How to Update Node.js Version {Linux, Windows, & macOS}

Introduction

Node.js is an open-source JavaScript runtime environment. Since Node.js has an active user community, minor software updates come out every few weeks. You may be using Node.js as a layer of the MEAN stack or in a different JS framework. Either way, make sure to update Node.js regularly to ensure system security.

There are several ways to install Node.js and NPM. Similarly, there are several ways to update your Node.js version, depending on the operating system.

In this article, you will learn how to update Node.js on Linux, Windows, and macOS.

How to update Node.js version on Linux, Windows, and macOS - a tutorial.

How to Update Node.js on Linux

There are different ways to update Node.js if you are using a Linux-based system. The Node Version Manager (nvm) is the easiest and recommended option. However, you can also update with the local package manager or by downloading the binary packages.

The sections below outline the steps for each method.

Update Node.js with NVM

The best and easiest way to upgrade Node.js is with nvm, a practical tool for managing multiple Node.js versions. Follow these steps:

1. Start by updating the system package repository:

sudo apt update

2. Install nvm using the curl command:

curl -o- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nvm-sh/nvm/v0.39.7/install.sh | bash

Note: If you don't have curl, install the utility by running the command:

sudo apt install curl

Alternatively, use wget and run the command:

wget -qO- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nvm-sh/nvm/v0.39.7/install.sh | bash

Running either of the commands above downloads a script that installs or updates nvm on your machine.

3. Close and reopen the terminal for the system to recognize the changes, or run the command below:

source ~/.bashrc

4. Verify that nvm has been successfully installed:

nvm --version
Checking the nvm version on Linux.

5. Before upgrading Node.js, check which version you have on the system:

nvm ls

6. Now you can check for the available releases by running:

nvm ls-remote

The output is a list of all available releases. Scroll down to the bottom of the list to find the latest one.

7. To install the latest version, use the nvm command with the specific Node.js version:

nvm install [version.number]

For example:

Updating Node.js using nvm on Linux.

Update Node.js with NPM

As an alternative, use Node's official package manager to update Node.js. Node Package Manager (NPM) is a tool for installing and managing package dependencies.

Note: Learn the difference between Yarn and NPM, two package managers for Node.js.

If you have Node on your system, you have NPM, as well. With the npm command, you can check running Node.js versions and install the latest release. By adding the n module, you can interactively manage Node.js versions.

Follow the steps below to update Node.js using NPM:

1. Clear the npm cache:

npm cache clean -f
Clearing the npm cache on Linux.

2. Install n, Node's package manager:

npm install -g n
Installing n on Linux.

3. With the n module installed, you can use it to:

  • Install the latest stable version:
sudo n stable

Note: Some Ubuntu distros may respond with the command not found output after running the n command. To fix this issue, use the syntax below:

sudo -E env "PATH=$PATH" [command]

For example, to install the latest stable version, as in the example above, you would run:

sudo -E env "PATH=$PATH" n stable
  • Install the latest release:
sudo n latest
  • Install a specific version:
sudo n [version.number]

For example:

Updating Node.js with npm on Linux.

Update Node.js with APT

APT is the default package manager for Linux Ubuntu and Debian. Follow the steps below to update Node.js using the APT package manager:

1. Update the system package repository to ensure you get the latest available version:

sudo apt update

2. Run the command below to update Node.js:

sudo apt install nodejs
Updating Node.js with apt in Linux.

When prompted, type y and press Enter to continue with the installation. Wait for the process to complete.

3. Verify that the update has completed successfully by checking the Node.js version:

node -v
Checking Node.js version on Linux.

Update Node.js with Binary Packages

Updating Node.js with binary packages is the least recommended option. It doesn't resolve dependencies, and compared to updating via a package manager, it offers poorer security and more complex management.

However, if you are working in an environment where package managers are not available or suitable, follow the steps outlined below to update Node.js using binary packages.

1. Navigate to Node's official downloads page to see all the available packages. There, you can download the binary files for Linux:

Downloading the Node.js Linux binary files.

2. Either download the package using your browser or find the version number you need and add the link to the wget command:

wget [link]

For example:

Downloading Linux binary files using wget.

3. Next, install xz-utils used to extract the binary package:

sudo apt install xz-utils

4. Extract and install the package using the syntax below:

sudo tar -C /usr/local --strip-components 1 -xJf [package_name]

For example:

sudo tar -C /usr/local --strip-components 1 -xJf node-v20.11.0-linux-x64.tar.xz

The command extracts and installs the downloaded package.

How to Update Node.js on macOS

Updating Node.js on macOS can be done in three ways:

  • Using the macOS installer.
  • Updating without Homebrew.
  • Updating with Homebrew.

The sections below explain each method in detail.

Update Node.js with macOS Installer

A manual update involves downloading the installer from the official website and updating the app using the installation wizard. A manual update gives you direct control over the process. Follow the steps below:

1. Navigate to the official Node.js website and download the macOS installer for the latest version. You can choose the LTS (long-term support) version for the latest stable version or the Current version for bleeding-edge features.

Downloading the macOS installer for Node.js.

2. Double-click the file to run the installation wizard and follow the prompts to install Node.js. Accept the license agreement, choose the destination folder, and which features to install.

3. When the process completes, verify the installation by running the command below:

node -v
Checking the Node.js version on macOS.

Update Node.js without Homebrew

Assuming that you have previously installed them, you can also use nvm or n package manager to update Node.js and select which version you want to use.

Via nvm

Node Version Manager (nvm) is a tool that allows you to manage multiple installations of Node.js on a single machine. Follow the steps below to update Node.js using nvm:

1. Check the currently installed Node.js version. Run:

nvm ls
Checking which Node.js versions are currently installed on macOS.

2. Run the command below to install the latest available Node.js version:

nvm install node
Installing Node.js with nvm on macOS.

The command installs the latest stable Node.js version.

3. Once the installation is complete, switch to the newly installed Node.js version using the syntax below:

nvm use [version]

Replace [version] with the version number you installed, and the command activates the specified version.

Via n

n is another Node.js version manager. It is similar to nvm but simpler and more lightweight, making it more straightforward to use than nvm.

Follow the steps below to update Node.js using n:

1. Install n using npm if you do not have it installed yet. Run the command below:

sudo npm install -g n
Installing the n version manager on macOS.

2. Update Node.js using one of the commands below, depending on your preference:

  • To install the latest stable node release, run:
sudo n stable
  • To install the latest node release:
sudo n latest
  • To install the latest LTS node release:
sudo n lts

For example, we will update Node.js to the latest stable release:

Updating Node.js on macOS with n.

Update Node.js with Homebrew

If you installed Node.js through the Homebrew package manager, follow the steps below to update it:

1. Open the Terminal app from the Applications/Utilities folder and update Homebrew to get the latest package available in the repository. Run the following command:

brew update

2. When the process completes, run the command below to update Node.js:

brew upgrade node
Upgrading Node.js with Brew on macOS.

After the upgrade process completes, verify the Node.js version by running:

node -v

The command should display the updated version number.

3. Optionally, update npm as well by running:

npm install -g npm
Upgrading npm on macOS.

How to Update Node.js on Windows

In Windows, there are three ways to update Node.js:

  • Using a Windows installer.
  • Using nvm.
  • Via the Chocolatey package manager.

The sections below show all methods for updating Node.js on a Windows machine.

Update Node.js with Windows Installer

One way to update your Node.js is to go to its official download page and install the newest release. By updating this way, the system should overwrite the older version with the updated one.

Follow the steps below:

1. Navigate to the official Node.js website and download the LTS (latest stable version) or Current (latest version with newest features) program version installer for Windows.

Downloading Windows installer for Node.js.

2. Run the installer (.msi file) you downloaded. Click Next on the Welcome screen to continue:

Node.js installation welcome screen.

3. Check the box to accept the License Agreement and click Next to continue.

Accepting the Node.js License agreement.

4. In the next steps, choose the destination folder, the features you want to install/update, and decide if you want to install/update tools for native modules (Chocolatey, Python, and Visual Studio Build Tools). When you finish configuring, click Install to install the update:

Installing Node.js on Windows using the Windows installer.

Wait for the process to complete and, when done, click Finish to exit the installer.

5. After installation, open a command prompt or PowerShell window and run:

node -v

The output should display the new version number, confirming that Node.js has been successfully updated.

Note: Sometimes, the system fails to overwrite the older Node.js release and you may end up with two versions. If such problems occur, you may want to consider updating with NPM, outlined in the section below.

6. Although npm usually comes bundled with Node.js, it is a good idea to update it to the latest version if it has not been automatically updated. Run the following command in a command prompt or PowerShell window to update nvm:

npm install -g npm@latest

Update Node.js using nvm

To update Node.js on Windows using nvm, you need to have nvm installed separately from Node.js. The tool allows you to install and manage multiple Node.js versions on your system.

Follow the steps below:

1. Navigate to the GitHub nvm releases page, scroll down to the Assets section, and expand it. From the list, choose your preferred installation method. For this tutorial, we will use the executable file:

Downloading nvm for Windows.

2. Open the installer, accept the license agreement, and specify the installation destination and the symlink folder. You can leave all the default settings and click Install when finished.

Installing nvm for Windows.

3. When Node.js is already installed on the system, the wizard asks if you want nvm to control the installed version. Click Yes to continue with the installation.

Using nvm to control Node.js on Windows.

Wait for the installation to complete and click Finish to exit the installer.

4. Open a command prompt or PowerShell window and use the syntax below to update Node.js with nvm:

nvm install [version_number]

Replace [version_number] with the program version you want to install. For example:

Updating Node.js on Windows using nvm.

5. To activate the installed version, use the syntax below:

nvm use [version_number]

Update Node.js with Chocolatey

Chocolatey is a popular Linux-style package manager for Windows. It is convenient to keep your system updated with the latest stable program versions. Follow the steps below:

1. Open the Command Prompt or PowerShell as Administrator to ensure you have the necessary permissions.

2. Before updating Node.js, run the following command to ensure that Chocolatey itself is up-to-date:

choco upgrade chocolatey
Upgrading Chocolatey on Windows.

When prompted, type y and press Enter to continue upgrading Choco.

3. Once Chocolatey is updated, search for Node.js packages by running:

choco find nodejs.install
Finding available Node.js packages using Chocolatey.

The output shows the available versions.

4. Upgrade to the latest program version using the syntax below:

choco upgrade nodejs.install X.X.X

Replace X.X.X with the version number. For example:

Upgrading Node.js using Chocolatey.

The command upgrades Node.js to the specified version.

Conclusion

Updating Node.js is essential for ensuring optimal performance, security, and compatibility with the latest features and libraries. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial, you should now have the latest Node.js version on your system.

Next, check out our tutorial for building a Node.js app with Docker, or see how to install and set up MEAN stack on Ubuntu.

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Bosko Marijan
Having worked as an educator and content writer, combined with his lifelong passion for all things high-tech, Bosko strives to simplify intricate concepts and make them user-friendly. That has led him to technical writing at PhoenixNAP, where he continues his mission of spreading knowledge.
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