Installing npm packages global on OSX

October 4, 2015

Quick guide to install node and npm globally and avoid using sudo to install npm packages.

We’ll be using the Z shell (zsh) instead of bash. Replace any reference to .zshrc with .bash_profile/.bashrc in case you are running on bash instead.

Install Node

We’ll install node via homebrew. If you have Node installed already via brew, remove it, then:

$ brew install node --without-npm

Install NPM

Create a directory for your global packages.

$ mkdir .npm-packages

Add a reference to the directory into zshrc

$ echo NPM_PACKAGES="${HOME}/.npm-packages" >> ${HOME}/.zshrc

Tell NPM where to install global packages (in our case ~/.npm-packages)

$ echo prefix=${HOME}/.npm-packages >> ${HOME}/.npmrc

Install the latest version of NPM

$ curl -L | sh

Add the following lines to your .zshrc to be ensure that node will find the packages and that you’ll find the installed binaries:

$ echo NODE_PATH=\"\$NPM_PACKAGES/lib/node_modules\:\$NODE_PATH\" >> ${HOME}/.zshrc
$ echo PATH=\"\$NPM_PACKAGES/bin\:\$PATH\" >> ${HOME}/.zshrc

To verify if everything installed successfully just run the following commands:

$ node -v 
// check version of node installed

$ npm -v
// check version of npm installed

$ npm list -g --depth=0
// check global npm packages installed (should just be npm for now)

Enjoy! You should now be able to install npm modules globally without having to use sudo!

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