, needing sudo on *nix systtems is very common.

As a suggestion, you could try a solution similar to what ruby version manager does


I was just told in the git mailing list that you should only very rarely use sudo. But I see it all the time. Too many opinions about it.

tjwebb commented Dec 14, 2013

Using sudo to install node is perfectly reasonable and common. Running node itself as root is frowned upon. Unfortunately nvm makes this very difficult.

tjwebb commented Dec 14, 2013

If anyone is looking for an easy way to install nvm globally:


There is no need to install node with sudo once you give the nvm directory the right permissions.
For example:
create a user group called nvm, add every user that need to use nvm to this group and change the permissions of your nvm dir to group writeable: chmod 2775 /usr/local/nvm (the first digit (2) is the setgid bit, explained here, which ensures the group for execution in this directory stays the same)


+1 for nvmsudo solution proposed by @treehau5


+1 for @koenpunt point on group access.

wilmoore commented Mar 4, 2014

Using sudo to install node is perfectly reasonable

I'm not sure I agree with "reasonable"...more like "endemic".

and common.

With this, I agree.

But I see it all the time. Too many opinions about it.

I disagree with it's usage; but, to each their own.

tjwebb commented Mar 4, 2014

My use case is to be able to easily upgrade my system-wide services, running on nodejs, in the case of patch/security releases, and for those to be compatible with Travis-CI, which uses nvm. How else besides using sudo would one install nvm into the global PATH for this purpose? Or is there a better tool for this?

I guess the real problem is the generally crappy package manager support that node.js enjoys from most OS vendors.

wilmoore commented Mar 4, 2014

I guess the real problem is the generally crappy package manager support that node.js enjoys from most OS vendors.

Well, to be fair, every other language has to deal with those same crappy OS package managers. Actually, some are quite good, but the problem is maintenance. Sometimes you want 0.11.11 but good luck finding an OS packager maintainer that can (or will) keep up with that pace.

How else besides using sudo would one install nvm into the global PATH for this purpose? Or is there a better tool for this?

Maybe someone else can chime in...I don't have a good answer because I don't tend toward this particular workflow.

Today, I use docker (i.e. LXC container)...before docker existed, I would use VMs.

With docker, nvm isn't really needed. You just spin up a container with the exact version you care about.

I tend to use nvm on my dev machine, installed via homebrew and install nodes into my local user directory; where sudo is never needed.

gagle commented Sep 12, 2015

Setting this in ~/.profile worked for me:

alias sudo='sudo env PATH=$PATH:$NVM_BIN'

It's part of the nvm installation in vagrant:


config.vm.provision :shell, path: "vagrant/", privileged: false


sudo su vagrant -c "wget -qO- | bash"

echo "
source /home/vagrant/.nvm/
alias sudo='sudo env PATH=\$PATH:\$NVM_BIN'
" >> /home/vagrant/.profile

export NVM_DIR="/home/vagrant/.nvm"
[ -s "$NVM_DIR/" ] && . "$NVM_DIR/"

nvm install stable
nvm alias default stable

Now I can do sudo node|npm|pm2|whatever.

JCMais commented Sep 18, 2015

Thank you @gagle, that was the best solution I found.

pedroxs commented Oct 22, 2015

I like the solution pointed at this stackoverflow given by Digital Ocean. It solves the sudo problem and makes it easy to update root versions when needed.

ljharb commented Oct 22, 2015

You shouldn't need sudo for anything. Use authbind if you need to have node listen on privileged ports.

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