Where is the .npmrc file?

May 19, 2016

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I've been through this a couple times now because I wanted to move my NPM global install location to a new spot where I wasn't constantly dealing with permissions issues and both times it was a bigger hassle than it probably should have been. I was able to find a great guide for how to change the default global installation location for NPM but there was one minor point of confusion. The author states:

Indicate to npm where to store globally installed packages. In your ~/.npmrc file add: prefix=${HOME}/.npm-packages

This is great, except there's no .npmrc file there. For reference, the ~/ is referring to the user's home directory. So I did some searching and was able to find the NPM official documentation for NPMRC which states the location for the global NPMRC file is: global config file $PREFIX/etc/npmrc.

What's that mean? $PREFIX? So more searching around and I found the documentation for PREFIX on NPM. That told me that I could check the location of PREFIX by entering npm prefix -g (the -g indicates it's for a global search). Which lead me to something like /usr/local/bin or something like that. So I checked there and didn't find the file. I looked all over and couldn't find it. Finally I found a random comment on a page that pointed me to the piece of information that nobody seemed to want to add to their page:

You have to create the .npmrc file yourself

Yep, just like the .gitignore file, you generally have to create this file. So after you follow the directions to create the appropriate folder, go to your user home folder and create a new file called .npmrc and enter the information specified in the guide above: prefix=${HOME}/.npm-packages. Then you're set to go! Be sure to put the additional information into your .zshrc and/or bashrc files as well so they know what to do:



# Unset manpath so we can inherit from /etc/manpath via the `manpath` command
unset MANPATH # delete if you already modified MANPATH elsewhere in your config
export MANPATH="$NPM_PACKAGES/share/man:$(manpath)"

Good luck!

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