Npm vs. Yarn

What's the Difference?

Npm and Yarn are both package managers for JavaScript, but they have some differences. Npm is the default package manager for Node.js and has been around for a longer time. It has a vast registry of packages and a large community support. On the other hand, Yarn was introduced as a faster and more reliable alternative to Npm. Yarn uses a lockfile to ensure consistent installations across different environments, which helps in avoiding dependency conflicts. Yarn also has a caching mechanism that speeds up the installation process. Overall, while Npm is more established and widely used, Yarn offers some performance improvements and additional features that make it a popular choice for many developers.


Package ManagerNpmYarn
Initial Release20102016
LicenseArtistic License 2.0BSD-2-Clause
Installation Commandnpm installyarn install
Lock Filepackage-lock.jsonyarn.lock
Offline ModeNoYes

Further Detail


When it comes to package managers for JavaScript, two popular options stand out: Npm and Yarn. Both tools are designed to simplify the process of managing dependencies and packages in JavaScript projects. While they share similar goals, there are notable differences between Npm and Yarn that developers should consider. In this article, we will explore the attributes of Npm and Yarn, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses to help you make an informed decision for your next project.

Installation and Setup

Getting started with Npm is straightforward since it comes bundled with Node.js, a popular JavaScript runtime. This means that once you have Node.js installed, you automatically have Npm available. On the other hand, Yarn requires a separate installation, which can be done using Npm itself. While this adds an extra step, Yarn's installation process is generally quick and hassle-free.

Once installed, both Npm and Yarn provide command-line interfaces (CLIs) that allow developers to interact with their respective package managers. Npm's CLI is known for its simplicity and ease of use, making it a great choice for beginners. Yarn's CLI, on the other hand, offers additional features such as improved performance and a more intuitive command structure.

In terms of configuration, Npm relies on a single package.json file to manage dependencies, scripts, and other project metadata. Yarn, on the other hand, introduces a yarn.lock file that ensures deterministic and reproducible builds. This file locks down the exact versions of dependencies used in a project, which can be beneficial for team collaboration and ensuring consistent builds across different environments.

Dependency Resolution and Performance

One of the key differences between Npm and Yarn lies in their dependency resolution algorithms. Npm uses a depth-first search algorithm, which can sometimes lead to dependency conflicts or inefficient resolution. Yarn, on the other hand, employs a more advanced algorithm called "network concurrency" that parallelizes dependency resolution, resulting in faster and more reliable installations.

Furthermore, Yarn introduced a feature called "offline mode" that allows developers to install packages without an internet connection. This can be particularly useful in scenarios where network connectivity is limited or unreliable. Npm, on the other hand, requires an internet connection for package installations.

When it comes to performance, Yarn has historically been known for its faster installation times compared to Npm. However, recent updates to Npm have significantly improved its performance, narrowing the gap between the two package managers. While Yarn still holds an edge in certain scenarios, such as large-scale projects with numerous dependencies, Npm's performance improvements make it a viable choice for most projects.

Security and Package Ecosystem

Both Npm and Yarn prioritize security and provide mechanisms to protect against malicious packages. Npm has a built-in security feature called "npm audit" that scans your project's dependencies for known vulnerabilities and suggests updates. Yarn, on the other hand, relies on the "yarn audit" command to perform a similar vulnerability check.

When it comes to the package ecosystem, Npm has a long-standing advantage due to its maturity and widespread adoption. It boasts a vast collection of packages, making it easier to find and integrate third-party libraries into your projects. Yarn, however, leverages Npm's registry and is fully compatible with the Npm ecosystem. This means that you can seamlessly switch between Npm and Yarn without any compatibility issues.

Additionally, Yarn introduced a feature called "workspaces" that allows you to manage multiple packages within a single repository. This can be particularly useful for monorepo setups, where multiple projects share common dependencies. Npm, on the other hand, lacks native support for workspaces, although there are third-party tools available to achieve similar functionality.

Community and Support

Both Npm and Yarn have active and supportive communities, with extensive documentation and resources available. Npm benefits from its long-standing presence in the JavaScript ecosystem, making it easier to find answers to common questions or troubleshoot issues. Yarn, on the other hand, has gained popularity in recent years and has a growing community that actively contributes to its development and provides support.

Furthermore, both Npm and Yarn have dedicated teams that actively maintain and update their respective package managers. This ensures that critical security vulnerabilities are promptly addressed and new features are introduced regularly. It's worth noting that Yarn's development is heavily influenced by Facebook, which provides additional resources and expertise.


In conclusion, Npm and Yarn are both powerful package managers that offer unique features and benefits. Npm's seamless integration with Node.js, simplicity, and extensive package ecosystem make it a reliable choice for most JavaScript projects. Yarn, on the other hand, excels in areas such as performance, dependency resolution, and offline mode. Its compatibility with the Npm ecosystem and the introduction of workspaces further enhance its appeal.

Ultimately, the choice between Npm and Yarn depends on your specific project requirements and personal preferences. It's recommended to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each package manager in the context of your project and consider factors such as installation process, dependency resolution, performance, security, and community support. By making an informed decision, you can ensure a smooth development experience and efficient management of your JavaScript dependencies.

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