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![NPM version][npm-badge] [npm-badge]:

Change between installed Node versions in your current shell with a simple chnode VERSION. Leaves the system version untouched. Works out of the box with Mac's Homebrew.


  • Change only the current shell without affecting the rest of the system.
  • Works out of the box with paths used by Mac's Homebrew.
  • Extendable by adding more Node paths to the NODES variable.
  • Leaves installing Node versions to your package manager thereby adhering to the do one thing and do it well principle.
  • Works in Bash and Zsh. And possibly other POSIX compatible shells.
  • Does not pollute your shell namespaces with internal functions.
  • Lightweight.
  • Written in the shell language. KISS.

Side note: I'm terribly ashamed of not yet having tests!


There are a few existing tools for switching Node versions, so how does differ?

  • It does not manage installations.
    Existing package managers (GNU/Linux distros', Homebrew etc.) do a better job of installing or compiling securely than such scripts.
  • It's really lightweight — just a single shell function.
    No build tools or compilers necessary.
  • It changes the node version only for the current shell session.
    Tools like N or NVM affect the entire system or all open shells. That's why if you need to test a single app in multiple Node versions, comes very handy.


If you do insist on compiling and installing Nodes via 3rd party tools, check these out:


Install globally with:

npm install --global chnode

Then source it in your shell:

. "$(npm bin --global)/chnode"

For convenience you might want to put the output of the following in your .zshrc or .bashrc.
It'll be faster than running the line above with npm bin which will slow down your shell loading.

echo ". \"$(npm bin --global)/chnode\""


Change between installed Node versions with:

chnode 0.12.2

To change to the latest installed v0.11.x (e.g. Node 0.11.15):

chnode 0.11

To change to the latest v0.x:

chnode 0

To go back to the system version:

chnode system


Option Description
-h, -?, --help Display this help.
-l, --list List all available Node versions.
-r, --refresh Refresh and find all available Node versions.
-v, --verbose Be verbose when changing versions.
-V, --version Display version information.


On the Mac will find installed Nodes in /usr/local/Cellar/node.
If you've got installations somewhere else, set the NODES variable to an array of paths of individual versions:


For example, if you've got Node compiled from the source at ~/Development/node-master, append that:


If you think should detect some of your paths automatically, please let me know by creating an issue. Thanks!

License is released under a Lesser GNU Affero General Public License, which in summary means:

  • You can use this program for no cost.
  • You can use this program for both personal and commercial reasons.
  • You do not have to share your own program's code which uses this program.
  • You have to share modifications (e.g bug-fixes) you've made to this program.

For more convoluted language, see the LICENSE file.


Andri Möll typed this and the code.
Monday Calendar supported the engineering work.

If you find needs improving, please don't hesitate to type to me now at or create an issue online.


Change between installed Node versions in your current shell.







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