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node-build is a command-line utility that makes it easy to install virtually any version of Node, from source or precompiled binary.

It is available as a plugin for nodenv that provides the nodenv install command, or as a standalone program.


# Using Homebrew on macOS
$ brew install node-build

# As a nodenv plugin
$ mkdir -p "$(nodenv root)"/plugins
$ git clone "$(nodenv root)"/plugins/node-build

# As a standalone program
$ git clone
$ PREFIX=/usr/local ./node-build/


# Via Homebrew
$ brew update && brew upgrade node-build

# As a nodenv plugin
$ git -C "$(nodenv root)"/plugins/node-build pull

Updating available build versions

To grab the latest versions from and generate definition files for node-build to use, check out the node-build-update-defs plugin. Once installed:

nodenv update-version-defs

No need to wait for node-build to provide the latest definitions!


Basic Usage

# As a nodenv plugin
$ nodenv install --list                    # lists all available versions of Node
$ nodenv install 10.13.0                   # installs Node 10.13.0 to ~/.nodenv/versions

# As a standalone program
$ node-build --definitions                 # lists all available versions of Node
$ node-build 10.13.0 ~/local/node-10.13.0  # installs Node 10.13.0 to ~/local/node-10.13.0

node-build does not check for system dependencies before downloading and attempting to compile the Node source. Please ensure that all requisite libraries are available on your system.

Advanced Usage


By default, node-build will attempt to match one of the precompiled binaries to your platform. If there is a binary for your platform, it will install it instead of compiling from source. To force compilation, pass the -c or --compile flag.

Custom Build Definitions

If you wish to develop and install a version of Node that is not yet supported by node-build, you may specify the path to a custom “build definition file” in place of a Node version number.

Use the default build definitions as a template for your custom definitions.

Custom Build Configuration

The build process may be configured through the following environment variables:

Variable Function
TMPDIR Where temporary files are stored.
NODE_BUILD_BUILD_PATH Where sources are downloaded and built. (Default: a timestamped subdirectory of TMPDIR)
NODE_BUILD_CACHE_PATH Where to cache downloaded package files. (Default: ~/.nodenv/cache if invoked as nodenv plugin)
NODE_BUILD_HTTP_CLIENT One of aria2c, curl, or wget to use for downloading. (Default: first one found in PATH)
NODE_BUILD_ARIA2_OPTS Additional options to pass to aria2c for downloading.
NODE_BUILD_CURL_OPTS Additional options to pass to curl for downloading.
NODE_BUILD_WGET_OPTS Additional options to pass to wget for downloading.
NODE_BUILD_MIRROR_CMD A command to construct the package mirror URL.
NODE_BUILD_MIRROR_URL Custom mirror URL root.
NODE_BUILD_SKIP_MIRROR Bypass the download mirror and fetch all package files from their original URLs.
NODE_BUILD_ROOT Custom build definition directory. (Default: share/node-build)
NODE_BUILD_DEFINITIONS Additional paths to search for build definitions. (Colon-separated list)
CC Path to the C compiler.
NODE_CFLAGS Additional CFLAGS options (e.g., to override -O3).
CONFIGURE_OPTS Additional ./configure options.
MAKE Custom make command (e.g., gmake).
MAKE_OPTS / MAKEOPTS Additional make options.
MAKE_INSTALL_OPTS Additional make install options.
NODE_CONFIGURE_OPTS Additional ./configure options (applies only to Node source).
NODE_MAKE_OPTS Additional make options (applies only to Node source).
NODE_MAKE_INSTALL_OPTS Additional make install options (applies only to Node source).

Applying Patches

Both nodenv install and node-build support the --patch (-p) flag to apply a patch to the Node (/iojs/chakracore) source code before building. Patches are read from STDIN:

# applying a single patch
$ nodenv install --patch 11.1.0 < /path/to/node.patch

# applying a patch from HTTP
$ nodenv install --patch 11.1.0 < <(curl -sSL

# applying multiple patches
$ cat fix1.patch fix2.patch | nodenv install --patch 11.1.0

Checksum Verification

If you have the shasum, openssl, or sha256sum tool installed, node-build will automatically verify the SHA2 checksum of each downloaded package before installing it.

Checksums are optional and specified as anchors on the package URL in each definition. All definitions bundled with node-build include checksums.

Package Mirrors

By default, node-build downloads package files from the official URL specified in the definition file.

 # example:
 install_package "node-v12.0.0" "<SHA2>"

node-build will attempt to construct a mirror url by invoking NODE_BUILD_MIRROR_CMD with two arguments: package_url and checksum. The provided command should print the desired mirror's complete package URL. If NODE_BUILD_MIRROR_CMD is unset, package mirror URL construction defaults to replacing with NODE_BUILD_MIRROR_URL.

node-build will first try to fetch this package from $NODE_BUILD_MIRROR_URL/<SHA2> (note: this is the complete URL), where <SHA2> is the checksum for the file.

It will fall back to downloading the package from the original location if:

  • the package was not found on the mirror;
  • the mirror is down;
  • the download is corrupt, i.e. the file's checksum doesn't match;
  • no tool is available to calculate the checksum; or
  • NODE_BUILD_SKIP_MIRROR is enabled.

You may specify a custom mirror by setting NODE_BUILD_MIRROR_URL.

Keeping the build directory after installation

Both node-build and nodenv install accept the -k or --keep flag, which tells node-build to keep the downloaded source after installation. This can be useful if you need to use gdb and memprof with Node.

Source code will be kept in a parallel directory tree $(nodenv root)/sources when using --keep with the nodenv install command. You should specify the location of the source code with the NODE_BUILD_BUILD_PATH environment variable when using --keep with node-build.

Retry installation without v/node-/node-v prefix

The nodenv-install plugin can attempt a retry if the installation failed due to a missing definition file. If the given node version name begins with 'v', 'node', or 'node-v', the retry will drop the prefix and try again. For instance, if nodenv install node-v11.0.0 fails because a definition file does not exist by the name "node-v11.0.0", it will retry as "11.0.0". For this retry to be attempted, the environment variable NODENV_PREFIX_RETRY must be non-empty.

Getting Help

Please see the node-build wiki for solutions to common problems. Also, check out the ruby-build wiki.

If you can't find an answer on the wiki, open an issue on the issue tracker. Be sure to include the full build log for build failures.


Forked from Sam Stephenson's ruby-build by Will McKenzie and modified for node.