How To Downgrade NPM Version & Packages: A Quick Guide

Sometimes you need to downgrade your npm version or specific packages to ensure compatibility or solve issues with your project. You’re not alone in this situation – I recently faced a similar challenge when a dependency update caused unexpected conflicts. In this article, we’ll explore the steps necessary for downgrading both npm versions and packages to keep your project running smoothly.

Knowing how to downgrade npm versions can be essential, as not every update may be compatible with your project setup. Let’s take a look at the various methods for downgrading npm and packages to make the process easier and more efficient for you.

Remember that downgrading isn’t always the perfect solution, but it’s a handy skill to have for troubleshooting and maintaining your projects. By following the guides in this article, you’ll be able to quickly revert npm versions and packages to their previous, more stable state when needed.

Understanding the Need to Downgrade NPM

There are times when you might need to downgrade your NPM version or the packages installed within a project. Some of the possible reasons for doing so include:

  • Compatibility issues: A newer version of NPM or its packages might not be fully compatible with your project, causing unexpected errors or malfunctions. Downgrading can help you resolve these compatibility problems.
  • Stability concerns: Newer versions may introduce bugs or regressions that could negatively impact your project. In order to maintain stability, it can be prudent to downgrade to a more reliable version.
  • Project constraints: The project you’re working on might rely on some features or functionality present in a specific NPM package version. If the package gets updated, these features might be deprecated, leading to a need for downgrading.

To help you make an informed decision about whether it’s necessary to downgrade NPM or its packages, let’s discuss these reasons in more detail.

1. Compatibility issues

When NPM or a package is updated, sometimes there can be breaking changes that adversely affect your project. Returning to an older version might be your best bet in this situation. For example, if your project is built using AngularJS 1.x, upgrading to Angular 2+ would require substantial code changes. If you’re not ready to undertake this task, downgrading is a viable option.

2. Stability concerns

Many developers value stability over new features, especially when working on critical or production-level systems. New updates can introduce unforeseen bugs, so it might be safer to stick with a tried-and-tested version. An example of this is when version 5 of left-pad package broke numerous other packages resulting in widespread problems, with many developers reverting back to version 4.

3. Project constraints

When maintaining a project that relies on a specific version of NPM or its packages, it can be necessary to downgrade. This is particularly relevant for legacy projects with dependencies that would be time-consuming or costly to update. In these cases, it might be more efficient to revert to an earlier version rather than rewriting large portions of the codebase to accommodate the new version.

In conclusion, considering compatibility, stability, and project constraints can help you decide when it’s appropriate to downgrade NPM or its packages. Ensuring your project works seamlessly and adheres to the necessary requirements is essential. So, understanding the need to downgrade and applying the process when necessary could save you time, effort, and frustration in the long run.

Identifying Your Current NPM Version

Before diving into the process of downgrading your NPM version, it’s essential to first determine which version you’re currently using. Having this information will help you choose which version to downgrade to and make the process smoother overall.

To find your current NPM version, simply open a terminal or command prompt and execute the following command:

npm -v

This command will display your current NPM version. Make a note of it, as you’ll need to refer to this information during the downgrade process.

To provide a clearer idea of the differences between NPM versions, we’ve compiled a table listing some recent versions and their release dates:

VersionRelease Date
8.0.0Oct 5, 2021
7.24.0Sep 22, 2021
7.20.0Jul 29, 2021
7.10.0May 11, 2021
6.14.15Feb 2, 2021

Understanding NPM version numbers is crucial because it enables you to find the features, bug fixes, and performance improvements associated with each version. NPM versions use semantic versioning (SemVer), which consists of three numbers: MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH.

  • MAJOR represents breaking changes
  • MINOR stands for feature additions that are backward-compatible
  • PATCH signifies bug fixes and performance improvements

For example, if your current NPM version is 7.24.0 and you want to downgrade to 7.20.0:

  • The MAJOR version remains the same, which means you won’t face breaking changes.
  • The MINOR version decreases, which means you’ll lose some features but they should be backward-compatible.
  • The PATCH version changes, but it shouldn’t significantly impact your experience.

Ultimately, identifying your NPM version is a crucial part of the downgrade process. It helps to make informed decisions and ensures a smoother transition to the desired version. Remember to use the semantic versioning system to guide you through the process and avoid potential issues as you revert to a previous NPM version.

Steps to Downgrade the NPM Version

Before we dive into the actual steps, it’s crucial to mention that downgrading your npm version could potentially break some dependencies of your project. So, make sure to backup your project files before proceeding with the following steps.

To effectively downgrade your npm version, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Check Your Current Version: Firstly, you’ll need to find out your primary npm version. To do this, open the command prompt or terminal and type the following command:
   npm -v

Note the version number displayed, as you’ll require it later.

  1. Uninstall Your Current NPM Version: In order to downgrade, you must first uninstall your current npm version. Use the following command to uninstall npm: On Windows:
   npm uninstall -g npm

On macOS or Linux:

   sudo npm uninstall -g npm

Wait for the process to complete and confirm that npm has been uninstalled.

  1. Install the Desired NPM Version: Once the current npm version is uninstalled, you can go ahead and install the desired version. Use the following command to install a specific npm version: On Windows:
   npm install -g npm@x.y.z

On macOS or Linux:

   sudo npm install -g npm@x.y.z

Replace x.y.z with your desired version number. For example, to install npm version 6.14.10, type npm install -g npm@6.14.10.

  1. Verify the New NPM Version: Finally, verify that the installation was successful and the desired npm version is now active. Type the following command in the command prompt or terminal to check the npm version:
   npm -v

The displayed version number should match the one you’ve just installed.

When it comes to downgrading npm packages, you can follow a similar process. Here are the basic steps:

  • Identify the package and the desired version to be downgraded.
  • Uninstall the current version using npm uninstall package-name.
  • Install the desired version using npm install package-name@x.y.z, where x.y.z is the desired version number.

Keep in mind that downgrading packages may also cause compatibility issues between dependencies or affect your application’s functionality. Always test your application thoroughly after downgrading npm versions or packages.

Downgrading Specific Packages

Sometimes, you might need to downgrade a specific package in your project due to compatibility issues or other unforeseen circumstances. In this section, we’ll guide you through the process of downgrading specific packages using NPM.

Step 1: Identify the package you want to downgrade

First, determine which package is causing issues and needs downgrading. You can view the list of packages in your project by checking your package.json file or by running the following command in your terminal:

npm list --depth=0

Step 2: Check the available versions of the package

It’s crucial to find out what versions are available for the package you’re downgrading. This information will help you select the most appropriate version based on your project requirements. To view the available versions of a package, run:

npm view packageName versions

Replace packageName with the name of the package you want to downgrade.

Step 3: Uninstall the current version of the package

Before you can downgrade the package, uninstall the current version. You can do this by running:

npm uninstall packageName

Again, replace packageName with the name of the package you want to downgrade.

Step 4: Install the desired version of the package

Now that you’ve removed the current version of the package, it’s time to install the desired version. Use the following command:

npm install packageName@packageVersion

Replace packageName with the name of the package, and packageVersion with the version number you want to downgrade to.

A few things to consider when downgrading packages:

  • Keep in mind that downgrading a package might cause other packages in your project to become incompatible. Always test your project thoroughly after downgrading.
  • Avoid downgrading packages to very old versions, as they might not be fully compatible with your current Node.js version or other packages used in your project.
  • Regularly updating your packages is essential. However, it’s essential to test all changes extensively to ensure they don’t have unintended consequences.

Following these steps, you can successfully downgrade specific packages in your project to match your requirements. Remember, keeping your project well-maintained and up-to-date is crucial for its overall stability and security.


Downgrading your NPM version and packages can be a vital step in ensuring the stability and compatibility of your projects. However, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before making this decision. Here’s a recap of the key points discussed in this article:

  • Reasons to downgrade may include compatibility issues, stability concerns, or simply personal preferences.
  • Make sure to backup your project before taking any actions, as recklessly downgrading may lead to undesired consequences.
  • Follow the step-by-step guide to carefully downgrade your NPM version and packages using the right commands.

Keep in mind the potential risks associated with downgrading:

  • Losing important bug fixes or enhancements present in the latest versions.
  • Encountering deprecated functions that may disrupt your project’s functionality.
  • Running into security vulnerabilities that have been patched in newer versions.

Despite these risks, downgrading might be the best option in some cases. Take your time and understand your project’s requirements before making a decision. By following the guidelines shared in this article, you should be able to efficiently revert to a previous NPM version or package without jeopardizing your work.