When running npm and node, you may find yourself getting permission errors that ultimately lead you to using `sudo` in your commands. While this helps get around the issue in the short-term, it also places stricter permissions on those installs and it becomes a slippery slope where soon you may need sudo for more than you bargained for. Also, do you really want to be using `sudo` to install npm packages?

After discussing this with Tierney Cyren, we found a much easier way to get node and npm running on my mac than what I used to do a few years back.

First, we want to use the official Node.js install. I mean, its official, right? And if we don't trust the Node folks with installing Node, then, well, what are we doing here anyway?

Next we create a folder for the global npm packages. I made mine ~/.npm-packages.

Then we use the npm config command to tell npm where we want them.

Finally, we tell our computer where the paths are to the folder. (Udpdated in June 2019)

That's it!

Detailed steps

Here are the steps, in detail ...

  1. Install Node.js from https://nodejs.org/en/download/

  2. Update to the latest version of npm npm install npm -g

  3. Make a new folder for the npm global packages mkdir ~/.npm-packages

  4. Tell npm where to find/store them npm config set prefix ~/.npm-packages

  5. Verify the install

# this should show the versions
node -v
npm -v
  1. Make a folder for your npm packages and tell your computer about it.
mkdir "${HOME}/.npm-packages"
echo NPM_PACKAGES="${HOME}/.npm-packages" >> ${HOME}/.bashrc
echo prefix=${HOME}/.npm-packages >> ${HOME}/.npmrc
echo NODE_PATH=\"\$NPM_PACKAGES/lib/node_modules:\$NODE_PATH\" >> ${HOME}/.bashrc
echo PATH=\"\$NPM_PACKAGES/bin:\$PATH\" >> ${HOME}/.bashrc
echo source "~/.bashrc" >> ${HOME}/.bash_profile
source ~/.bashrc

Handling Multiple Node Versions

What happens when a new version of node is released? What if you need version 4.4.2 for one app and 8.9.1 for another? Did you know version 9 is out now too? Yikes! it would be great if we could manage multiple versions of node on the same computer.

Check out this post for more on how to tackle multiple versions of node.