How can I change the version of npm using nvm?


I've been using NVM to install the latest versions of nodeJS for my node work. It works totally fine for installing separate versions and switching between them. It also installs the latest version of NPM within each local .../bin folder along with the node binary. However, there doesn't seem to be any way to switch the version of NPM that I'm using (or at least I can't figure it out).

The only solution I can think of myself is to delete the binary that it's defaulting to (which is the NPM that was installed when I first installed node with NVM), and in its place to put the latest NPM binary. However, I'm wondering if there are any better ways to go about doing this.

4/8/2016 4:09:19 PM

Accepted Answer

EDIT: several years since this question was first answered, as noted in a newer answer, there is now a command for this:

nvm now has a command to update npm. It's nvm install-latest-npm or nvm install --latest-npm.

nvm install-latest-npm: Attempt to upgrade to the latest working npm on the current node version

nvm install --latest-npm: After installing, attempt to upgrade to the latest working npm on the given node version

Below are previous revisions of the correct answer to this question.

Over three years after this question was first asked, it seems like the answer is much simpler now. Just update the version that nvm installed, which lives in ~/.nvm/versions/node/[your-version]/lib/node_modules/npm.

I just installed node 4.2.2, which comes with npm 2.14.7, but I want to use npm 3. So I did:

cd ~/.nvm/versions/node/v4.2.2/lib
npm install npm


And yes, this should work for any module, not just npm, that you want to be "global" for a specific version of node.

EDIT 1: In the newest version, npm -g is smart and installs modules into the path above instead of the system global path.

Thanks @philraj for pointing this out in a comment.

3/25/2019 7:17:19 PM

nvm doesn't handle npm.

So if you want to install node 0.4.x (which many packages still depend on) and use NPM, you can still use npm 1.0.x.

Install node 0.6.x (which comes with npm 1.1.x) and install nvm with npm:

npm install nvm
. ~/nvm/

Install node 0.4.x with nvm:

nvm install v0.4.12
nvm use v0.4.12

Install npm using (note the -L param to follow any redirects):

curl -L | sh

This will detect node 0.4.12 and install npm 1.0.106 in your ~/nvm/v0.4.12/lib/node_modules folder and create symlink for nvm

~/nvm/v0.4.12/bin/npm -> ../lib/node_modules/npm/bin/npm-cli.js

If you try to run npm, it will still give an error but if you do nvm use v0.4.12 again, it should now work.

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