How to Install Node.js and npm on Ubuntu Linux

Node.js and npm can be easily installed using the Ubuntu repository or the NodeSource repository. Learn both ways of installing Node.js on Ubuntu Linux.

Node.js has become a major part of the modern web for quickly developing and deploying web apps.

Node.js (or Node) is supported by npm (Node.js Package Manager). Itโ€™s an open-source library of Node.js packages. So you can use one in your application without needing to rewrite the entire thing all on your own.

Node and npm are often installed and used together.

If you want to install Node.js on Ubuntu, there are three ways of achieving it:

  1. Using Ubuntuโ€™s official repository: Easy to install using apt, but might have an older version.
  2. Using NodeSource repository: This is slightly more complicated, but you can choose to install from the currently available newer Node versions. I recommend this one.
  3. Using Node Version Manager (NVM): This is a per-user installation of Node.js, where you can switch between multiple versions.
  4. Using snap: Gives you the ability to use a more recent version of Node.js

I will discuss all three methods of installing Node and npm.

Method 1: Install Node.js and npm on Ubuntu using the official repository

As I said earlier, Node.js is available on Ubuntu. So, all you need to do is to open a terminal in Ubuntu and use the following command:

sudo apt install nodejs npm

I included npm in the installation because youโ€™ll need it anyway. Both Node.js and npm are quite small.

Create a symbolic link because the Node program looks for the binary with path /usr/bin/node whereas the installed pathhere is /usr/bin/nodejs. If you don't do this, you'll get a "/usr/bin/env: node: No such file or directory" error.

ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node

Once installed, you verify it by checking the installed version of Node.js and npm with this command:

node --version
npm --version

The output should be like this:

Node.js and NPM installed versions displayed in terminal
Node.js and NPM installed versions

For working on Node.js, you can use any good code editor for Linux or an IDE.

Iโ€™m not going to show you how to get started with Node.js because thatโ€™s not the purpose of this quick tutorial.

Remove Node.js

If you want to remove Node.js and npm, you can use the command below:

sudo apt remove nodejs npm

Now that you learned the most straightforward method let's see another way of getting Node straight from its developers.

Method 2: Install Node.js and npm using the NodeSource repository

You can install Node.js and npm directly from the NodeSource repository. Node.js provides an easy-to-use configuration for this purpose.

You need to specify which major version of Node.js you want to install.

Letโ€™s say you want to install Node.js version 18. First, go to the NodeSource repo and check the supported version for your distribution.

For Ubuntu 22.04 LTS and Debian Bookworm, Node versions 16, 18 and 20 are supported.

You need to install some dependencies, like curl, before setting up Node.js. Open a terminal and run:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y ca-certificates curl gnupg

Create a keyrings directory and add NodeSource GPG key.

sudo mkdir -p /etc/apt/keyrings
curl -fsSL | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /etc/apt/keyrings/nodesource.gpg

Now, create the sources file. For this, you need to specify the version you need. In this example, I will be using Node v.18.


Now, in the same session, run:

echo "deb [signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/nodesource.gpg arch=amd64]$NODE_MAJOR.x nodistro main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nodesource.list
If you want other version, replace the version number of NODE_MAJOR.

Update your system and install Node.js.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install nodejs -y

Remove Node.js

To remove Node.js, run:

sudo apt purge nodejs

After that, remove the sources file and GPG key to complete uninstall.

sudo rm -r /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nodesource.list
sudo rm -r /etc/apt/keyrings/nodesource.gpg

Troubleshoot: Node.js installed through NodeSource installation script

Those who are trying to install Node.js using the NodeSource installation script will land in a warning message about deprecation.

A warning is issued for those who are trying to install Node.js using the NodeSource installation script. That method is now being deprecated.
Node.js installation script warning

Since you can install Node.js by official repositories, those installation scripts are no longer required. So, they will be deprecated and will not receive any new updates. If you have installed through that script, you need to migrate to the new method.

First, remove the GPG key and sources list file.

sudo rm /etc/apt/keyrings/nodesource.gpg
sudo rm /usr/share/keyrings/nodesource.gpg
sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nodesource.list

Now, initialize the new repository:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y ca-certificates curl gnupg
sudo mkdir -p /etc/apt/keyrings
curl -fsSL | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /etc/apt/keyrings/nodesource.gpg
echo "deb [signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/nodesource.gpg]${NODE_MAJOR}.x nodistro main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nodesource.list

And install Node.js:

sudo apt update
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs

That's it. You are now moved to the supported method. Check the version using:

nodejs --version

Method 3: Install Node.js and npm using the Node Version Manager

Node version manager is an easy-to-use per-user installation of Node.js and npm. With the help of NVM, you can install and switch between different versions of Node.js.

In order to install it, use the following command:

curl -o- | bash

This will clone the NVM repository in ~/.nvm and tries to add all the required entries to your shell configuration files.

Once set up, restart your current shell. To check the status of NVM, use:

command -v nvm

It would output the following if the setup is a success:

team@itsfoss:~$ command -v nvm

Now, you can run the following command to list all available versions of Node.js:

nvm list-remote

You will get a long list of versions, as shown in the screenshot below:

Listing available Node.js versions by nvm using list-remote option
Listing available Node.js versions by nvm

Once you confirmed the Node.js version, use the following command to install it:

nvm install <nodejs-version-number>

The above command will install the specified Node version and a compatible NPM version. You can give any version number to install that particular version of Node.js and a corresponding NPM.

In order to switch to an installed Node.js version, use:

nvm use <any-of-your-installed-version-number>
Downloading, installing, and using multiple Node.js versions using nvm
Multiple Node versions and switching between them

Remove NVM versions

To uninstall a version of Node.js installed with nvm, use:

nvm uninstall <version>
Please donโ€™t forget to deactivate the Node.js version by nvm deactivate before removing it, if that version is currently in use.

And to remove the NVM completely, use the following command:

rm -rf "$NVM_DIR"

Now, remove the following lines from your ~/.bashrc:

export NVM_DIR="$HOME/.nvm"
[ -s "$NVM_DIR/" ] && \. "$NVM_DIR/" # This loads nvm
[[ -r $NVM_DIR/bash_completion ]] && \. $NVM_DIR/bash_completion
Removing nvm entries from bash configuration files
Removing nvm entries in ~/.bashrc

Method 4: Install Node.js in Ubuntu using snap

Snaps come pre-configured in Ubuntu and you can install Node.js as a snap package and also allows you to choose between stable and edge releases. So let's start with installing the stable release:

Install stable release of Node.js using snap

As always, it only requires single command when installing snap packages and the same goes for Node.js:

sudo snap install node --classic
Install the Node.js Stable version as a Snap
Install Node.js Stable

And as you can see, it gave me Node.js 18.17.1!

Install the most recent build of Node.js

I will not recommend this build to the general audience as it might have bugs and stability issues. To install the bleeding edge version of Node.js, you just have to use the given command and it will utilize the edge channel:

sudo snap install node --channel=latest/edge --classic
Install the nightly version of Node.js as a Snap
Install Node.js Edge

And it got me a nightly build running Node.js 21.0!

Remove Node in snap format

Whether you went with the bleeding edge version or the stable, the command will remain the same for the uninstallation process:

sudo snap remove node

That's it!

Enjoy using Node.js on Ubuntu.

Wrapping Up

I focused on the installation part here, but I won't leave you just at that. Here's a cheat sheet that lists basic node and npm commands for your quick reference.

There are other methods to install Node.js in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions, like installing from the source, using pre-built binaries, etc. Please refer to the Node.js official documentation for more details.

Thatโ€™s all you need to do to install Node.js on Ubuntu. I hope you found this quick tip helpful. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below.

After that, if you love Node.js, you should check out NodeOS, a Linux distribution for Node.js users.

About the author
Abhishek Prakash

Abhishek Prakash

Created It's FOSS 11 years ago to share my Linux adventure. Have a Master's degree in Engineering and years of IT industry experience. Huge fan of Agatha Christie and classic detective mysteries ๐Ÿ•ต๏ธโ€โ™‚๏ธ

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