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Install Node.js via Node Version Manager on Ubuntu

Typically developers will no doubt need to support software that has been developed using old outdated versions of a software framework or libraries within that framework.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.

In this post we'll explore how to install Node Version Manager on a Ubuntu Desktop to enable switching between different versions of Node.JS seamlessly on you Ubuntu Desktop

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


A great way to install NVM on Ubuntu is by using Linuxbrew
How To Use Homebrew Package Manager On Linux

Installing NVM is fairly easy and can be done using the Terminal window. Therefore you will need to open your terminal window, using the keyboard short cut of ctrl alt t

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

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y

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. if you haven't got cUrl installed you can do so using the terminal commands :

 sudo apt update && sudo apt install curl

Once cUrl is installed we can run the following command to download nvm and install it

curl -o- | bash

You may be prompted to close and reopen your terminal window. Although this isn't really necessary, and can be overridden by executing.

source ~/.bashrc

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

nvm --version

This will print out the version number to screen.

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

nvm help

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

nvm install 5.3.0 nvm install 4.2.0 nvm install 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.

Now using node v5.3.0 (npm v3.3.12)

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

node -v

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

nvm alias default 5.3.0

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.

nvm use 0.12


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

nvm ls


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

nvm proxy yourProxyNameHere

Get a list of available node versions

To get a list of available node versions to install

nvm ls-remote
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