Installing NodeJS on the Raspberry Pi

In this guide, we will be showing you the straightforward steps to installing NodeJS on the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi NodeJS

NodeJS is an open-source platform that allows you to run JavaScript outside of a web browser. It has quickly become popular amongst developers for command-line tools and server-side scripting to drive dynamic web pages.

Thanks to its event-driven architecture, it is a capable runtime that can achieve high throughput. Additionally, it uses the speedy V8 JavaScript engine, initially developed for the Chrome web browser.

Installing the NodeJS runtime on your Raspberry Pi is a straightforward process and only takes a couple of commands.

Alongside NodeJS, you will also install NPM to your Raspberry Pi. NPM is the default package manager for NodeJS and is what you will use to install additional modules.

As the software doesn’t require a GUI to operate, you can install this JavaScript runtime on a headless Raspberry Pi.

Equipment

Below is the list of equipment we used for installing NodeJS on the Raspberry Pi.

Recommended

Optional

This tutorial was last tested on a Raspberry Pi 400, running the latest version of Raspberry Pi OS Bullseye.

How to Install NodeJS to the Raspberry Pi

This section will show you how easy it is to install the latest versions of NodeJS on the Raspberry Pi.

To make this process as easy as possible, we will be using the distributions provided by NodeSource. In addition, this team provides builds for Debian, which is what Raspberry Pi OS is built upon.

Additionally these NodeJS builds are also available for both 32-Bit and 64-bit ARM systems, perfect for our Raspberry Pi.

1. Before we begin installing NodeJS to our Raspberry Pi, let us first update the packages running on our operating system.

We can update the package list and upgrade any existing packages by using the following two commands.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

2. For this next step, you will need to decide if you want the LTS (Long Term Support) release, or the latest version.

An LTS release is typically the most stable and is supported for at least 30 months from its initial release.

The latest release will have all of the newest improvements packed in but could potentially be more unstable.

To add the repository for the latest version of NodeJS to your Raspberry Pi, run the following command.

curl -fsSL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_17.x | sudo -E bash -

If you prefer to use the current LTS release, use the command below.

curl -fsSL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_16.x | sudo -E bash -

3. With the NodeJS repositories added to our Raspberry Pi, we can proceed to install the runtime to our device.

As the script we ran in the previous step runs a package update, we simply need to install the package.

sudo apt install nodejs

4. To verify that we have now successfully installed NodeJS, we can run the following command.

This command will retrieve the version number from the runtime environment.

node -v

As we are running the LTS release (v16 at the time of Publish) of NodeJS, we got the following version string in our command line.

v16.14.2

Installing Additional Development Tools

When using NPM to install additional modules you may have issues when the module needs compiling to support the native hardware.

We can install the “build-essential” package to solve most of these issues. This package contains various tools used to compile software.

You can install this package to your Raspberry Pi by using the following command on your device.

sudo apt install build-essential

Conclusion

You should now have successfully installed NodeJS on your device at this point in the tutorial.

NodeJS is a powerful JavaScript runtime environment that allows you to run JavaScript natively without a web browser.

Thanks to its speed and relative ease of use, it is a fantastic framework to run on the Raspberry Pi.

If you have had any issues installing the software, please leave a comment below.

Be sure to check out our numerous other Raspberry Pi tutorials and guides.

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