Node.js is a powerful platform that can be installed and maintained in various ways across multiple platforms. There are multiple releases and versions of Node.js, making the decision about which to install confusing. This guide provides an overview of the main choices for installing Node.js on Linux, and the reasons for using each method. Therefore, it is important to consider the available options carefully before making a decision.
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NPM (Node Package Manager) is not included with installations of Node.js; however, it can be installed separately. Therefore, if Node.js is installed by other methods, NPM must be installed separately.
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The NodeSource repository is a continuation and expansion of Chris Lea’s Node.js Ubuntu PPA, offering both .deb and .rpm binaries for a range of Node.js release stages. This is the option suggested on nodejs.org to install the necessary components using the operating system’s package manager and is often more up-to-date than the standard distro repositories.
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NVM is a distinct project from Node.js and is a popular installation method. NVM is installed through an installation script and its main advantage is the straightforward management of Node.js versions, including updating to newer releases and transferring Node packages. Consequently, NVM enables users to easily keep their Node.js setup up-to-date.
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At nodejs.org, installers for all available platforms can be found and, moreover, GPG checksums are provided to verify their integrity; thus, using the official installer offers a benefit that cannot be overlooked.
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Compiling from source code is the most advanced installation method, yet it can be surprisingly straightforward. Not only does it allow for greater flexibility with compiling flags, but it also guarantees that you are using the newest codebase available.
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Node.js installations typically include the Node Package Manager (NPM). However, any Linux-distro-supplied version of Node.js will require the package npm to be installed separately. NPM is a package manager for Node.js packages in the NPM repository, and extensive documentation can be found at npmjs.com. Therefore, if an exception exists, the package npm must be installed.
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If you are still unsure which installation method to go with, NVM is most likely your best bet. It makes the installation and maintenance of Node.js and NPM a breeze and there are no naming conflicts with other software. Additionally, it allows you to easily manage multiple installations of Node.js, allowing you to test your application before pushing a Node.js update into production.
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While these resources may be useful in providing additional information on the topic, caution should be exercised as we cannot guarantee their accuracy or timeliness. Therefore, it is advisable to consult these resources for additional information, but use them with care.
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