Set default node version with NVM

I was recently figuring out how to use nvm, and one thing that stood out to me is that I needed to set the default version of node that I wanted to use when opening a new tab.

Because I was new to using nvm it took me a while to find the commands. So, if you happen to find this article while configuring nvm, hopefully you find this useful.

# Install the version that you would like 
nvm install 12.20.1

# Set 12.20.1 (or another version) as default
nvm alias default 12.20.1

Then you can open a new tab and if you run node -v, you should see v6.1.0 (or whichever version you set as the default.

Easy peasy, right? Hopefully this helps you if you’re having some issues!

48 responses to “Set default node version with NVM”

  1. Thanks for sharing, I was having this same problem with nvm, and I didn’t even realize it! Does that make sense :p

    1. Makes sense to me ? I could totally see how someone would think that they just had to use nvm use 6.1.0 each time they opened a tab, because that’s what I did for a little bit. ?

  2. is pretty handy too. It looks for a special dotfile and automatically switches the node version.

    1. And here I was trying to be helpful to others, and I learned something. ?

    2. There’s also this monster issue on the nvm repo:


    Obrigado !

  4. I find nvm to be pretty slow, so I install the latest version with homebrew and just use nvm if I want to temporarily switch to a different version. If you load it with –no-use, it’s much faster, but you have to manually activate whatever version you want.

  5. you can also do “nvm alias default node” and it will do it for the latest version of node you have

  6. I have this weird issue with nvm and Yarn:
    I have defaulted nvm to node version 8.4.0. Now, when I do yarn –version, I get an old version (0.27.5).
    However, when I do nvm use 8.4.0 (which should not be necessary), THEN I get the new version of Yarn (1.0.2). Is there an explanation for this strange behaviour?

    1. Off of the top of my head, I’m not too sure. The only thing I can think of is that the defaulting is not working properly and that you’re getting different global versions of Yarn?

  7. ohh! thank you very much for tha tuto!

  8. Muchas gracias!!!

  9. Nice tweak man, thanks for sharing!

  10. thats what i was looking for; thx

    in retrospect,
    nvm | grep default

    shows the options on the command line (mac / linux) , but your blog got me there first

  11. Thanks! Very helpful.

  12. Thanks. If the nvm documentation was made of paper, I’d burn it. geezus

    1. You’re welcome! 🙂

  13. Does it work with windows? How would it be for windows?

  14. Thank you, it’s very helpful 🙂

  15. Thanks for this!

  16. Thank you for making that quick and to the point! Bless

  17. Thanks! It was always a pain forgetting to change versions and getting errors when running npm start. This is exactly what I was looking for.

  18. Thanks a lot! ?

  19. The first time you do an “nvm install”, it sets “nvm alias default” (in ~/.nvm/alias) to the version you install. will then give you that version in every new shell, even if you nvm install a different version. In order to let nvm install set a new default, you can clear the existing one with
    nvm alias default ”

  20. Thanks for sharing, mate!

  21. Thanks. This will save me some time each time my machine restarts!

  22. Jonathan Quimbly Avatar
    Jonathan Quimbly

    Thanks kindly. doesn’t let as clearly how to do this.

  23. Luke Chinworth Avatar


  24. Thanks much!

  25. Thank you very match

  26. Maxwell Souza de Carvalho Avatar
    Maxwell Souza de Carvalho

    Very straightfoward, thank you

  27. Thanks! Solved my problem ?

  28. Very useful, thank you!

  29. Thanks again. Once yearly I fall here.

    1. hehe. You’re always welcome back ?

  30. Thanks Eric. You know this is the top hit on the Googs for setting default node version with nvm?

      1. Yup, I was just searching for this and found you! ? Thanks!

  31. This is like the third time your post save my day.

  32. Thanks! you’ll save me multiple `nvm use 16.7.0`

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