How to install Node.js v14.x on Ubuntu 16.10

Josh Sherman
2 min read
Servers Node.js Debian / Ubuntu

You consider 2016 to be “your year” so you’ve been reluctant to upgrade from the last version of Ubuntu released that year. Even though it’s well past end of life as an interim release, you can still run the latest version of Node.js. Follow these quick and easy steps to install Node Version Manager and Node.js v14.x on your extremely old Ubuntu 16.10 system.<h2 id="getting-started">Getting started</h2>

Before we can install Node Version Manager (which will then be used to install Node.js) we need to ensure that we have curl installed so that we can easily download the install script we need to run.

If you’re running inside of a Docker container, you should start by updating your system, else you’ll run into errors about how the curl package cannot be found:

su -c 'apt update'

Once things are up to date, install curl:

su -c 'apt install -y curl'

Installing Node Version Manager

To get things running quickly and easily, we will download the installation script for Node Version Manager from the package’s repository and run it:

su -c 'curl -sL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nvm-sh/nvm/master/install.sh | bash -'

Once Node Version Manager is installed, the script will log some lines that will need to be added to your shell profile (.bashrc, .zshrc, et cetera):

export NVM_DIR="$HOME/.nvm"
[ -s "$NVM_DIR/nvm.sh" ] && \. "$NVM_DIR/nvm.sh"  # This loads nvm
[ -s "$NVM_DIR/bash_completion" ] && \. "$NVM_DIR/bash_completion"  # This loads nvm bash_completion

You will absolutely have to run those commands if you want to use nvm from the command line. If you copy and paste them back in the terminal, and close the terminal out, you won’t have nvm available until you run them again.

Installing Node.js v14.x

With Node Version Manager installed and the aforementioned shell profile commands executed (making nvm available) we can go ahead and install Node.js v14.x:

nvm install 14

Without a minor version, Node Version Manage will install the latest versions of the v14.x series. If you’d like, you can specify the full version number to explicitly install that specific version.

To check that Node.js is the proper version, simply ask Node.js to spit out it’s version number:

node --version # v14.0.0

Setting Node.js v14.x as your default

If this is your first time using Node Version Manager, then Node.js v14.x will automatically be flagged as your default version.

If this isn’t your first rodeo, you probably have some other version of Node.js previously installed that is potentially your default.

To switch Node.js v14.x to be your default Node.js version, just alias it with the nvm command:

nvm alias default 14
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