Skip to content

Instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

Last active February 6, 2022 04:04
What would you like to do?

##Fixing npm permissions

You may receive an EACCES error when you try to install a package globally. This indicates that you do not have permission to write to the directories that npm uses to store global packages and commands.

You can fix this problem using one of three options:

Change the permission to npm's default directory. Change npm's default directory to another directory. Install Node with a package manager that takes care of this for you. You should back-up your computer before moving forward.

###Option 1: Change the permission to npm's default directory

Find the path to npm's directory:

npm config get prefix

For many systems, this will be /usr/local.

WARNING: If the displayed path is just /usr, switch to Option 2 or you will mess up your permissions.

Change the owner of npm's directories to the name of the current user (your username!):

sudo chown -R $(whoami) $(npm config get prefix)/{lib/node_modules,bin,share}

This changes the permissions of the sub-folders used by npm and some other tools (lib/node_modules, bin, and share).

###Option 2: Change npm's default directory to another directory

There are times when you do not want to change ownership of the default directory that npm uses (i.e. /usr) as this could cause some problems, for example if you are sharing the system with other users.

Instead, you can configure npm to use a different directory altogether. In our case, this will be a hidden directory in our home folder.

Make a directory for global installations:

mkdir ~/.npm-global

Configure npm to use the new directory path:

npm config set prefix '~/.npm-global'

Open or create a ~/.profile file and add this line:

export PATH=~/.npm-global/bin:$PATH

Back on the command line, update your system variables:

source ~/.profile

Test: Download a package globally without using sudo.

npm install -g jshint

Instead of steps 2-4, you can use the corresponding ENV variable (e.g. if you don't want to modify ~/.profile):


###Option 3: Use a package manager that takes care of this for you.

If you're doing a fresh install of Node on Mac OS, you can avoid this problem altogether by using the Homebrew package manager. Homebrew sets things up out of the box with the correct permissions.

brew install node

Copy link

bergpb commented Apr 6, 2019

thanks, help me a lot.

Copy link

when I run npm config get prefix I'm getting /Users/myUsername/.npm-packages
How do I change it to install to /usr/local

Copy link

I see what's happening, I used nvm so that why it's pointing to /Users/myUsername/.npm-packages/lib/node_modules

Copy link

krumware commented Jul 2, 2019

On my machine I had to change

sudo chown -R $(whoami) $(npm config get prefix)/{lib/node_modules,bin,share}


sudo chown -R $(whoami) $(npm config get prefix)/{lib,bin,share}


Copy link

verlok commented Oct 6, 2019

Super helpful thank you

Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment