Install Node.js via Node Version Manager on Ubuntu

As a developer you’ll no doubt need to work on or support software that has been developed using old outdated versions of a software framework or libraries within that framework.   Your software development workstation will no doubt need to be able to house different versions of these frameworks you’ll often need some mechanism to switch different versions easily.

Node.JS has been around now for few years and there are a number of different versions of the framework out in the wild. There are obviously a plethora  of applications out there, that need to be supported and developed further.  This is where the Node Version Manager (NVM) comes into play, it enables you to install, manage and switch between different Node.JS on your workstation using the terminal window.

Install NVM

Installing NVM is fairly easy and can be done using the Terminal Ctrl + Alt + t

It’s always good practice to ensure you update your ubuntu workstation with the latest packages by running these commands

You can then download and install the latest version of NVM straight from the github repository

We’ll use curl to download the latest install script and once it’s finished downloading we’ll execute via bash to install.   You may be prompted to close and reopen your terminal window. Although this isn’t really necessary, and can be overridden by executing

I have found it to actually better to do as it instructs and close and reopen the terminal window.  We can now check which version of NVM has been installed

This will print out the version number to screen.

It’s a good idea to check out the commands the are available :

Install Node.JS

We now have the capability of installing and using any number of different Node.JS versions on our work station.  For instance we can install versions 5, 4 or even 0.12

You can choose any version of node that is available and NVM will download a pre-built binary version of Node.JS and install it. Once install is complete NVM will display which version has been installed.

You can confirm this by asking node which version has been installed

Set a Default version

If you want to ensure that the same version of node is used next time you log in or access vai SSH, you can set a default


Switch between versions

Now that we have multiple versions of node installed, we may need to switch between them as and when we need to.

** Note that when switching between node versions, the associated npm version and any global npm packages will be changed as well. You may need to reinstall your global npm packages when switching to a recently installed version.

Get a list of installed version of node

To get a list of all the versions of node you have installed via the nvm simple use the following command



If make use of a proxy then you need to register the proxy with NVM

Get a list of available node versions

To get a list of available node versions to install

Gary Woodfine

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Helps businesses by improving their technical proficiencies and eliminating waste from the software development pipelines.

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