Running npm install on IPv4-only network and latest Node.js

The latest versions of Node.js prevent npm install from working on IPv4-only networks. Here is how to fix it.

As of Node.js 17 or so, there have been internal changes to parameter defaults intended to enable support for IPv6-only networks, but in the proccess it seems like it’s broken networks that are IPv4-only. This results in the following error when trying to install npm packages from the public repo on node 17+:

npm ERR! FetchError: request to{package} failed,
  reason: connect ECONNREFUSED {ipv6-addr}:443

The exact change can be found in this pull request, and we can revert back to the previous behavior by adding a new CLI argument. Since npm does not offer a way to natively override its node parameters (afaik), we can create an alias that starts node and then calls npm with the argument enabled.

There are two options you can follow. The first is to update your .nmprc file and the second is to replace your npm command with an alias that includes the argument. Note that both options override all uses of NPM. If you use NVM to manage multiple versions of Node.js these commands will crash if you use a very old version of Node (e.g. v12). With this particular issue you can just comment out the change and NPM will work again, since it only occurs in recent versions of NPM.

NPM rc

Run the following code snippet to install the override in your .npmrc.

echo "node-options=--max_old_space_size=4096" >> ~/.npmrc

NPM Alias

Run the following code snippet to install the alias into your bashrc file. If you aren’t using Bash, change this to your zshrc or equivalent for your shell.

echo "alias npm='node --dns-result-order=ipv4first /usr/bin/npm'" >> ~/.bashrc