NPM global install "cannot find module"


I wrote a module which I published to npm a moment ago (

So it installs fine from the command line:

$ npm i -g wisp

However, when I run it from the command line, I keep getting an error that optimist isn't installed:

$ wisp 
Error: Cannot find module 'optimist'
    at Function.Module._resolveFilename (module.js:338:15)
    at Function.Module._load (module.js:280:25)
    at Module.require (module.js:362:17)
    at require (module.js:378:17)
    at Object.<anonymous> (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/wisp/wisp:12:10)
    at Object.<anonymous> (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/wisp/wisp:96:4)
    at Module._compile (module.js:449:26)
    at (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/coffee-script/lib/coffee-script/coffee-script.js:68:25)
    at compileScript (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/coffee-script/lib/coffee-script/command.js:135:29)
    at fs.stat.notSources.(anonymous function) (/usr/local/lib/node_modules/coffee-script/lib/coffee-script/command.js:110:18)

However, I have specified in package.json as a dependancy:

  "name": "wisp",
  "author": "Brendan Scarvell <>",
  "version": "0.1.0",
  "description": "Global nodejs file server",
  "dependencies": {
    "optimist": "~0.3.4"
  "repository": "git://",
  "bin": {
    "wisp" : "./wisp"

Does anyone know what to do to get this running? I know its to do with the bin part adding the executable to bin and the node_modules in that directory being empty. No idea how to resolve this.

9/26/2012 7:44:51 AM

Accepted Answer

For anyone else running into this, I had this problem due to my npm installing into a location that's not on my NODE_PATH.

[root@uberneek ~]# which npm
[root@uberneek ~]# which node
[root@uberneek ~]# echo $NODE_PATH

My NODE_PATH was empty, and running npm install --global --verbose promised-io showed that it was installing into /opt/lib/node_modules/promised-io:

[root@uberneek ~]# npm install --global --verbose promised-io
npm info it worked if it ends with ok
npm verb cli [ '/opt/bin/node',
npm verb cli   '/opt/bin/npm',
npm verb cli   'install',
npm verb cli   '--global',
npm verb cli   '--verbose',
npm verb cli   'promised-io' ]
npm info using npm@1.1.45
npm info using node@v0.8.4
npm info build /opt/lib/node_modules/promised-io
npm verb from cache /opt/lib/node_modules/promised-io/package.json
npm verb linkStuff [ true, '/opt/lib/node_modules', true, '/opt/lib/node_modules' ]

My script fails on require('promised-io/promise'):

[neek@uberneek project]$ node buildscripts/stringsmerge.js 

    throw err;
Error: Cannot find module 'promised-io/promise'
    at Function.Module._resolveFilename (module.js:338:15)

I probably installed node and npm from source using configure --prefix=/opt. I've no idea why this has made them incapable of finding installed modules. The fix for now is to point NODE_PATH at the right directory:

export NODE_PATH=/opt/lib/node_modules

My require('promised-io/promise') now succeeds.

1/25/2013 5:25:40 AM

add this to beginning of prog(mac):


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