I successfully update/install the latest version of node js by using those commands (the official curl way not working for me) :

sudo npm cache clean -f
sudo npm install -g n
sudo n stable

sudo ln -sf /usr/local/n/versions/node/<VERSION>/bin/node /usr/bin/node

However, the version of my node and nodejs become different :

$ node --version
$ nodejs --version

It seems the new node is installed in /usr/local/bin/node, so i tried :

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/local/bin/node

But it returns :

ln: failed to create symbolic link ‘/usr/local/bin/node’: File exists

I also use this link :

$ sudo ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node
ln: failed to create symbolic link ‘/usr/bin/node’: File exists

I will use some frameworks that depend on node, like Ionic. Which node version will it use?

What should i do to solve this?

Thanks a lot for your help

  • The real question imo is, how do I tell n to overwrite any existing node versions and symlink both nodejs and node to the binary installed by n. And if n is incapable of doing so, what is the state of the art approach? In a working environment it is very prone to error, if nodejs and node address different nodejs versions.
    – atripes
    Jan 30, 2017 at 10:04

3 Answers 3


Steps that solved the same problem for me:

sudo apt-get remove nodejs
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/node /usr/bin/nodejs


You have installed two versions of nodejs on your computer, so you need to remove one of them. Your situation:

node v5.0.0 - you will keep this one
nodejs v0.10.25 - this you can remove

You can remove nodejs package via apt-get remove command. This will also remove the file /usr/bin/nodejs and you will not get your error message again.

Now you can create a symbolic link called "/usr/bin/nodejs", that points on source "/usr/local/bin/node". In your example you have wrong order of paths "from" and "to"

sudo ln -s source_file myfile

More info about links creation: How symbolic links works


The error:

ln: failed to create symbolic link ‘/usr/bin/node’: File exists

is normally caused when you really have two versions of the Nodejs, a with the alias of the node and the other with the nodejs alias, as we can see on the result of the commands node --version and nodejs --version:

$ node --version
$ nodejs --version

so you can't create a symbolic link for a file that already exists.

To solve this you need to completely remove the two packages using:

sudo apt-get purge node
sudo apt-get purge nodejs
sudo rm -rf bin/node bin/node-waf include/node lib/node lib/pkgconfig/nodejs.pc share/man/man1/node

and reinstall only the nodejs package using the command:

sudo apt-get install nodejs

and create a symbolic link using:

ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node

or install the nodejs-legacy that will resolve this problem with the command:

sudo apt-get install nodejs-legacy 
  • thanks a lot, you added the information, I already solved the issue by myself. I upvoted.
    – areim
    Jan 18, 2016 at 15:42

For me the node command is the NodeJS installed by nvm and nodejs command is the NodeJS installed using apt-get

  • That was also my problem on Ubuntu 16.04. Fixed with sudo apt remove nodejs && nvm install --lts node.
    – MikaelF
    Mar 18, 2020 at 2:36

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