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How to Effortlessly Manage Different Node.js Versions with NVM

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Domenico Colandrea
Domenico Colandrea
4 min read
nvmnode.jsdeveloper tools

Node.js is a popular JavaScript runtime that allows developers to build server-side applications. However, managing different Node.js versions can be challenging, especially when working on projects with different dependencies or when a specific version is required.

This is where NVM (Node Version Manager) comes to the rescue. NVM is a handy tool that allows developers to easily install, switch, and manage multiple Node.js versions on their local machine. In this guide, we'll explore what NVM is, the problems it aims to solve, and how to get started with NVM.

What is NVM and Why is it Useful?

NVM, or Node Version Manager, is a command-line tool that allows you to manage multiple versions of Node.js on a single machine. It provides an efficient way to switch between different Node.js versions without the need for manual installation or configuration changes.

With NVM, developers can easily switch to a specific Node.js version based on project requirements or compatibility with certain dependencies. This ensures that applications can be developed and tested in the desired Node.js environment, providing greater flexibility and compatibility.

Why developers need NVM

Developers can greatly benefit from using NVM (Node Version Manager) for several reasons. Firstly, NVM provides the flexibility to switch between different versions of Node.js on the same machine. This is essential because different projects may require different versions of Node.js due to compatibility or specific feature requirements. NVM allows developers to easily install and manage multiple Node.js versions, ensuring they have the right environment for each project.

Furthermore, NVM simplifies the process of managing Node.js versions by abstracting away the complexities. Developers can switch between versions with a single command, eliminating the need for manual installations or modifications. This saves time and avoids potential conflicts between projects.

NVM also offers an added level of stability and consistency. It enables developers to ensure that their applications are compatible with specific Node.js versions and allows them to test their code on different environments without the hassle of manual installations or reconfigurations.

NVM is a valuable tool for developers because it provides the flexibility to manage multiple Node.js versions, simplifies the process of switching between versions, and ensures compatibility and stability across projects.

Getting Started with NVM

Step 1: Install NVM

To get started with NVM, the first step is to install it on your machine. The installation process varies depending on your operating system. Here are the general steps:

  1. Visit the NVM repository on GitHub: https://github.com/nvm-sh/nvm.
  2. Follow the installation instructions specific to your operating system. For example, on macOS or Linux, you can install NVM using the curl command:
curl -o- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nvm-sh/nvm/vx.x.x/install.sh | bash

Replace vx.x.x with the desired NVM version.

Step 2: Install Node.js Versions

Once NVM is installed, you can use it to install different Node.js versions. Here's an example of how to install Node.js version 18:

  1. Open your terminal or command prompt.
  2. Run the following command to install Node.js version 18:
nvm install 18

This will download and install Node.js version 18 on your machine.

Step 3: Switch Node.js Versions

After installing multiple Node.js versions, you can easily switch between them using NVM. Here's how to switch to Node.js version 18:

nvm use 18

This will set Node.js version 18 as the current active version.

Other Common NVM Workflows

Besides installing and switching Node.js versions, NVM offers several other useful features:

  • Listing installed versions: Use the nvm ls command to list all installed Node.js versions.
  • Setting a default version: Use the nvm alias default <version> command to set a default Node.js version.
  • Automatically switching Node.js versions: NVM allows you to specify a Node.js version in your project's .nvmrc file. When you navigate to a directory containing this file, NVM automatically switches to the specified version.

With these additional workflows, NVM provides a seamless experience for managing different Node.js versions, making it a valuable tool for developers working on various projects or maintaining compatibility with different environments.


In this guide, we explored NVM and how it can help developers switch Node.js versions with ease. We discussed the purpose and benefits of NVM, followed by a detailed step-by-step guide on installing NVM, installing Node.js versions, and switching between them. We also highlighted some additional NVM workflows to enhance your development experience. By utilizing NVM, developers can efficiently manage multiple Node.js versions, ensuring compatibility and flexibility in their projects.

Now that you have a solid understanding of NVM and its capabilities, you can start leveraging this powerful tool to streamline your Node.js development workflow.

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