Node installation best practices

or how to avoid post-install headaches by using nvm
Published on August 6, 2015 in How-tos
Read time: 1 min

Installing node.js can be terrible.

In short:

  • if you’re going to install it on your development machine, don’t use the setup from
  • don’t install it using your system package manager. Those repo are usually outdated and you may broke your node installation.
  • installing on a development machine using one of the methods above, will lead to crazy permissions that will eventually make you crazy, too. See this and this.

Then, what to do?

On a development machine

  • Install node with NVM (Node Version Manager).
    nvm install stable
    • Activate it and set it as default with
    nvm alias default stable

Note that nvm use <version> is a handy way to set a different node version, but it won’t be persistent. To make it so, use nvm alias default <version> instead.

On a production machine

  • You can install node directly using the website installer, with appropriate permissions.


If you stumble upon

unknown option '-q'

error, please check this article to fix it.

Thanks for reading.


This blog post takes a lot from this great reply on stackoverflow. Thanks to the author.


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