what is NPX and how is it different from NPM?

npm (Node Package Manager) is most package manager for JavaScript applications. It is the default package manager for Node.js. It consists of:

  • an online repository of public and paid-for private projects (packages), called the npm registry.
  • a command line client, also called npm that to install and manage these packages e.g. npm install some-package

npm doesn’t run any packages by itself. If we want to run a package using npm, we must define it in package.json. For example to run some-package, this is what we’ll need to do:

  "name": "my-app",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "scripts": {
    "some-package": "some-package"

Then to run the package:

npm run some-package

As you can see just the simple task of running a package required quite a bit of steps. This is where npx comes in.


npx is a tool that is included with npm. It allows us to run npm packages from the command line, skipping package.json altogether. It makes it easy to

  • run packages that you have installed locally in your project, as well as,
  • packages from the online npm registry.

To install npx if you don’t already have it (check by running which npx), you can use the following command: npm install -g npx. Here’s how to use it:

$ npx cowsay npx is best!
< npx is best! >
        \   ^__^
         \  (oo)\_______
            (__)\       )\/\
                ||----w |
                ||     ||

Differences between npx and npm

Here are the main differences between npx and npm:

  1. npx is designed to be used from the command line, while npm is a full-featured package manager that can be used to install, update, and manage npm packages.

  2. npx runs a package only once and then exits, while npm usually installs a package and adds it to the dependencies section of your project’s package.json file.

  3. npx automatically installs a package (it will prompt you asking for permission) if it is not already present on your system, while npm requires you to explicitly install a package using the npm install command.

  4. npx is useful for running one-off commands or scripts that are defined in an npm package, while npm is more suitable for managing the dependencies of a long-term project.

Related Questions

Speak Your Mind