When developing for the Block Editor, you will need Node.js development tools along with a code editor and a local WordPress environment (see Block Development Environment). Node.js (
node will automatically include the Node Package Manager (
npm) and the Node Package eXecute (
npx), two tools you will frequently use in block and plugin development.
Node Package Manager (
npm) serves multiple purposes, including dependency management and script execution. It’s the recommended package manager and is extensively featured in all documentation.
It’s recommended that you use Node Version Manager (
nvm) to install Node.js. This allows you to install and manage specific versions of
node, which are installed locally in your home directory, avoiding any global permission issues.
Here are the quick instructions for installing
nvm and setting the recommended Node.js version for block development. See the complete installation guide for more details.
- Open the terminal and run the following to install
nvm. On macOS, the required developer tools are not installed by default. Install them if prompted.
curl -o- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nvm-sh/nvm/v0.39.5/install.sh | bash
- Quit and restart the terminal.
nvm install --ltsin the terminal to install the latest LTS (Long Term Support) version of Node.js.
npm -vin the terminal to verify the installed
If needed, you can also install specific versions of
node. For example, install version 18 by running
nvm install 18, and switch between different versions by running
nvm use [version-number]. See the
nvm usage guide for more details.
Some projects, like Gutenberg, include an
.nvmrc file which specifies the version of
node that should be used. In this case, running
nvm use will automatically select the correct version. If the version is not yet installed, you will get an error that tells you what version needs to be added. Run
nvm install [version-number] followed by
You can download a Node.js installer directly from the main Node.js website. The latest version is recommended. Installers are available for Windows and Mac, and binaries are available for Linux.
Microsoft also provides a detailed guide on how to install
nvm and Node.js on Windows and WSL.
If you encounter the error
zsh: command not found: nvm when attempting to install
node, you might need to create the default profile file.
The default shell is
zsh on macOS, so create the profile file by running
touch ~/.zshrc in the terminal. It’s fine to run if the file already exists. The default profile is
bash for Ubuntu, including WSL, so use
touch ~/.bashrc instead. Then repeat steps 2-4.
node version should work for most development projects, but be aware that some packages and tools have specific requirements. If you encounter issues, you might need to install and use a previous
node version. Also, make sure to check if the project has an
.nvmrc and use the
node version indicated.
- Node.js (Official documentation)
- Node Version Manager (Official documentation)
- Installing Node.js and npm for local WordPress development (Learn WordPress tutorial)