Node.js Tutorial - Node.js Global Packages

Packages are libraries that are included in your program.

Local packages must be installed in every project using them. While a global package needs to be installed in only one location.

To install a package globally, issue npm install with the -g or --global option.

You can process global packages by adding the -g option to most npm commands.

To view the installed global packages use the command npm ls -g.

To locate the global node_modules folder use the npm root -g command.

All of the NPM commands we have seen take an optional -g flag to indicate that you are working with global modules.


The following code installs the browserify package globally.

npm install -g browserify

This put browserify on the command line, which we used in the previous chapter.

To update global packages

npm update -g package-name

To list global packages

npm ls -g

To uninstall packages

npm rm -g package-name

For example, to uninstall Browserify, you would run

npm rm -g browserify

When installing modules globally, NPM does not modify your system configuration.

The global modules are placed in a location where they become available on the command line.

Using require with Global Modules

Modules installed globally should not be used with a require function in our code, although many packages that support the global flag also support being installed locally in our project (the node_modules folder).

If installed locally, that is, without the -g flag, we can use them with the require function as we have already seen.

A good and simple example of this is the rimraf module (

If rimraf is installed globally (npm install -g rimraf), it provides a command line utility that you can use cross platform for recursively and forcefully removing a directory.

To remove a directory myData after installing rimraf globally, run

rimraf myData

To do the same from your Node.js code, install rimraf locally (npm install rimraf), create an app.js as shown.

var rimraf = require('rimraf'); 
rimraf('./foo', function (err) {
    if (err) 
       console.log('Error occured:', err);
       console.log('Directory foo deleted!');