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Jan 12, 2021 2 mins

Resolving “Error: EACCES: permission denied, access ‘/usr/local/lib/node_modules’”

Resolving EACCES: permission denied Resolving EACCES: permission denied

Node.js allows developers to execute JavaScript code server-side. When working with Node.js, you may encounter the error message "Error: EACCES: permission denied, access '/usr/local/lib/node_modules'" while trying to install or modify global Node.js modules. This error typically indicates a lack of permissions to write to the specified directory. In this article, we will explore the common reasons behind this issue and provide solutions to resolve it.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Insufficient Permissions

One of the most common reasons for encountering the EACCES error is a lack of sufficient permissions to write to the /usr/local/lib/node_modules directory. This directory is the default location for global Node.js modules. If you’re facing this issue, you can use the sudo command to gain elevated privileges during the installation process.

sudo npm install -g your_package_name

However, it’s worth noting that using sudo is not always the recommended approach due to potential security risks. If you prefer to avoid using sudo, you can change the ownership of the /usr/local/lib/node_modules directory to your user:

sudo chown -R $(whoami) /usr/local/lib/node_modules

This command recursively changes the ownership of the directory and its contents to your user, allowing you to install Node.js modules without elevated privileges.

Using Node Version Manager (NVM)

If you are using Node Version Manager (NVM) to manage your Node.js installations, it offers a more flexible solution. NVM installs Node.js in a user-specific directory, eliminating the need for elevated permissions.

nvm install node
nvm use node

By using NVM, you can install and manage Node.js versions without requiring administrative privileges, which can be particularly useful in environments where you don’t have root access.

Custom npm Global Directory

Another approach to avoid permission issues is to configure npm to use a custom directory for global installations. This allows you to install Node.js modules globally without requiring elevated permissions. You can achieve this by setting the npm prefix to a directory where you have write permissions, such as your home directory.

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

The first command sets the npm prefix to ~/.npm-global, and the second command updates the PATH variable to include the new global bin directory. To make these changes permanent, add the export command to your shell profile (e.g., .bashrc or .bash_profile).

Result

After implementing the suggested solutions, you should be able to install Node.js modules globally without encountering the “Error: EACCES: permission denied” issue. Whether you choose to use sudo with caution, leverage Node Version Manager (NVM), or configure a custom npm global directory, these methods address the root cause of the problem by ensuring that you have the necessary permissions to write to the specified directory.

Conclusion

Encountering permission denied errors in Node.js can be frustrating, but understanding the reasons behind them and applying the appropriate solutions can help streamline your development workflow. By addressing insufficient permissions, exploring the benefits of Node Version Manager (NVM), or configuring a custom npm global directory, you can resolve the “Error: EACCES: permission denied, access ‘/usr/local/lib/node_modules’” issue and continue working with Node.js seamlessly. Choose the solution that best fits your requirements and aligns with your security considerations to enhance your Node.js development experience.


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