Note: You must be using npm version 5.5.1 or greater to use access tokens.

An access token is an alternative to using your username and password for authenticating to npm when using the API or the npm command-line interface (CLI). An access token is a hexadecimal string that you can use to authenticate, and which gives you the right to install and/or publish your modules.

There are two types of access tokens available:

You can create access tokens to give other tools (such as continuous integration testing environments) access to your npm packages. For example, GitHub Actions provides the ability to store secrets, such as access tokens, that you can then use to authenticate. When your workflow runs, it will be able to complete npm tasks as you, including installing private packages you can access.

You can work with tokens from the web or the CLI, whichever is easiest. What you do in each environment will be reflected in the other environment.

npm token commands let you:

  • View tokens for easier tracking and management
  • Create new legacy tokens
  • Limit access according to IP address ranges (CIDR)
  • Delete/revoke tokens

For more information on creating and viewing access tokens on the web and CLI, see "Creating and viewing access tokens".

About legacy tokens

Legacy tokens are created with the same permissions as the user who created them. The npm CLI automatically generates and uses a publish token when you run npm login.

There are three different types of legacy tokens:

  • Read-only: You can use these tokens to download packages from the registry. These tokens are best for automation and workflows where you are installing packages. For greater security, we recommend using granular access tokens instead.
  • Automation: You can use these tokens to download packages and install new ones. These tokens are best for automation workflows where you are publishing new packages. Automation tokens do not 2FA for executing operations on npm and are suitable for CI/CD workflows. For greater security, we recommend using granular access tokens instead.
  • Publish: You can use these tokens to download packages, install packages, and update user and package settings. We recommend using them for interactive workflows such as a CLI. If 2FA is enabled on your account, publish tokens will require 2FA to execute sensitive operations on npm.

Legacy tokens do not have an expiration date. It is important to be aware of your tokens and keep them protected for account security. For more information, see "Securing your token."

About granular access tokens

Granular access tokens allow you to restrict access provided to the token based on what you want to use the token for. With granular access tokens, you can:

  • Restrict which packages and scopes a token has access to
  • Grant tokens access to specific organizations
  • Set a token expiration date
  • Limit token access based on IP address ranges
  • Select between read-only or read and write access

You can create up to 1000 granular access tokens on your npm account. You can set how long your token is valid for, at least one day in the future. Each token can access up to 50 organizations, and up to either 50 packages, 50 scopes, or a combination of 50 packages and scopes. Access tokens are tied to users’ permission; hence it cannot have more permission than the user at any point in time. If a user has their access revoked from a package or an org., their granular access token also will have its access revoked from those packages or org.

When you give a token access to an organization, the token can only be used for managing organization settings and teams or users associated with the organization. It does not give the token the right to publish packages managed by the organization.