Normal installation would be sudo apt install nodejs to install Node.js and then sudo apt install npm to install Node Package Manager. However, upon doing so, npm -v says 3.5.2. To upgrade normally, I would do sudo npm install -g npm, which updates to the latest version (which, at the time of writing this article, is 6.0.1).

When I do a which npm, I get /usr/local/bin/npm, however apt installs a symlink at /usr/bin/npm. If I sudo apt purge npm to remove npm, it still leaves the npm version of npm at /usr/local/bin/npm, however npm -v says -bash: /usr/bin/npm: No such file or directory.

Many articles say to use a PPA to install nodejs, but I think there should be a native way to do this through apt.

DigitalOcean instructions on installation normally and through PPA: https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-install-node-js-on-ubuntu-18-04

TecAdmin instructions on installation through PPA: https://tecadmin.net/install-latest-nodejs-npm-on-ubuntu/


TLDR: This problem is caused by Bash caching the path of the npm command, and can be solved by hash -d npm. You don't even need to deal with apt purge unless you want to.


Here were my steps for getting a new npm version on Ubuntu. First, do the installation as OP describes:

$ sudo apt-get install npm
(...apt installation of npm was successful...)
$ npm -v
$ command -v npm
$ sudo npm install -g npm
(...npm installation of npm was successful...so far, so good)

You can see that the new version is already working fine in /usr/local/bin/npm, but unfortunately the Bash cache still has /usr/bin/npm:

$ /usr/local/bin/npm -v
$ npm -v
$ command -v npm
$ type npm
npm is hashed (/usr/bin/npm)

To fix the problem, clear it from the Bash cache (do this in all open shells):

$ hash -d npm

Now the new version works as desired:

$ npm -v
$ command -v npm
  • 1
    I actually like this answer better than my own. – Blairg23 May 31 at 19:36

The way I found is to purge npm through sudo apt purge npm, then simply recreate a symlink to the global installation via ln -s /usr/local/bin/npm /usr/bin/npm. After that fix, npm -v returns 6.0.1 as expected.

  • 2
    Worked with Ubuntu 18.04 running through UserLAnd on Android 6.0.1. Thank you! :) – l3l_aze Aug 26 '18 at 8:58
  • 1
    OP you should mark this as the answer. – Robert Munn Dec 2 '18 at 17:07
  • Weird thing, for me it was quite different. I had the updated version in /usr/bin/npm, so I went the opposite route using ln -s /usr/bin/npm /usr/local/bin/npm. Strange, but your answer helped me to find out how to deal with the incorrect version issue. – LordAnomander May 13 at 6:34

To have control on installed npm version, I always use nvm (node version control). You can install it through the instructions here: https://github.com/creationix/nvm Then by following command install the latest npm on your computer:

nvm install node

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