Installing a custom version of NVM and Node.js


This article walks you through installing Node.js using Node Version Manager (NVM) on a VPS or Dedicated Server.

DreamHost support is unable to assist with custom installations. The directions below will explain how to install Node.js but if you find anything is not working as intended, you must contact a developer for further assistance.

What servers can Node.js be installed onto?

Node.js can be installed onto VPS and Dedicated Servers.

If your app requires persistent processes, it can only be installed onto a VPS or Dedicated Server.

What version of Node.js is installed?

A default version of Node.js is only installed on certain operating systems. To confirm if Node.js is installed, log into your server via SSH and run the following command:

[server]$ node -v

Please note that the default version is an older version and is not meant for development purposes. It's highly recommended you follow the steps below to install a current version.

Is it possible to run Node.js on ports 80 or 443?

While it's not possible to assign your app to use ports 80 or 443, you can configure a Proxy Server in the DreamHost panel. This allows your app to use a non-privileged port in combination with your SSL certificate. View the following article for further details:

Installing Node Version Manager (nvm)

The following steps install Node Version Manager. You can then use nvm to install Node.js.

  1. Log into your server via SSH.
  2. Visit the following page to determine what version of NVM to install:
  3. Confirm you're in your user's directory.
    [server]$ cd ~
  4. Run the following command to download NVM. Change the version number as needed.
    [server]$ curl -o- | bash
    • This command installs nvm into a new directory under your user named /.nvm.
    • This command also adds the following to your .bashrc file:
    export NVM_DIR="$HOME/.nvm"
    [ -s "$NVM_DIR/" ] && \. "$NVM_DIR/" # This loads nvm
    [ -s "$NVM_DIR/bash_completion" ] && \. "$NVM_DIR/bash_completion" # This loads nvm bash_completion
  5. Update your .bashrc file to use these new settings.
    [server]$ source .bashrc
  6. Confirm your local .nvm directory is set.
    [server]$ echo $NVM_DIR

    This step only applies to Dedicated servers.

    If installing NVM as a user on a Dedicated Server, make sure the script isn't blocked by running the following as your user:

    [server]$ setfattr -n user.pax.flags -v "mr" $NVM_DIR/

    This command does not return anything. If you see an error such as setfattr: / No such file or directory, something wasn't installed correctly. Try running the following command.

    [server]$ echo $NVM_DIR

    You should see the path to your local .nvm directory. If you do not, make sure the .bashrc file was updated as in step 5 above. Then try running this command again.

  7. Edit your .bash_profile and add the following line.
    source ~/.bashrc
  8. Update your .bash_profile so you can use this new version of nvm.
    [server]$ . ~/.bash_profile
  9. Run the following command to test if nvm is now installed.
    [server]$ nvm --version

Installing Node.js

Now that nvm has been installed, you can use it to install Node.js

  1. Check which versions of Node.js are available.
    [server]$ nvm ls-remote
  2. Install any version of Node.js you wish.
    [server]$ nvm install v12.22.7

    If installing Nodejs as a user on a Dedicated Server, there may be an error that looks like this:

    # Fatal error in , line 0
    # Check failed: reservation_.SetPermissions(protect_start, protect_size, permission).
    #FailureMessage Object: 0x3dfe93bb400

    If so, you'll need to update the security controls on each newly downloaded binary file before it will work. Run the following command as your user after each new version you download:

    [server]$ setfattr -n user.pax.flags -v "mr" $(find $NVM_DIR -type f -iname "node" -o -iname "npm" -o -iname "npx")

    This will need to be done each time a new version is installed.

  3. Set your current version of node to your new version.
    [server]$ nvm use v12.22.7
    Now using node v12.22.7 (npm v)
  4. Check which version of Node.js is running by entering the following.
    [server]$ node -v

Setting the default version of Node.js

After installing a new version of Node.js, your current Shell session should use it automatically when you log back in. If you notice that the version is not correct, you may need to review the .bash_profile instructions above. You could also set the new version as your default version by running the following command.

Make sure to change the version number to the version you've installed. This example uses v12.22.7.

[server]$ nvm alias default v12.22.7
default -> v12.22.7

Testing Node.js

Now that you have installed Node.js you can create a few simple test scripts to confirm if it's functioning.

See also

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