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a package manager for javascript
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npm(1) -- a JavaScript package manager

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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 v0.8 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.

npm is configured to use npm, Inc.'s public package registry at by default.

You can configure npm to use any compatible registry you like, and even run your own registry. Check out the doc on registries.

Use of someone else's registry may be governed by terms of use. The terms of use for the default public registry are available at

Super Easy Install

npm is bundled with node.

Windows Computers

Get the MSI. npm is in it.

Apple Macintosh Computers

Get the pkg. npm is in it.

Other Sorts of Unices

Run make install. npm will be installed with node.

If you want a more fancy pants install (a different version, customized paths, etc.) then read on.

Fancy Install (Unix)

There's a pretty robust install script at You can download that and run it.

Here's an example using curl:

curl -L | sh

Slightly Fancier

You can set any npm configuration params with that script:

npm_config_prefix=/some/path sh

Or, you can run it in uber-debuggery mode:

npm_debug=1 sh

Even Fancier

Get the code with git. Use make to build the docs and do other stuff. If you plan on hacking on npm, make link is your friend.

If you've got the npm source code, you can also semi-permanently set arbitrary config keys using the ./configure --key=val ..., and then run npm commands by doing node cli.js <cmd> <args>. (This is helpful for testing, or running stuff without actually installing npm itself.)

Windows Install or Upgrade

You can download a zip file from, and unpack it in the node_modules\npm\ folder inside node's installation folder.

To upgrade to npm 2, follow the Windows upgrade instructions in the npm Troubleshooting Guide:

If that's not fancy enough for you, then you can fetch the code with git, and mess with it directly.

Installing on Cygwin



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 script file. You can run it conveniently like this:

npm explore npm -g -- sh scripts/

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

Although npm can be used programmatically, its API is meant for use by the CLI only, and no guarantees are made regarding its fitness for any other purpose. If you want to use npm to reliably perform some task, the safest thing to do is to invoke the desired npm command with appropriate arguments.

The semantic version of npm refers to the CLI itself, rather than the underlying API. The internal API is not guaranteed to remain stable even when npm's version indicates no breaking changes have been made according to semver.

If you still would like to use npm programmatically, it's possible. The API isn't very well documented, but it is rather simple.

Eventually, npm will be just a thin CLI wrapper around the modules that it depends on, but for now, there are some things that only the CLI can do. You should try using one of npm's dependencies first, and only use the API if what you're trying to do is only supported by npm itself.

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.registry.log.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


When you find issues, please report them:

Be sure to include all of the output from the npm command that didn't work as expected. The npm-debug.log file is also helpful to provide.

You can also look for isaacs in #node.js on irc:// He will no doubt tell you to put the output in a gist or email.


  • npm(1)
  • npm-faq(7)
  • npm-help(1)
  • npm-index(7)
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