How to Install Node.js on Ubuntu 14.04

How to Install Node.js on Ubuntu 14.04

Node.js, a JavaScript-based platform, is an increasingly popular, lightweight, and efficient option for developers. It allows coders to use JavaScript on both the front-end and the back-end thanks to Google’s awesome V8 engine.

With more than 100,000 packages, Node package manager, or npm, is a fantastic way to find open-source solutions for extending Node and npm’s semantic versioning system, which allows for very tight control over what packages you are using.

5 Ways to Install Node.js on Ubuntu

There are several ways to do this, but we recommend Option 1: Node Version Manager (nvm). Here is the full list of options:

Option 1 is our recommended method for everyone. Option 2 is incredibly simple, while Options 3, 4, and 5 have the advantage of keeping your Node and npm packages the most current. Before trying any of these install options, you’ll want to remove the old Node package to avoid conflicts. And for any more information on Node.js, you can always check out the Github repository.

Before You Get Started: Remove Old Node Package to Avoid Conflicts

On Ubuntu, the Node.js package has a similar name to the older version, Node. The latter is an amateur packet radio program you can more than likely remove.

If you already have Node installed, you might want to remove it. Some Node.js tools might execute Node.js as Node instead of Node.js, causing conflicts.

You can look for and remove the Node package by executing these commands in a terminal. To access a terminal, navigate through the desktop menu:
Applications → Accessories → Terminal

Run this command and if it says install in the right column, Node is on your system:

If you found the old Node package installed, run this command to completely remove it:

Option 1: Install Node.js with Node Version Manager

First, make sure you have a C++ compiler. Open the terminal and install the build-essential and libssl-dev packages if needed. By default, Ubuntu does not come with these tools — but they can be installed in the command line.

Use apt-get to install the build-essential package:

Employ a similar process to get libssl-dev:

You can install and update Node Version Manager, or nvm, by using cURL:

You will be asked to close and reopen the terminal. To verify that nvm has been successfully installed after you reopen the terminal, use:

That command will output nvm if the installation worked.

To download, compile and install the latest version of Node:

In any new shell, you’ll need to tell nvm which version to use:

To set a default Node.js version to be used in any new shell, use the alias default:

Not only does nvm allow you to run newer versions of Node.js and npm, you can install and migrate any desired versions you’d prefer. Go to the nvm GitHub repository for more information.

Option 2: Install Node.js with Ubuntu Package Manager

To install Node.js, type the following command in your terminal:

Then install the Node package manager, npm:

Create a symbolic link for node, as many Node.js tools use this name to execute.

Now we should have both the Node and npm commands working:

Option 3: Install Node.js with Maintained Ubuntu Packages

Add the Node.js-maintained repositories to your Ubuntu package source list with this command:

Then install Node.js with apt-get:

Optionally we can create a symbolic link for node (for reasons mentioned earlier):

Using this install option, we end up with newer versions of Node.js and npm:

Option 4: Install Node.js with Standard Binary Packages

Go to the official Node.js download page and download either the 32-bit or 64-bit Linux binary file, depending on your system type.

You can determine the CPU architecture of your server with these commands:

You can download the file from the browser or from the console. The latter is shown below (Note: the specific Node.js version might be different for you):

To make sure you can unpack the file, install xz-utils:

Next, execute the following command to install the Node.js binary package in /usr/local/:

You should now have both Node.js and npm installed in /usr/local/bin. You can check this with:

Final Words

Hopefully this will get you going with Node.js on Ubuntu. If you are new to developing applications with Node.js, the website has several interesting tutorials.

Questions or Comments? Ask Jacob!

Ask a question and Jacob will respond to you. We strive to provide the best advice on the net and we are here to help you in any way we can.


    Hi Jacob,
    I want to know if after the installation with “Standard Binary Packages” I can use the package commands despite the path I am currently on.
    Thanks in advance for your answer.

    • Hey Edwin, thanks for your comment!

      After installing the “Standard Binary Packages” you should be able to see that it created both a “node” and “npm” executable in your “/usr/local/bin/” directory.

      When an executable is in this system directory, you can run that command from any path on your system.

      Go ahead as a quick test and run:

      $ cd ~
      $ node -v

      You should see that even though you’re in your user’s home directory, you can still call “node” directly without having to specify its installed path.

      Let us know if you had any other questions!

  • Dirk Krause

    Just a another hint: if the installation succeeds, and you see the files in the /usr/local/bin directory, but you still get a file not found error, then you picked the wrong distro.

    Happened to me – I needed x64 but accidentally got x86 first.

    • Hi Dirk, thanks for letting us know.

      I’ll go ahead and add a bit about checking what CPU architecture you’re using first before attempting to install Node.js with the standard binary packages.

  • sanji

    thanks ! gonna use the package manager method now

    • frankel0

      That is definitely the way to go in almost all cases. Good luck!

  • Eidher

    Thanks! Short and concrete

    • frankel0

      I’m glad this worked well for you Eidher.

  • Neha

    How to upgrade nodejs to its latest version ?

    • frankel0

      Neha, there are a couple options here. I would recommend checking out ‘n’ ( or ‘nvm’ ( which both allow for very easy installation of different versions of nodejs.

      Personally, I like the ‘n’ implementation.

  • Very nicely explained about different ways to install Node.js.

    • frankel0

      Thank you!

  • Emre Demir

    Thanks for the article. It helped me as a new ubuntu user.