What is node_modules

By onjsdev

Dec 23rd, 2023

If you've worked with frameworks or libraries such as NodeJS, Reactjs, and Vuejs , you've probably seen the folder called node_modules. The node_modules folder is a crucial part of any web development project. It serves as the directory where all your project's external dependencies are installed.

Here's a breakdown of the key things you should know about node_modules:

Why node_modules is important?

Think of the node_modules directory as a central location where Nodejs projects store their dependencies, making it easy to manage, share, and reproduce the project in different environments.

So we can summarize its purposes as below:

  • Stores all the external dependencies your project needs.
  • Prevents version conflicts by having a single copy of each package.
  • Makes your project portable and shareable as the dependencies are readily available.

What it includes?

If you open the node_modules you can find many files with various extensions. Here's what you can find in the "node_modules" directory:

  • Each dependency has its own folder within node_modules.
  • Each dependency folder contains the package's code, resources, and configuration files.
  • Additional nested folders can exist for sub-dependencies.

NPM and node_modules

npm stands for Node Package Manager, and it is the default package manager for Nodejs. It is used to manage and install packages for Nodejs projects. npm simplifies the process of including external libraries and tools in your projects.

Here's how npm and the "node_modules" directory work together:

  • Dependencies are installed using the npm install command.
  • Specific versions can be specified in the package.json file.
  • The npm update command updates dependencies to their latest versions.
  • Deleting the node_modules folder and re-running npm install is a way to refresh your dependencies.

Best Practices

While working a project, there are a few best practises about node modules including:

  • Avoid editing directly: Changes made directly to the node_modules folder can be overwritten during future installations.
  • Ignore in version control: The "node_modules" directory can become quite large, especially for projects with many dependencies. It's common practice not to include the "node_modules" directory in version control systems, as it can be regenerated by running npm install based on the information in the "package.json" file.


The node_modules directory is an important component of any web development application. It allows easily store and manage external libraries and frameworks.

Thank you for reading.