Quick Summary: Whether you’re diving into web development, building APIs, or creating real-time applications, Node.js empowers developers with its asynchronous, event-driven architecture. However, setting up Node.js and NPM across different operating systems—Ubuntu, Windows, and macOS—can be a daunting task for beginners and seasoned developers alike. But not anymore! Learn how to install Node.js and NPM on Ubuntu, Windows, and macOS in this comprehensive and updated guide.

It is always helpful to understand the past and make sense of the present. We’ll kick off this blog by strolling down memory lane of JavaScript and Node.js evolution and see the path behind us. Afterward, we will continue with the installation guide with the latest LTS version of Node.js and NPM. 

JavaScript has been on the bleeding edge ever since its inception 28 years ago. It has continued to expand with consistent new updates and releases. The language has come a long way from being used as the only catalyst of website interactions to a full-fledged and all-purpose programming language. It emerged as the most favored language across the software development industry. Node.js creation made JavaScript more relevant as the runtime environment to render scripts outside of the browser besides in-browser rendering.

When the Node.js development services dropped in, something entirely new was enabled: writing your back end in the same language as the front end. Developers of all in the async-first model were familiar with it. This was and is stimulating. With more businesses choosing to come online, the competitive advantage was being able to ship and iterate at an accelerated pace. The Node.js ecosystem stresses the reuse of small single-purpose packages you could grab off the shelf to accomplish your tasks.

Overview of Node.js

Despite being single-threaded and event-driven, Node.js is highly scalable for its ability to delegate tasks to the operating systems, making it the most suitable for managing many connections simultaneously. Another essential aspect of Node.js is its lack of data buffering. That means I/O is executed using the asynchronous method of the Node.js standard library, eliminating the large buffers to fill and making it an ideal solution for developing data-intensive applications. 

One of the notable changes in the Node.js 20.0.0 version is its Permission Model, an experimental mechanism for limiting access to particular resources during execution. Wherein version 21 consists of essential changes to the fetch module and WebStream. Both modules were marked stable after the updates. 

The latest Node.js version 22, released on April 2024, contains remarkable changes. V8 release 12.4, which includes new features like WebAssembly Garbage Collection and V8’s Maglev Compiler, is now allowed on supported architecture. Maglev enhances performance for transient CLI programs. This latest Node.js 22 version will enter Long-Term Support (LTS) in October, but until then, it will be the Current release for the next few months. 

Since Node.js was built on Google Chrome’s V8 engine, it can seamlessly develop more efficient and scalable solutions for server-side development. This functionality garnered attention, but subsequent iterations and enhancements, such as NPM (Node Package Manager), Express.js, Version 4.0.0, and HTTP/2 support, truly elevated its reputation among developers and tech enthusiasts.

According to the recent Stack Overflow Survey 2023, Node.js has become a renowned web development technology worldwide. Additionally, it has become a widely utilized tool for web development in the United States, with over 6.3 million websites powered by Node.js. So, to harness the JavaScript-enabled Node.js product development with real-time capabilities and heavy I/O processes, it is essential to know NPM and the techniques for using NPM packages. 

Node.js Process

Overview of NPM

NPM, released in 2010, is a crucial tool for managing Node.js packages and dependencies. It streamlines development processes and stimulates code sharing with its extensive library and reusable code modules written in JavaScript. For app development, NPM enables open-source web developers to borrow and share the packages. It functions as a console emulator for applications to install packages in the project, dependency management, and version management.

NPM components

Website

From the NPM website, you can find the packages for your next project. It allows you to create profiles to manage access to all types of packages.

Command Line Interface (CLI)

The CLI runs from your computer to interact with NPM packages and repositories.

Registry

The registry consists of massive data sets on JavaScript projects and meta-data. It enables you to utilize all supported NPM registries. Considering the terms of use, you can also use a third-party registry. 

NPM Registry

If you are confused about the decision between Node.js LTS and the Current version, let us tell you that it primarily depends on your project requirements. However, the LTS version is a reliable choice for a production environment where stability and compatibility are essential.

So, let’s dive into the blog and go through the best practices for installing the latest LTS version of Node.js and NPM in your system with a step-by-step guide.

How to Install Node.js AND npm on Windows?[chocolatey]

Overall, Node.js and NPM are designed to be lightweight and efficient, so they should run smoothly on most modern Windows x64 hardware configurations, including laptops, desktops, and servers.

Software

Operating System – Windows 10 or later.

Package Manager (Optional) – Chocolatey – A Windows package manager to simplify installation.

Administrative Privileges – Required for installation.

Visual Studio Build Tools – Needed for compiling native addons (can be installed automatically during Node.js setup).

The installation process is relatively easy; go through the step-by-step instructions and install Node.js and Windows x64 using Chocolatey, along with some basic details.

Step 1 –  Install Node.js and NPM

In this step, run the following command in the newly opened PowerShell window to install Node.js and NPM using Chocolatey. 

Windows - Install Node.js and NPM

Step 2 – Installation verification

Once you complete the installation process, ensure you verify the Node.js and NPM are installed correctly by running the following command. 

Windows - Installation verification

This command displays the Node.js and NPM versions installed on your system. 

Step 3 – Update NPM (Optional)

It is always the best practice to update NPM to the latest version once you are done installing Node.js. Execute the following command and update the NPM to the latest version.

Okay! Now, you have updated the NPM to the latest version globally.

That’s all! You have successfully installed Node.js and NPM on your Windows using Chocolatey. Now, you are good to go. Start using Node.js for web app development and managing packages with NPM.

Scalable solution

How to Install Node.js and NPM on MAC?[homebrew]

Once you meet the following prerequisites, you can proceed with installing Homebrew and then Node.js and NPM.

Software requirements

Operating System: macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or later.

Package Manager: Homebrew (recommended for easier management).

Command Line Tools: Xcode Command Line Tools (can be installed via terminal).

Curl: Required if using NVM for installation.

Step 1 – Install Node.js and NPM

Now that you have installed and updated the Homebrew, you can now install Node.js and NPM. Run the following command and initiate the further process. 

macOS - Install Node.js and NPM

Running this command will let you download and install the latest version of Node.js and NPM.

Step 2 – Installation verification

Run the below-mentioned command and verify that Node.js and NPM were installed correctly.

FYI

Update Node.js and NPM  

Once the latest Node.js 22 version enters into LTS, upgrade the Node.js and NPM by running the following command. 

macOS - upgrade Node.js and NPM

How to Install Node.js and NPM on Ubuntu?

[ Apt from default repo, NodeSource PPA ]

To install Node.js and NPM on Ubuntu, ensure you have a modern x86_64 or ARM processor, at least 1GB RAM, Ubuntu 16.04 or later, and apt package manager available.

Software requirements

Operating System: Ubuntu 16.04 or later

Package Manager: apt (Advanced Package Tool), which is included by default

Curl: Required for adding the NodeSource PPA if using that method. It can be installed via apt.

You can install Node.js and NPM on Ubuntu using two methods: from the default repositories or NodeSource PPA. Here’s how to do both,

Install Node.js and NPM using Default Repository

Step 1 – Update package index

The first step involves opening the terminal window and updating your package index.

Default Repo - Update package index

Step 2 – Install Node.js and NPM

Using the ‘apt’ package manager, install the Node.js and NPM.

Default Repo - Install Node.js and NPM

Step – 3 Installation verification

Verify the installed version of Node.js and NPM by following the command below. 

Default Repo - Installation verification

Install Node.js and NPM using NodeSource PPA

Step – 1 – Update package index

Open the terminal window and run the following code to update the package index.

NodeSource PPA - Update package index

Step 2 – Install Curl

If you do not have Curl installed, run the command mentioned below to install it.

NodeSource PPA - Install Curl

Step 3 – Add NodeSource PPA

Now, in this step, add the NodeSource PPA by running the code stated below.

Add NodeSource PPA

Step 4 – Install Node.js and NPM

Now, in this stage, run the following command to install Node.js and NPM.

NodeSource NPA - Install Node.js and NPM

Step 5 – Installation verification

Check the Node.js and NPM versions in this stage by running the following command. 

NodeSource PPA - Installation verification

By following either of these methods, you will have Node.js and NPM installed on your Ubuntu system. The default repository provides an easier setup, while the NodeSource PPA offers more recent versions of Node.js.

Node.js development services

How to install Node.js and NPM using NVM? [Only in Ubuntu and MacOS]

Node Version Managers (NVM) enables Node.js development company to install and switch between various Node.js versions and NPM on your system, so testing your application on various NMP versions ensures it functions for users on different versions. 

Software 

Operating System: Ubuntu 16.04 or later.

Package Manager: apt (Advanced Package Tool), included by default.

Curl: Required for downloading the NVM installation script.

NVM is one of the renowned tools for managing multiple versions of Node.js on a single system. Here’s a detailed step-by-step process to install Node.js and NPM using NVM on Ubuntu.

Step 1 – Update index

To update the package index, open the terminal window and run the as stated below. 

NVM - Update index

Step 2 – Install Curl and build-essentials

It is essential to install curl and necessary build tools to carry out further processes. Run the code as mentioned below. 

Install Curl and build-essentials

Step 3 – Download and install NVM

In order to download and install NVM, use curl to download the NVM installation script and then run it.

Download and install NVM

Step 4 – Load NVM

To start utilizing the NVM, restart the terminal or source your shell configuration file. Generally, you can do it by adding the following lines to your – ~/.bashrc, ~/.zshrc, or ~/.profile file

Load NVM

Afterward, run this code,

Afterward, run this code,

Step 5 – Verify NVM installation

Assess whether the NVM installation was done properly or not with the following command.

Verify NVM installation

Step 6 – Install Node.js utilizing NVM

Now, you are good to go to install the latest version of Node.js

Install Node.js utilizing NVM

If you are planning to add and use a specific version, follow the command

Install Node.js utilizing NVM

Step 7 – Set the default Node.js version

You can set a default Node.js version to be used in new shells.

Set the default Node.js version

Or, you can specify the version as per the following coding command.

nvm alias default 16.14.0

Step 8 – Verify Node.js and NPM installation

Check the installed version of Node.js by running the command,

Verify Node.js and NPM installation

By following these steps, you will have successfully installed and configured Node.js and NPM using NVM on your Ubuntu system. NVM makes it easy to manage multiple versions of Node.js, which is especially useful for testing and development purposes.

How to Install Node.js and NPM utilizing Docker?

To install Node.js and NPM using Docker, ensure your system meets the hardware and software prerequisites. This method leverages containerization to run Node.js in isolated environments.

Software prerequisites

Operating System – Ubuntu 16.04 or later, macOS, Windows 10 (with WSL2 for Windows Home)
Docker – Installed and running

Step-by-step process to install Node.js and NPM using Docker,

Step 1 – Install the docker

Considering your operating system, follow the instructions from the Docker documentation.

Step 2 – Pull the official Node.js Docker image

Open your terminal and pull the Node.js Docker image from Docker Hub. You can specify the version you need (replace current with the desired version, e.g., 14, 16, 18):

Pull the official Node.js Docker image

Step 3 – Run a Node.js Container

You can run the following and start the Node.js container with an interactive terminal.

Run a Node.js Container

With this command, you can start the Container with Node.js and open an interactive terminal session inside the container.

Step 4 – Verify Node.js and NPM installation

Assess the installed version of Node.js and NPM inside the Docker Container.

Verify Node.js and NPM installation

Step 5 – Run the Node.js application

Mount your project directory into the Docker Container and run the Node.js application. Assuming your project is in ~/my-node-app:

Run the Node.js application

It mounts your local directory into the container and sets the functional directory to /usr/src/app.

Step 6 – For custom image, create Dockerfile

If you wish to create a custom Docker image for the Node.js application, create Dockerfile in your project directory.

For custom image, create Dockerfile

With the entry point of your application, replace app.js

Step 7 – Build and run the custom Docker image

Build your customer docker image by executing the following command.

Build and run the custom Docker image

Now, run the Container from your custom image.

run the Container from your custom image

Follow this step, and you’ll have a Node.js and NPM environment running inside a Docker container, providing an isolated and consistent development setup.

Essential consideration

When installing Node.js and NPM, several factors can impact the efficiency and functionality of your development environment. Here are five essential considerations to keep in mind to offer the best Node.js development services

Version Management

  • Use NVM – Employ Node Version Manager (NVM) to manage multiple versions of Node.js. It ensures you can switch between versions effortlessly based on project requirements.
  • LTS vs. Current – Choose Long-Term Support (LTS) versions for stability in production environments and the Current version for access to the latest features.

Security Practices

  • Regular Updates – Keep Node.js and NPM updated to the latest versions to benefit from security patches and performance improvements.
  • Audit Packages – Regularly audit your NPM packages using npm audit to identify and fix vulnerabilities in dependencies.

Environment Setup

  • Consistent Development Environment – Use Docker to create isolated and consistent development environments, preventing conflicts with other projects and dependencies on your system.
  • Configuration Files – Maintain proper configuration files like .nvmrc for NVM and package.json for NPM to standardize development environments across different machines and teams.

Dependency Management

  • Lock Files – Use package-lock.json to lock dependencies to specific versions, ensuring consistency across different environments and avoiding unexpected issues.
  • Scoped Packages – Prefer scoped packages (e.g., @myorg/mypackage) for internal modules to avoid naming conflicts and manage permissions effectively.

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Performance Optimization

  • Global vs. Local Installs – Install development tools like linters and build tools globally using npm install -g, while keeping project-specific dependencies local to maintain clean project setups.
  • Node.js Settings – Tune Node.js runtime settings (like garbage collection) and utilize tools like PM2 for process management to optimize application performance in production environments

Node.js for late adopters!

Node.js has turned out to be a blessing for programmers worldwide who struggle with switching among various frameworks and languages to maximize their code in a sustainable development environment. So, if you are looking to sharpen your web development skills, this step-by-step guide on how to install Node.js and NPM on Windows, Ubuntu, and MacOS is your ideal guide.

Defaulting to specific technologies, ones you comprehend, and being a late adopter is often a great choice to leverage the full potential. Having said that, this installation guide will get you up to speed on creating a unique environment to develop high-performing web applications.

So, what are you waiting for?

Hire Node.js developers now to install Node.js and NPM to build the perfect development environment to develop your next successful project!

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