Update notifications for your CLI app


Update notifications for your CLI app

Inform users of your package of updates in a non-intrusive way.



$ npm install update-notifier



const updateNotifier = require('update-notifier');
const pkg = require('./package.json');



const updateNotifier = require('update-notifier');
const pkg = require('./package.json');

// Checks for available update and returns an instance
const notifier = updateNotifier({pkg});

// Notify using the built-in convenience method

// `notifier.update` contains some useful info about the update
    latest: '1.0.1',
    current: '1.0.0',
    type: 'patch', // Possible values: latest, major, minor, patch, prerelease, build
    name: 'pageres'

Options and custom message

const notifier = updateNotifier({
    updateCheckInterval: 1000 * 60 * 60 * 24 * 7 // 1 week

if (notifier.update) {
    console.log(`Update available: ${notifier.update.latest}`);


Whenever you initiate the update notifier and it's not within the interval threshold, it will asynchronously check with npm in the background for available updates, then persist the result. The next time the notifier is initiated, the result will be loaded into the .updateproperty. This prevents any impact on your package startup performance. The update check is done in a unref'ed child process. This means that if you call process.exit, the check will still be performed in its own process.

The first time the user runs your app, it will check for an update, and even if an update is available, it will wait the specified updateCheckIntervalbefore notifying the user. This is done to not be annoying to the user, but might surprise you as an implementer if you're testing whether it works. Check out example.jsto quickly test out update-notifierand see how you can test that it works in your app.


notifier = updateNotifier(options)

Checks if there is an available update. Accepts options defined below. Returns an instance with an .updateproperty if there is an available update, otherwise undefined.


Type: object


Type: object


Type: string


Type: string


Type: number
Default: 1000 * 60 * 60 * 24(1 day)

How often to check for updates.


Type: boolean
Default: false

Allows notification to be shown when running as an npm script.


Type: string
Default: 'latest'

Which dist-tagto use to find the latest version.


Check update information.

Returns an objectwith:

  • latest(String)- Latest version.
  • current(String)- Current version.
  • type(String)- Type of current update. Possible values: latest, major, minor, patch, prerelease, build.
  • name(String)- Package name.


Convenience method to display a notification message. (See screenshot)

Only notifies if there is an update and the process is TTY.


Type: object


Type: boolean
Default: true

Defer showing the notification to after the process has exited.


Type: string
Default: See above screenshot

Message that will be shown when an update is available.

Available placeholders:

  • {packageName}- Package name.
  • {currentVersion}- Current version.
  • {latestVersion}- Latest version.
  • {updateCommand}- Update command.
notifier.notify({message: 'Run `{updateCommand}` to update.'});

// Output:
// Run `npm install update-notifier-tester@1.0.0` to update.

Type: boolean
Default: Auto-detect

Include the -gargument in the default message's npm irecommendation. You may want to change this if your CLI package can be installed as a dependency of another project, and don't want to recommend a global installation. This option is ignored if you supply your own message(see above).


Type: object
Default: {padding: 1, margin: 1, align: 'center', borderColor: 'yellow', borderStyle: 'round'}(See screenshot)

Options object that will be passed to boxen.

User settings

Users of your module have the ability to opt-out of the update notifier by changing the optOutproperty to truein ~/.config/configstore/update-notifier-[your-module-name].json. The path is available in notifier.config.path.

Users can also opt-out by setting the environment variableNO_UPDATE_NOTIFIERwith any value or by using the --no-update-notifierflag on a per run basis.

The check is also skipped automatically:

  • on CI
  • in unit tests (when the NODE_ENVenvironment variable is test)


The idea for this module came from the desire to apply the browser update strategy to CLI tools, where everyone is always on the latest version. We first tried automatic updating, which we discovered wasn't popular. This is the second iteration of that idea, but limited to just update notifications.


There are a bunch projects using it:

  • npm- Package manager for JavaScript
  • Yeoman- Modern workflows for modern webapps
  • AVA- Simple concurrent test runner
  • XO- JavaScript happiness style linter
  • Pageres- Capture website screenshots
  • Node GH- GitHub command line tool

And 2700+ more…

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