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How to Install Node.js on Ubuntu and Update npm to the Latest Version

How to Install Node.js on Ubuntu and Update npm to the Latest Version

If you try installing the latest version of node using the apt-package manager, you’ll end up with v10.19.0. This is the latest version in the ubuntu app store, but it’s not the latest released version of NodeJS.

This is because when new versions of a software are released, it can take months for the Ubuntu team to test and release in the official Ubuntu store. As a result, to get the latest versions of any software, we may have to use private packages published by developers.

In this tutorial, what we want to do is get either v12.18.1 (LTS – with Long term support) or v14.4 of Node. To get the latest versions, we can use either nodesource or nvm (node version manager). I’ll show you how to use both.

All commands here will be run using the Ubuntu CLI/terminal.

Using NVM – my preferred method

I like nvm because it allows me use different node versions for different projects.
Sometimes, you may be collaborating on a project with someone using a different version of node and you need to switch node versions to what the project requires. For this, nvm is the best tool.

Install NVM

curl -o- | bash

To check that nvm is installed, type nvm --version. If you get a version number back like 0.35.3, then you know nvm was successfully installed.

Restart your terminal for your changes to take effect.

Install NodeJS

Next, let’s install Nodejs version 14.4.

Simply run nvm install 14.4.0 .

You can use a similar command to install any version of node you want, for example nvm install 12.18.1.

This command automatically installs nodejs as well as the latest npm version which is at  v6.14.5.

If you ever need to switch node versions, you can simply run nvm use <version-number> , for example nvm use v12.18.1.

To list the different node versions you have installed with nvm, run nvm ls.

Install Nodesource

Run the command below to tell Ubuntu that we want to install the Nodejs
package from nodesource.

curl -sL | sudo -E bash -

NB that v14.4.0 is the latest version of Node but doesn’t currently have LTS – long term support provided for it. To install the latest version of Node with LTS, change 14 in the command above to 12.

You may be prompted to enter the password for your root user. Enter that and hit enter/return.

Install NodeJS

Once we’re done setting up Nodesource, we can now install Nodejs v14.4.
Run sudo apt-get install -y nodejs.

Once we’re done, we can check that we have the latest version of Node installed.
Simply type nodejs -v into your terminal and it should return v14.4.0.

You should have npm automatically installed at this point. To check what npm version you have, run npm version. If you do not get an object that includes the latest version of npm at 6.14.5, { npm: '6.14.5' }, then you can update npm manually by running the following command:

npm install -g npm@latest.

If you run into any issues with npm being unable to update because it’s not installed, you can install npm first by using sudo apt-get install -y npm, then run the command above to update it.

For certain npm packages to run, we also need to run the command below
sudo apt install build-essential.

And that’s it!

You’ve got the latest versions of NodeJS and NPM on your Ubuntu machine.

Go build great products 🙂

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Posted in Node.js, NPM