Find newer versions of dependencies than what your package.json allows

npm install npm-check-updates
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npm-check-updates is a tool that allows you to find all updates to dependencies in your Node.js project, regardless of any version constraints in your package.json file (unlike npm itself).

Optionally, npm-check-updates can also upgrade your package.json file to satisfy the latest available versions, all while maintaining your existing semantic versioning policies.

Put plainly, it will upgrade your "express": "3.3.x" dependency to "express": "3.4.x" when express 3.4.0 hits the scene.

npm-check-updates can also show you all available updates to your globally installed packages.


Package.json best practices recommends maintaining dependencies using a semantic versioning policy. In practice you do this by specifying a "1.2.x" style dependency in your package.json, whereby patch-level updates are automatically allowed but major and minor releases require manual verification.

Unfortunately, it then becomes your responsibility to find out about new package releases, for example by using "npm info" command one package at a time, or by visiting project pages.

Whatever your versioning policy, npm-check-updates will make keeping your dependencies up to date a breeze.


npm install -g npm-check-updates


Show any new dependencies for the project in the current directory:

$ npm-check-updates

"connect" can be updated from 2.8.x to 2.11.x  (Installed: 2.8.8, Latest: 2.11.0)
"commander" can be updated from 1.3.x to 2.0.x (Installed: 1.3.2, Latest: 2.0.0)

Run 'npm-check-updates -u' to upgrade your package.json automatically

Check global npm packages for updates:

$ npm-check-updates -g

"mocha" can be updated to version 1.12.1

Upgrade a project's package.json:

$ npm-check-updates -u

"request" can be updated from 2.20.x to 2.27.x (Installed: 2.20.0, Latest: 2.27.1)

package.json upgraded

Now simply perform the usual "npm update" and verify that your project works with the upgraded versions.


  • 1.2
    • Print currently installed and latest package version in addition to semantic versions
    • Fixed bug where extra whitespace in package.json may prevent automatic upgrade
  • 1.1
    • Added option to check global packages for updates: -g switch
    • Now also checks and upgrades devDependencies in package.json
  • 1.0
    • Find and upgrade dependencies maintaining existing versioning policy in package.json

How dependency updates are determined

  • Direct dependencies will be increased to the latest available version:
    • 2.0.1 => 2.2.0
    • 1.2 => 1.3
  • Semantic versioning policies for levels are maintained while satisfying the latest version:
    • 1.2.x => 1.3.x
    • 1.x => 2.x
  • "Any version" is maintained:
    • * => *
  • Version constraints are maintained:
    • >0.2.x => > 0.3.x
    • >=1.0.0 => >=1.1.0
  • Dependencies newer than the latest available version are suggested to be downgraded, as it's likely a mistake:
    • 2.0.x => 1.7.x, when 1.7.10 is the latest available version
    • 1.1.0 => 1.0.1, when 1.0.1 is the latest available version


Please file an issue on github. Pull requests are welcome :)

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