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npm-config(1) -- Manage the npm configuration file


npm config set <key> <value> [--global]
npm config get <key>
npm config delete <key>
npm config list
npm config edit
npm get <key>
npm set <key> <value> [--global]


npm gets its configuration values from 5 sources, in this priority:

  • cli: The command line flags. Putting --foo bar on the command line sets the foo configuration parameter to "bar". A -- argument tells the cli parser to stop reading flags. A --flag parameter that is at the end of the command will be given the value of true.
  • env: Any environment variables that start with npm_config_ will be interpreted as a configuration parameter. For example, putting npm_config_foo=bar in your environment will set the foo configuration parameter to bar. Any environment configurations that are not given a value will be given the value of true. Config values are case-insensitive, so NPM_CONFIG_FOO=bar will work the same.
  • $HOME/.npmrc (or the userconfig param, if set above): This file is an ini-file formatted list of key = value parameters.
  • $PREFIX/etc/npmrc (or the globalconfig param, if set above): This file is an ini-file formatted list of key = value parameters
  • default configs: This is a set of configuration parameters that are internal to npm, and are defaults if nothing else is specified.


Config supports the following sub-commands:


npm config set key value

Sets the config key to the value.

If value is omitted, then it sets it to "true".


npm config get key

Echo the config value to stdout.


npm config list

Show all the config settings.


npm config delete key

Deletes the key from all configuration files.


npm config edit

Opens the config file in an editor. Use the --global flag to edit the global config.

Shorthands and Other CLI Niceties

The following shorthands are parsed on the command-line:

  • -v: --version
  • -h, -?, --help, -H: --usage
  • -s, --silent: --loglevel silent
  • -d: --loglevel info
  • -dd, --verbose: --loglevel verbose
  • -ddd: --loglevel silly
  • -g: --global
  • -l: --long
  • -p, --porcelain: --parseable
  • -reg: --registry
  • -v: --version
  • -f: --force
  • -l: --long
  • -desc: --description
  • ll and la commands: ls --long

If the specified configuration param resolves unambiguously to a known configuration parameter, then it is expanded to that configuration parameter. For example:

npm ls --par
# same as:
npm ls --parseable

If multiple single-character shorthands are strung together, and the resulting combination is unambiguously not some other configuration param, then it is expanded to its various component pieces. For example:

npm ls -gpld
# same as:
npm ls --global --parseable --long --loglevel info

Per-Package Config Settings

When running scripts (see npm help scripts) the package.json "config" keys are overwritten in the environment if there is a config param of <name>[@<version>]:<key>. For example, if the package.json has this:

{ "name" : "foo"
, "config" : { "port" : "8080" }
, "scripts" : { "start" : "node server.js" } }

and the server.js is this:


then the user could change the behavior by doing:

npm config set foo:port 80

Config Settings


  • Default: Unstable node versions, null, otherwise "<node version>-<platform>-<os release>"
  • Type: String or null

Experimental: on stable versions of node, binary distributions will be created with this tag. If a user then installs that package, and their bindist tag is found in the list of binary distributions, they will get that prebuilt version.

Pre-build node packages have their preinstall, install, and postinstall scripts stripped (since they are run prior to publishing), and do not have their build directories automatically ignored.

It's yet to be seen if this is a good idea.


  • Default: OS X: "open", others: "google-chrome"
  • Type: String

The browser that is called by the npm docs command to open websites.


  • Default: Windows: ~/npm-cache, Posix: ~/.npm
  • Type: path

The location of npm's cache directory. See npm help cache


  • Default: true
  • Type: Boolean or "always"

If false, never shows colors. If "always" then always shows colors. If true, then only prints color codes for tty file descriptors.


  • Default: Infinity
  • Type: Number

The depth to go when recursing directories for npm ls and npm cache ls.


  • Default: true
  • Type: Boolean

Whether or not to show the description in npm search


  • Default: false
  • Type: Boolean

Whether or not to install dev-dependencies along with packages.

Note that dev-dependencies are also installed if the npat flag is set.


  • Default: EDITOR environment variable if set, or "vi"
  • Type: path

The command to run for npm edit or npm config edit.


  • Default: false
  • Type: Boolean

Makes various commands more forceful.

  • lifecycle script failure does not block progress.
  • publishing clobbers previously published versions.
  • skips cache when requesting from the registry.
  • prevents checks against clobbering non-npm files.


  • Default: false
  • Type: Boolean

Operates in "global" mode, so that packages are installed into the prefix folder instead of the current working directory. See npm help global for more on the differences in behavior.

  • packages are installed into the prefix/node_modules folder, instead of the current working directory.
  • bin files are linked to prefix/bin
  • man pages are linked to prefix/share/man


  • Default: {prefix}/etc/npmrc
  • Type: path

The config file to read for global config options.


  • Default: GID of the current process
  • Type: String or Number

The group to use when running package scripts in global mode as the root user.


  • Default: "gzip"
  • Type: path

The gzip binary


  • Default: stderr file descriptor
  • Type: Number or Stream

The location to write log output.


  • Default: "warn"
  • Type: String
  • Values: "silent", "win", "error", "warn", "info", "verbose", "silly"

What level of logs to report. On failure, all logs are written to npm-debug.log in the current working directory.


  • Default: false
  • Type: Boolean

Whether or not to show extended information in npm ls


  • Default: process.version
  • Type: semver

The node version to use when checking package's "engines" hash.


  • Default: false
  • Type: Boolean

Whether or not to run tests on installation and report results to the npaturl.


  • Default: Not yet implemented
  • Type: url

The url to report npat test results.


  • Default: false
  • Type: path

A node module to require() when npm loads. Useful for programmatic usage.


  • Default: standard output file descriptor
  • Type: Number or Stream

Where to write "normal" output. This has no effect on log output.


  • Default: false
  • Type: Boolean

Whether or not to output parseable results from commands that write to standard output.


  • Default: node's process.installPrefix
  • Type: path

The location to install global items. If set on the command line, then it forces non-global commands to run in the specified folder.


  • Default: "HTTP_PROXY" or "http_proxy" environment variable, or null
  • Type: url

A proxy to use for outgoing http requests.


  • Default: true
  • Type: Boolean

Set to some truish value to rebuild bundled dependencies after installation.


The base URL of the npm package registry.


  • Default: ""
  • Type: String

Space-separated options that are always passed to search.


  • Default: ""
  • Type: String

Space-separated options that limit the results from search.


  • Default: SHELL environment variable, or "bash"
  • Type: path

The shell to run for the npm explore command.


  • Default: latest
  • Type: String

If you ask npm to install a package and don't tell it a specific version, then it will install the specified tag.

Also the tag that is added to the package@version specified by the npm tag command, if no explicit tag is given.


  • Default: TAR environment variable, or "tar"
  • Type: path

The tar executable


  • Default: TMPDIR environment variable, or "/tmp"
  • Type: path

Where to store temporary files and folders. All temp files are deleted on success, but left behind on failure for forensic purposes.


  • Default: false if running as root, true otherwise
  • Type: Boolean

Set to true to suppress the UID/GID switching when running package scripts. If set explicitly to false, then installing as a non-root user will fail.


  • Default: false
  • Type: Boolean

Set to show short usage output (like the -H output) instead of complete help when doing npm help.


  • Default: "nobody"
  • Type: String or Number

The UID to set to when running package scripts as root.


  • Default: null
  • Type: String

The username on the npm registry. Set with npm adduser


  • Default: ~/.npmrc on Posix, or ~/npm-config on Windows
  • Type: path

The location of user-level configuration settings.


  • Default: false
  • Type: boolean

If true, output the npm version and exit successfully.

Only relevant when specified explicitly on the command line.


  • Default: "man"
  • Type: path

The program to use to view help content.

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