// Tutorial //

How To Install Node.js on an Ubuntu 14.04 Server

Published on May 12, 2014
Default avatar
By Justin Ellingwood
Developer and author at DigitalOcean.
English
How To Install Node.js on an Ubuntu 14.04 Server
Not using Ubuntu 14.04?Choose a different version or distribution.
Ubuntu 14.04

Introduction

Node.js is a Javascript platform for server-side programming that allows users to build network applications quickly. By leveraging Javascript on both the front-end and the back-end, development can be more consistent and be designed within the same system.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to get started with Node.js on an Ubuntu 14.04 server.

If you are looking to set up a production Node.js environment, check out this link: How To Set Up a Node.js Application for Production.

How To Install the Distro-Stable Version

Ubuntu 14.04 contains a version of Node.js in its default repositories that can be used to easily provide a consistent experience across multiple servers. The version in the repositories is 0.10.25. This will not be the latest version, but it should be quite stable.

In order to get this version, we just have to use the apt package manager. We should refresh our local package index prior and then install from the repositories:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nodejs

If the package in the repositories suits your needs, this is all that you need to do to get set up with Node.js. In most cases, you’ll also want to also install npm, which is the Node.js package manager. You can do this by typing:

sudo apt-get install npm

This will allow you to easily install modules and packages to use with Node.js.

Because of a conflict with another package, the executable from the Ubuntu repositories is called nodejs instead of node. Keep this in mind as you are running software.

Below, we’ll discuss some more flexible methods of installation.

How To Install Using a PPA

An alternative that can get you a more recent version of Node.js is to add a PPA (personal package archive) maintained by NodeSource. This will probably have more up-to-date versions of Node.js than the official Ubuntu repositories.

First, you need to install the PPA in order to get access to its contents. This depends on the version you wish to install.

For the most recent LTS (the 6.x branch), use:

curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_6.x | sudo -E bash -

For the older LTS (the 4.x branch), use:

curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_4.x | sudo -E bash -

For the currently active release (the 7.x branch), use:

curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_7.x | sudo -E bash -

The PPA will be added to your configuration and your local package cache will be updated automatically. After running the setup script from nodesource, you can install the Node.js package in the same way that you did above:

sudo apt-get install nodejs

The nodejs package contains the nodejs binary as well as npm, so you don’t need to install npm separately. However, in order for some npm packages to work (such as those that require building from source), you will need to install the build-essentials package:

sudo apt-get install build-essential

How To Install Using NVM

An alternative to installing Node.js through apt is to use a specially designed tool called nvm, which stands for “Node.js version manager”.

Using nvm, you can install multiple, self-contained versions of Node.js which will allow you to control your environment easier. It will give you on-demand access to the newest versions of Node.js, but will also allow you to target previous releases that your app may depend on.

To start off, we’ll need to get the software packages from our Ubuntu repositories that will allow us to build source packages. The nvm script will leverage these tools to build the necessary components:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install build-essential libssl-dev

Once the prerequisite packages are installed, you can pull down the nvm installation script from the project’s GitHub page. The version number may be different, but in general, you can download and install it with the following syntax:

<pre> curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/creationix/nvm/<span class=“highlight”>v0.16.1</span>/install.sh | sh </pre>

This will download the script and run it. It will install the software into a subdirectory of your home directory at ~/.nvm. It will also add the necessary lines to your ~/.profile file to use the file.

To gain access to the nvm functionality, you’ll need to log out and log back in again, or you can source the ~/.profile file so that your current session knows about the changes:

source ~/.profile

Now that you have nvm installed, you can install isolated Node.js versions.

To find out the versions of Node.js that are available for installation, you can type:

nvm ls-remote

. . .
 v0.11.6
 v0.11.7
 v0.11.8
 v0.11.9
v0.11.10
v0.11.11
v0.11.12
v0.11.13

As you can see, the newest version at the time of this writing is v0.11.13. You can install that by typing:

nvm install 0.11.13

Usually, nvm will switch to use the most recently installed version. You can explicitly tell nvm to use the version we just downloaded by typing:

nvm use 0.11.13

When you install Node.js using nvm, the executable is called node. You can see the version currently being used by the shell by typing:

node -v

v.0.11.13

If you have multiple Node.js versions, you can see what is installed by typing:

nvm ls

If you wish to default one of the versions, you can type:

nvm alias default 0.11.13

This version will be automatically selected when a new session spawns. You can also reference it by the alias like this:

nvm use default

Each version of Node.js will keep track of its own packages and has npm available to manage these.

You can have npm install packages to the Node.js project’s ./node_modules directory by using the normal format:

<pre> npm install <span class=“highlight”>express</span> </pre>

If you’d like to install it globally (available to the other projects using the same Node.js version), you can add the -g flag:

<pre> npm install -g <span class=“highlight”>express</span> </pre>

This will install the package in:

<pre> ~/.nvm/<span class=“highlight”>node_version</span>/lib/node_modules/<span class=“highlight”>package_name</span> </pre>

Installing globally will let you run the commands from the command line, but you’ll have to use link the package into your local sphere to require it from within a program:

<pre> npm link <span class=“highlight”>express</span> </pre>

You can learn more about the options available to you with nvm by typing:

nvm help

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a quite a few ways to get up and running with Node.js on your Ubuntu 14.04 server. Your circumstances will dictate which of the above methods is the best idea for your circumstance. While the packaged version in Ubuntu’s repository is the easiest, the nvm method is definitely much more flexible.

<div class=“author”>By Justin Ellingwood</div>

If you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and our broader community, consider checking out our DigitalOcean products which can also help you achieve your development goals.

Learn more here


About the authors
Default avatar
Developer and author at DigitalOcean.

Still looking for an answer?

Was this helpful?
10 Comments

This textbox defaults to using Markdown to format your answer.

You can type !ref in this text area to quickly search our full set of tutorials, documentation & marketplace offerings and insert the link!

The PPA also installs the binary /usr/bin/nodejs So you might want to run:

<pre> sudo ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node </pre>

@robertchristian1985: You can link node to nodejs by running:

sudo ln -s "$(which nodejs)" /usr/bin/node

**MEAN **Stack is trending these days. So, I used my experience of **DevOps **and pen-down easy to understand tutorial for Production-Server. follow this guide :

NodeJS, MongoDB, PM2 and NGINX installation and configuration for production server — ubuntu 16.04

https://deb.nodesource.com/setup has been deprecated as of October 2016. Needs to be replaced with

Refer to: https://github.com/nodejs/LTS/

this link is going to be deprecated in October 2016: curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup | sudo bash - you can use this instead: curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_4.x | sudo bash - or curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_6.x | sudo bash -

This article is incredibly outdated. Go to https://github.com/nodesource/distributions for updated information on installing a current version of node and npm.

Create a symbolic link for node, as many Node.js tools use this name to execute. sudo ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node

Hi,

I installed nodejs and npm via apt-get. On completion my version was

sudo nodejs -v
v0.10.29

and

sudo npm -v
v1.2? - Can't quite remember.

I then followed this other tutorial https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-create-a-blog-with-ghost-and-nginx-on-ubuntu-14-04

where by said to update npm to 2.5.0 by

$ sudo npm install npm@2.5.0 -g
/usr/local/bin/npm -> /usr/local/lib/node_modules/npm/bin/npm-cli.js
npm@2.5.0 /usr/local/lib/node_modules/npm

now when I run version check I don’t get a version

$ sudo npm -v
/usr/bin/env: node: No such file or directory

How do I fix this?

Thanks

I tried uninstalling then reinstalling:

sudo apt-get --purge remove npm
sudo apt-get autoremove

then

sudo apt-get install npm

but still same thing.

Any help.

I’m wondering if following part of the tutorial contains an error, which is why a number of people are having problems with it?

curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/creationix/nvm/v0.16.1/install.sh | sh

I’m confused as to why this tut references “sh”, while the NVM repository itself references “bash”.

Specifically, NVM instructions for curl state:

curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/creationix/nvm/v0.16.1/install.sh | bash

It is different. “bash”, not “sh”

Found this discussion on Stack Overflow

In particular:

Some popular examples of systems where /bin/sh does not point to /bin/bash (and on some of which /bin/bash may not even exist) are:

Modern Debian and Ubuntu systems, which symlink sh to dash by default;

So it seems it does matter, I’m just not sure if it matters in this particular case.

If the tutorial contains incorrect information though, it should really be corrected by the author, especially since it appears the issue might be specifically related to Debian/Ubuntu, which is what this tutorial is aimed toward.

If the tutorial is correct, and “sh” should be used, then does anyone know why using “sh” in this context is correct? (please don’t guess if you don’t know the answer).

nice tutorial