About packages and modules
The npm registry contains packages, many of which are also Node modules, or contain Node modules. Read on to understand how they differ and how they interact.
A package is a file or directory that is described by a
package.json file. A package must contain a
package.json file in order to be published to the npm registry. For more information on creating a
package.json file, see "Creating a package.json file".
Packages can be unscoped or scoped to a user or organization, and scoped packages can be private or public. For more information, see
About package formats
A package is any of the following:
- a) A folder containing a program described by a
- b) A gzipped tarball containing (a).
- c) A URL that resolves to (b).
- d) A
<name>@<version>that is published on the registry with (c).
- e) A
<name>@<tag>that points to (d).
- f) A
<name>that has a
latesttag satisfying (e).
- g) A
giturl that, when cloned, results in (a).
npm package git URL formats
Git URLs used for npm packages can be formatted in the following ways:
commit-ish can be any tag, sha, or branch that can be supplied as
an argument to
git checkout. The default
A module is any file or directory in the
node_modules directory that can be loaded by the Node.js
To be loaded by the Node.js
require() function, a module must be one of the following:
- A folder with a
package.jsonfile containing a
Note: Since modules are not required to have a
package.json file, not all modules are packages. Only modules that have a
package.json file are also packages.
In the context of a Node program, the
module is also the thing that
was loaded from a file. For example, in the following program:
var req = require('request')
we might say that "The variable
req refers to the