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Fixing “Command not found” error when using node.js n package with sudo

Ubuntu 10

If you’re a Node.js developer, you might have encountered the “Command not found” error when trying to use the n package with sudo. This can be quite frustrating, especially when you’re trying to update your Node.js version. This article will guide you through several solutions to fix this issue.

Understanding the Error

Before we dive into the solutions, let’s understand the error. When you try to execute the n package for updating Node.js using sudo, the system cannot find the command. This is usually due to the system not recognizing the location of the n package.

Solution 1: Using the -E Flag with sudo

One way to resolve this issue is to use the -E flag with sudo. The -E flag preserves the user environment, including the PATH environment variable, which contains the directories the system searches for executables.

sudo -E env "PATH=$PATH" n stable

In this command, env "PATH=$PATH" ensures that the PATH of the sudo environment is the same as the current user’s PATH.

Solution 2: Installing the n Package Globally

Another solution is to ensure that the n package is installed globally. You can do this by running the following command:

sudo npm install n -g

Here, npm install n -g installs the n package globally, making it accessible system-wide.

Solution 3: Changing the Global Prefix for npm

In some cases, the global prefix for npm may be set to a different folder. You can change this folder by opening the .npmrc file in your home directory and replacing the prefix line with a safe path, such as /usr/local/bin.


After saving the file, run sudo npm install n -g again.

Solution 4: Creating a Symbolic Link for RHEL Flavors

For RHEL flavors, you can create a symbolic link from /usr/local/bin/n to /usr/bin/n using the following command:

ln -s /usr/local/bin/n /usr/bin/n

This command creates a symbolic link, which is essentially a shortcut, from /usr/local/bin/n to /usr/bin/n.

Solution 5: Creating a Symbolic Link if n Command is Not Recognized

If the n command is not recognized even after installing the package, creating a symbolic link can help. Run the following commands:

sudo ln -s /home/<username>/.npm-global/bin/n /usr/local/bin/n
sudo n --version # to test it

Here, ln -s /home/<username>/.npm-global/bin/n /usr/local/bin/n creates a symbolic link from your global npm directory to your local bin directory. Replace <username> with your actual username.

Solution 6: Using the nvm Package

Another option is to use the nvm package, a version manager for Node.js. Install nvm and set the environment variable. Then, use nvm to install the latest version of Node.js.

curl -o- | bash
nvm install node

Solution 7: Directly Referencing the n Command

In some cases, running sudo /usr/local/bin/n stable instead of sudo n stable has resolved the issue. Here, you’re directly referencing the location of the n command.

sudo /usr/local/bin/n stable

In conclusion, the “Command not found” error when using the n package with sudo can be fixed using various methods. The solutions provided in this article should help you overcome this issue and continue with your Node.js development smoothly.

Why am I getting a “Command not found” error when using the `n` package with `sudo`?

The "Command not found" error occurs when the system cannot locate the n package when using sudo. This is usually due to the system not recognizing the location of the n package.

How can I fix the “Command not found” error when using the `n` package with `sudo`?

There are several solutions to fix this issue. You can try using the -E flag with sudo, installing the n package globally, changing the global prefix for npm, creating a symbolic link for RHEL flavors, creating a symbolic link if the n command is not recognized, using the nvm package, or directly referencing the n command location by running sudo /usr/local/bin/n stable.

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