Programs

Node JS Versions: Which One to Download?

Introduction

One of the most well-known and widely used JavaScript runtime environments is Node.js, which aids developers in creating scalable and effective web applications. Node.js offers several capabilities and tools for server-side development thanks to its vast ecosystem of libraries and modules. However, customers can choose from many versions when installing Node.js. 

Selecting the correct Node.js version is crucial since it may significantly impact your apps’ functionality, compatibility, and performance. In this blog, we’ll examine the many Node.js versions and help you decide which one to download based on the needs of your projects and requirements.

What is Node.js?

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment and library that is open-source and cross-platform for use outside the client’s browser. Since Ryan Dahl created it in 2009, it has gained popularity as a tool for almost all projects. Node.js runs on top of the JavaScript engine in Google Chrome V8, which makes it exceptionally fast and allows it to handle thousands of connections simultaneously with just one server without adding the complication of handling thread parallelism, which may be a significant source of mistakes. 

Node.js is a runtime environment for JavaScript code execution outside a browser rather than a programming language or framework. Millions of front-end developers who create JavaScript for the browser can now create server-side and client-side code without learning an entirely new language, thanks to Node.js. As of May 2023, Node.js is on version 16.9.0. However, prior versions are still available on the official Node.js website.

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Importance of selecting the right version of Node.js

Choosing the suitable Node.js version is critical for assuring project compatibility and avoiding difficulties. 

Here are some reasons why choosing the correct Node.js version is vital:

Compatibility: Due to differences in functionality, APIs, and syntax, your code may not work correctly depending on the Node.js version you’re using. As a consequence, selecting a version that is appropriate for your project is crucial.

Security: Security issues in older versions of Node.js may have been resolved in subsequent versions. Consequently, selecting a safe and current version for your project is crucial.

Stability: Newer versions of Node.js may not be as stable as older ones since they could still contain bugs or unsolved problems. Selecting a stable and trustworthy version for your project is crucial.

LTS (Long-Term Support) and Current versions of Node.js

There are two kinds of Node.js releases: Current and LTS (Long-Term Support). 

The Current version is in active development and includes the newest features and enhancements. The code for the Current release is in the branch for its major version number (for example, v10.x). 

On the other hand, LTS versions are meant for usage in production situations and promise at least 18 months of support. These versions are routinely updated with bug fixes and performance optimisations.

Odd-numbered releases (9, 11, etc.) become unsupported after six months, whereas even-numbered versions (10, 12, etc.) advance to Active LTS status and are available for broad usage. Active LTS releases are new features, bug fixes, and upgrades that have been vetted by the LTS team and confirmed to be acceptable and stable for the release line. 

The LTS designation typically assures that significant issues will be patched for 30 months. Production applications should only utilise Active LTS or Maintenance LTS versions.

Every even (LTS) major version will be actively maintained for 12 months from the day it obtains LTS coverage. Following those 12 months of active support, the major version will switch into “maintenance” mode for 18 months. As of February 16, 2023, the most current version of Node.js is 19.6.1, but the most recent LTS version recommended for production usage is 18.14.03.

As of February 16, 2023, the most current version of Node.js is 19.6.1, but the most recent LTS version recommended for production usage is 18.14.03. 

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Comparison of LTS and Current versions

LTS (Long Term Support) is the recommended version for most users. It is more dependable, requires fewer updates, and prioritises stability and security above new features. It has a longer release cycle every two years and is supported for 30 months. 

The current version has a 6-month release cycle and is only supported for six months. It is less dependable, with more frequent updates, and it prioritises new features above stability and security.

Here is a comparison of the LTS and Current versions of Node.js in a tabular format:

Feature LTS Version Current Version
Release Cycle Every 2 years Every 6 months
Support Duration 30 months 6 months
Stability More stable, fewer updates Less stable, more frequent updates
Features Fewer new features, more focus on stability and security More new features, less focus on stability and security
Recommended for Production environments and long-term projects Development environments and short-term projects

 

New even-numbered versions of Node.js are published each April, whereas odd-numbered versions are released in October. Combined with a new odd-numbered major release, the prior even-numbered major version will switch to Long-Term Support. The Current version should integrate most non-major (non-breaking) changes that land on nodejs/nodemain branch.

How to choose the right version of Node.js?

To choose the correct Node.js version, use a version manager like nvm or n, which enables you to switch between several Node.js versions effortlessly. 

Here are two approaches for determining the right Node.js version:

  • Determine the version of Node.js necessary for your project.
  • Set up a version control system like nvm or n.
  • Using version control, install the needed Node.js version.
  • Change to the needed version using the version manager.
  • Test your project to confirm it is compatible and reliable with the Node.js version given.

These steps will verify that you are utilising the right Node.js version for your project and will help you avoid possible compatibility, stability, and security concerns.

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Best practices for upgrading Node.js versions

Here are some best practices for upgrading Node.js versions:

  • Examine your reliance: Examine which dependencies must be updated and which may be left alone before updating.
  • Remove useless dependencies: Remove any unwanted dependencies before upgrading.
  • Update your Node.js version’s dependencies: Update dependencies to ensure they are compatible with the most recent Node.js version.
  • Use a version manager such as nvm to upgrade Node.js to the most recent version.
  • Test in sandbox environments: Test the latest version in sandbox environments before going live with changes.
  • Upgrade both plugins simultaneously: Upgrade both plugins when upgrading to the latest version.
  • Ensure that the present Node version is up to date: Ensure your current Node version is up to date to avoid difficulties during the upgrade process.

Installing Node.js

Here is a step-by-step guide to installing Node.js on Windows:

  • Go to the official Node.js page at https://nodejs.org/en/download/ 
  • Click on the “Windows Installer” button to get the latest version of Node.js for Windows.
  • Double-click on the downloaded file once the download is complete to begin the installation.
  • The system will ask whether you wish to execute the programme. Click “Run” to continue.
  • Click “Next” on the Node.js Setup Wizard to continue.
  • Review the licencing agreement on the following screen. Click “Next” and install the programme if you agree to the conditions.
  • Choose the installation location and click “Next”.
  • Choose the components you wish to install and click “Next”.
  • Choose the start menu folder and click “Next”.
  • Click “Install” to begin the installation procedure.
  • Once the installation is complete, click “Finish”.
  • Open a command line and execute node -v to ensure that Node.js was installed successfully. This should show the version number of the installed Node.js.
  • That’s it! You have successfully installed Node.js on your Windows PC.

To switch between different versions of Node.js during development, one can use a version manager like nvm for Windows or n Node version check manager for Linux/Mac.

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Popular Node.js frameworks and their supported versions

There are several popular Node.js frameworks available for app development. Here are some of them:

Express.js: Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework Express.js for Node.js is quick, reliable, and asynchronous. It supports the server’s and routes’ direction. It is based on assigning parameters to templates and allows the building of numerous web applications. 

Meteor.js: A full-stack framework called Meteor.js enables programmers to construct JavaScript real-time web apps.

Koa.js: A lightweight framework called Koa.js uses generators to enhance application speed and error handling.

Nest: Along with TypeScript and JavaScript, Nest is a Node.js framework for creating quick, scalable, and enterprise-grade server-side applications.

Hapi.js: A configuration-centric framework with a robust plugin system, Hapi.js enables programmers to build scalable APIs.

Sails.js: An MVC framework called Sails.js makes creating unique, business-class Node.js applications simple.

LoopBack: A free and open-source framework called LoopBack enables programmers to build REST APIs and link them to backend data sources.

Adonis.js: It is a full-stack framework that offers a selection of available capabilities for immediate use in creating scalable online applications.

Next.js: A React-based framework called Next.js makes it simple for programmers to construct server-rendered React apps.

Remix: It is a brand-new framework for using web foundations to improve webpages and provide modern, rich user experiences.

Total.js: An MVC framework called Total.js offers a selection of ready-to-use capabilities for creating scalable online applications.

Feathers: it is a compact framework that offers real-time functionality and makes it simple for programmers to create real-time apps and REST APIs.

Conclusion

Before picking a Node.js version, one should evaluate their demands, like a stable version for production or a stable version for testing and development. NVM is a popular version manager that can help you manage different versions of Node.js.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can one check Node JS version Windows is installed on their computer?

One can follow these steps to check the Node version in Windows OS: Open Powershell, Windows Command Prompt, or a similar command line tool. Type node -v and press Enter. If Node.js is installed, this should print the version number.

How can one check the Node version of Mac or Linux installed on their computer?

One should follow these commands to check the Node version on Mac or Linx OS: Open the terminal on your system. Type node -v and press Enter. If Node.js is installed, this should print the version number.

How can one check their Node.js and NPM versions using NPM?

To check the Node.js version, type and check NPM version node in your terminal or command prompt. To check the NPM version, type NPM -v in your terminal or command prompt.

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