We will be using the Node Version Manager (Nvm) to install Node.js on an Ubuntu operating system. And compared to other Node.js installation methods, it has the easiest ways to have multiple versions of Node.js without adding much extra complexity. There will be times when an application needs different versions of Node.js to work, so having the flexibility to change that is important and will save you a lot of time.

Once completed, you will be ready to start building Node.js applications!

Install/Verify System Packages

Before going through these steps, open a new terminal (CTRL+ALT+T) and navigate to the home directory of your machine:

      cd ~

First, let's update the system packages on your machine:

      apt-get update

When that finishes, run the following command to install the build-essential package if you don't already have it:

      apt-get install build-essential
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Install Nvm (Node Version Manager)

Now we are ready to install the nvm package. Use one of the two (curl or wget) commands below to run the nvm bash script.

At the time of publication, NVM v0.34.0 was the most recent version available. Make sure you check the NVM Github project page to get the latest version and replace the yellow text in the commands below.

curl command:

      curl -o- | bash

Or use the wget command:

      wget -qO- | bash

The bash script clones the nvm repository to ~/.nvm and adds the source line to your profile (~/.bash_profile, ~/.zshrc, ~/.profile, or ~/.bashrc).

Reload the Shell

After running the above command, you will receive an output message similar to the following in your terminal:


      => Close and reopen your terminal to start using nvm or run the following to use it now:


You can reload the shell by running:

      source ~/.bashrc

Or simply open a new Terminal window/tab.

Verify the Installation

To verify that nvm was installed correctly, use this command:

      nvm --version

You should see an output with the version of nvm you downloaded.

Now let's install the latest Node.js stable release (replace v10.16.0 with the version you wish to install):

You now have Node.js installed!

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Useful Nvm Commands

For the last part of this, we will quickly go over a few useful commands you can use with nvm.

See What Versions Are Installed

To see what versions of Node.js have been installed in the past, use this command:

      nvm ls

Install Specific Version of Node.js

To install a specific version of Node.js, use this command (replace the yellow text with the version you want to install):

      nvm install v10.16.0

Change The Default Node.js Version To Use

If you want to change the default Node.js version later, you can run this command to adjust it:
      nvm alias default v11.16.0

You can also select what Node.js version is used on a per-project basis. This can be done by running nvm use v10.16.0 in the directory where your project resides.

Delete Node.js Versions

To delete any version of Node.js you have downloaded with nvm, use this command (replace v10.15.3 with the version you wish to delete):

      nvm uninstall v10.15.3


You now have Node.js installed and it's ready for you to use on your Ubuntu machine!

Thanks for reading and happy coding!