// Tutorial //

How To Install Node.js on Rocky Linux 9

Published on October 4, 2022
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By Alex Garnett
Senior DevOps Technical Writer
How To Install Node.js on Rocky Linux 9
Not using Rocky Linux 9?Choose a different version or distribution.
Rocky Linux 9

Introduction

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime for server-side programming. It allows developers to create scalable backend functionality using JavaScript, a language many are already familiar with from browser-based web development.

In this guide, you will review three different ways of getting Node.js installed on a Rocky Linux 9 server:

  • using dnf to install the nodejs package from Rocky’s default software repository
  • using dnf with the Nodesource software repository to install specific versions of the nodejs package
  • installing nvm, the Node Version Manager, and using it to install and manage multiple versions of Node.js

For many users, using dnf with the default package sources will be sufficient. If you need specific newer (or legacy) versions of Node, you should use the Nodesource repository. If you are actively developing Node applications and need to switch between node versions frequently, choose the nvm method.

Prerequisites

This guide assumes that you are using Rocky Linux 9. Before you begin, you should have a non-root user account with sudo privileges set up on your system. You can learn how to do this by following the Rocky Linux 9 initial server setup tutorial.

Option 1 — Installing Node.js with DNF from the Default Repositories

Rocky Linux 9 contains a version of Node.js in its default repositories that can be used to provide a consistent experience across multiple systems. At the time of writing, the version in the repositories is 16.14.0. This will not be the latest version, but it should be stable and sufficient for quick experimentation with the language.

To get this version, you can use the dnf package manager:

  1. sudo dnf install nodejs -y

Check that the install was successful by querying node for its version number:

  1. node -v
Output
v16.14.0

If the package in the repositories suits your needs, this is all you need to do to get set up with Node.js. The Node.js package from Rocky’s default repositories also comes with npm, the Node.js package manager. This will allow you to install modules and packages to use with Node.js.

At this point you have successfully installed Node.js and npm using dnf and the default Rocky software repositories. The next section will show you how to use an alternate repository to install different versions of Node.js.

Option 2 — Installing Node.js with DNF Using the NodeSource Repository

To install a different version of Node.js, you can use the NodeSource repository. NodeSource is a third party repository that has more versions of Node.js available than the official Rocky repositories. Node.js v14, v16, and v18 are available as of the time of writing.

First, you’ll need to configure the repository locally, in order to get access to its packages. From your home directory, use curl to retrieve the installation script for your preferred version, making sure to replace 18.x with your preferred version string (if different).

  1. cd ~
  2. curl -sL https://rpm.nodesource.com/setup_18.x -o nodesource_setup.sh

Refer to the NodeSource documentation for more information on the available versions.

You can inspect the contents of the downloaded script with vi (or your preferred text editor):

  1. vi nodesource_setup.sh

Running third party shell scripts is not always considered a best practice, but in this case, NodeSource implements their own logic in order to ensure the correct commands are being passed to your package manager based on distro and version requirements. If you are satisfied that the script is safe to run, exit your editor, then run the script with sudo:

  1. sudo bash nodesource_setup.sh
Output
… ## Your system appears to already have Node.js installed from an alternative source. Run `sudo yum remove -y nodejs npm` to remove these first. ## Run `sudo yum install -y nodejs` to install Node.js 18.x and npm. ## You may run dnf if yum is not available: sudo dnf install -y nodejs ## You may also need development tools to build native addons: sudo yum install gcc-c++ make ## To install the Yarn package manager, run: curl -sL https://dl.yarnpkg.com/rpm/yarn.repo | sudo tee /etc/yum.repos.d/yarn.repo sudo yum install yarn

The repository will be added to your configuration and your local package cache will be updated automatically. You can now install the Node.js package in the same way you did in the previous section. It may be a good idea to fully remove your older Node.js packages before installing the new version, by using sudo dnf remove nodejs npm. This will not affect your configurations at all, only the installed versions. Third party repositories don’t always package their software in a way that works as a direct upgrade over stock packages, and if you have trouble, you can always try to revert to a clean slate.

  1. sudo dnf remove nodejs npm -y
  2. ```command
  3. sudo dnf install nodejs -y

Verify that you’ve installed the new version by running node with the -v version flag:

  1. node -v
Output
v18.9.0

The NodeSource nodejs package contains both the node binary and npm, so you don’t need to install npm separately.

At this point you have successfully installed Node.js and npm using dnf and the NodeSource repository. The next section will show how to use the Node Version Manager to install and manage multiple versions of Node.js.

Option 3 — Installing Node Using the Node Version Manager

Another way of installing Node.js that is particularly flexible is to use nvm, the Node Version Manager. This piece of software allows you to install and maintain many different independent versions of Node.js, and their associated Node packages, at the same time.

To install NVM on your Rocky Linux 9 machine, visit the project’s GitHub page. Copy the curl command from the README file that displays on the main page. This will get you the most recent version of the installation script.

Before piping the command through to bash, it is always a good idea to audit the script to make sure it isn’t doing anything you don’t agree with. You can do that by removing the | bash segment at the end of the curl command:

  1. curl -o- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nvm-sh/nvm/v0.39.1/install.sh

Take a look and make sure you are comfortable with the changes it is making. When you are satisfied, run the command again with | bash appended at the end. The URL you use will change depending on the latest version of nvm, but as of right now, the script can be downloaded and executed by typing:

  1. curl -o- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nvm-sh/nvm/v0.39.1/install.sh | bash

This will install the nvm script to your user account. To use it, you must first source your .bashrc file:

  1. source ~/.bashrc

Now, you can ask NVM which versions of Node are available:

  1. nvm list-remote
Output
. . . v16.13.1 (LTS: Gallium) v16.13.2 (LTS: Gallium) v16.14.0 (LTS: Gallium) v16.14.1 (LTS: Gallium) v16.14.2 (LTS: Gallium) v16.15.0 (LTS: Gallium) v16.15.1 (LTS: Gallium) v16.16.0 (LTS: Gallium) v16.17.0 (Latest LTS: Gallium) v17.0.0 v17.0.1 v17.1.0 v17.2.0 …

It’s a very long list! You can install a version of Node by typing any of the release versions you see. For instance, to get version v16.16.0 (an LTS release), you can type:

  1. nvm install v16.16.0

You can see the different versions you have installed by typing:

nvm list
Output
-> v16.16.0 system default -> v16.16.0 iojs -> N/A (default) unstable -> N/A (default) node -> stable (-> v16.16.0) (default) stable -> 16.16 (-> v16.16.0) (default) lts/* -> lts/gallium (-> N/A) lts/argon -> v4.9.1 (-> N/A) lts/boron -> v6.17.1 (-> N/A) lts/carbon -> v8.17.0 (-> N/A) lts/dubnium -> v10.24.1 (-> N/A) lts/erbium -> v12.22.12 (-> N/A) lts/fermium -> v14.20.0 (-> N/A) lts/gallium -> v16.17.0 (-> N/A)

This shows the currently active version on the first line (-> v16.16.0), followed by some named aliases and the versions that those aliases point to.

Note: if you also have a version of Node.js installed through dnf, you may see a system entry here. You can always activate the system-installed version of Node using nvm use system.

You can install a release based on these aliases as well. For instance, to install fermium, run the following:

  1. nvm install lts/gallium
Output
Downloading and installing node v16.17.0... Downloading https://nodejs.org/dist/v16.17.0/node-v16.17.0-linux-x64.tar.xz... ################################################################################# 100.0% Computing checksum with sha256sum Checksums matched! Now using node v16.17.0 (npm v8.15.0)

You can verify that the install was successful using the same technique from the other sections, by typing:

  1. node -v
Output
v16.17.0

The correct version of Node is installed on our machine as we expected. A compatible version of npm is also available.

Conclusion

There are quite a few ways to get up and running with Node.js on your Rocky Linux server. Your circumstances will dictate which of the above methods is best for your needs. While using the packaged version in Rocky’s repositories is the easiest method, using nvm or the NodeSource repository offers additional flexibility.

For more information on programming with Node.js, please refer to our tutorial series How To Code in Node.js.

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


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Senior DevOps Technical Writer

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