Fixing npm EACCESS errors

(permission denied, mkdir)

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Build tools like Gulp, Grunt and Webpack are pretty amazing - but sometimes when I am using npm to install the node modules required for my project I run into issues.

Recently when running the basic npm install command in the terminal I've been getting quite a few errors along the lines of:

Error: EACCES: permission denied, mkdir

The first thing I tried was running it with sudo.

$ sudo npm install

No dice.

I checked I was running the latest versions of node and npm, and updated to the latest stable release just in case.

$ sudo npm update

Then I deleted the existing node modules folder in my project and tried running the command again. But I kept getting the same errors for those packages, which was really frustrating.

I did some googling and found adding a particular command worked for quite a few people. So I tried:

$ sudo npm install --unsafe-perm=true --allow-root

Unfortunately, it didn't work for me.

I went on for more googling and came across this npm community thread where one poster suggested we need to change the permissions of the folder. The code he suggested was:

$ sudo chown -R $(whoami) ~/.npm

$ sudo chown -R $(whoami) /usr/local/lib

$ sudo chown -R $(whoami) /usr/local/bin

And it worked, everything installed correctly after that!

I have a basic understanding of how this command updates the folder permissions thanks to a mini command-line course I took a couple years ago, but I wouldn't have gotten there on my own.

I'm one happy chappy and can continue on with the React Gatsby project I was working on. I just wanted to document this for future me next time I come across this issue!

Jess Budd headshot

Jess is a senior software engineer and web accessibility nerd. When she’s not writing, speaking or tweeting about tech, you’ll find her putting together lego or going on walks with her doggo.