[node.js] Do I commit the package-lock.json file created by npm 5?

npm 5 was released today and one of the new features include deterministic installs with the creation of a package-lock.json file.

Is this file supposed to be kept in source control?

I'm assuming it's similar to yarn.lock and composer.lock, both of which are supposed to be kept in source control.

This question is related to node.js git npm version-control lockfile

The answer is

Yes, you can commit this file. From the npm's official docs:

package-lock.json is automatically generated for any operations where npm modifies either the node_modules tree, or package.json. It describes the exact tree that was generated, such that subsequent installs are able to generate identical trees, regardless of intermediate dependency updates.

This file is intended to be committed into source repositories[.]

Yes, you SHOULD:

  1. commit the package-lock.json.
  2. use npm ci instead of npm install when building your applications both on your CI and your local development machine

The npm ci workflow requires the existence of a package-lock.json.

A big downside of npm install command is its unexpected behavior that it may mutate the package-lock.json, whereas npm ci only uses the versions specified in the lockfile and produces an error

  • if the package-lock.json and package.json are out of sync
  • if a package-lock.json is missing.

Hence, running npm install locally, esp. in larger teams with multiple developers, may lead to lots of conflicts within the package-lock.json and developers to decide to completely delete the package-lock.json instead.

Yet there is a strong use-case for being able to trust that the project's dependencies resolve repeatably in a reliable way across different machines.

From a package-lock.json you get exactly that: a known-to-work state.

In the past, I had projects without package-lock.json / npm-shrinkwrap.json / yarn.lock files whose build would fail one day because a random dependency got a breaking update.

Those issue are hard to resolve as you sometimes have to guess what the last working version was.

If you want to add a new dependency, you still run npm install {dependency}. If you want to upgrade, use either npm update {dependency} or npm install ${dependendency}@{version} and commit the changed package-lock.json.

If an upgrade fails, you can revert to the last known working package-lock.json.

To quote npm doc:

It is highly recommended you commit the generated package lock to source control: this will allow anyone else on your team, your deployments, your CI/continuous integration, and anyone else who runs npm install in your package source to get the exact same dependency tree that you were developing on. Additionally, the diffs from these changes are human-readable and will inform you of any changes npm has made to your node_modules, so you can notice if any transitive dependencies were updated, hoisted, etc.

And in regards to the difference between npm ci vs npm install:

  • The project must have an existing package-lock.json or npm-shrinkwrap.json.
  • If dependencies in the package lock do not match those in package.json, npm ci will exit with an error, instead of updating the package lock.
  • npm ci can only install entire projects at a time: individual dependencies cannot be added with this command.
  • If a node_modules is already present, it will be automatically removed before npm ci begins its install.
  • It will never write to package.json or any of the package-locks: installs are essentially frozen.

Note: I posted a similar answer here

Yes, it's intended to be checked in. I want to suggest that it gets its own unique commit. We find that it adds a lot of noise to our diffs.

Yes, the best practice is to check-in (YES, CHECK-IN)

I agree that it will cause a lot of noise or conflict when seeing the diff. But the benefits are:

  1. guarantee exact same version of every package. This part is the most important when building in different environments at different times. You may use ^1.2.3 in your package.json, but how can u ensure each time npm install will pick up the same version in your dev machine and in the build server, especially those indirect dependency packages? Well, package-lock.json will ensure that. (With the help of npm ci which installs packages based on lock file)
  2. it improves the installation process.
  3. it helps with new audit feature npm audit fix (I think the audit feature is from npm version 6).

Disable package-lock.json globally

type the following in your terminal:

npm config set package-lock false

this really work for me like magic

Committing package-lock.json to the source code version control means that the project will use a specific version of dependencies that may or may not match those defined in package.json. while the dependency has a specific version without any Caret (^) and Tilde (~) as you can see, that's mean the dependency will not be updated to the most recent version. and npm install will pick up the same version as well as we need it for our current version of Angular.

Note : package-lock.json highly recommended to commit it IF I added any Caret (^) and Tilde (~) to the dependency to be updated during the CI.

Yes, it's a standard practice to commit package-lock.json.

The main reason for committing package-lock.json is that everyone in the project is on the same package version.


  • If you follow strict versioning and don't allow updating to major versions automatically to save yourself from backward-incompatible changes in third-party packages committing package-lock helps a lot.
  • If you update a particular package, it gets updated in package-lock.json and everyone using the repository gets updated to that particular version when they take the pull of your changes.


  • It can make your pull requests look ugly :)

npm install won't make sure that everyone in the project is on the same package version. npm ci will help with this.

I don't commit this file in my projects. What's the point ?

  1. It's generated
  2. It's the cause of a SHA1 code integrity err in gitlab with gitlab-ci.yml builds

Though it's true that I never use ^ in my package.json for libs because I had bad experiences with it.

All answers say "YES" but that also depend of the project, the doc says:

One key detail about package-lock.json is that it cannot be published, and it will be ignored if found in any place other than the toplevel package.

This mean that you don't need to publish on npm your package-lock.json for dependency but you need to use package-lock.json in your repo to lock the version of your test dependency, build dependencies…

However, If your are using lerna for managing projects with multiple packages, you should put the package.json only on the root of your repo, not in each subpackage are created with npm init. You will get something like that :

package-lock.json        <--- here

To the people complaining about the noise when doing git diff:

git diff -- . ':(exclude)*package-lock.json' -- . ':(exclude)*yarn.lock'

What I did was use an alias:

alias gd="git diff --ignore-all-space --ignore-space-at-eol --ignore-space-change --ignore-blank-lines -- . ':(exclude)*package-lock.json' -- . ':(exclude)*yarn.lock'"

To ignore package-lock.json in diffs for the entire repository (everyone using it), you can add this to .gitattributes:

package-lock.json binary
yarn.lock binary

This will result in diffs that show "Binary files a/package-lock.json and b/package-lock.json differ whenever the package lock file was changed. Additionally, some Git services (notably GitLab, but not GitHub) will also exclude these files (no more 10k lines changed!) from the diffs when viewing online when doing this.

My use of npm is to generate minified/uglified css/js and to generate the javascript needed in pages served by a django application. In my applications, Javascript runs on the page to create animations, some times perform ajax calls, work within a VUE framework and/or work with the css. If package-lock.json has some overriding control over what is in package.json, then it may be necessary that there is one version of this file. In my experience it either does not effect what is installed by npm install, or if it does, It has not to date adversely affected the applications I deploy to my knowledge. I don't use mongodb or other such applications that are traditionally thin client.

I remove package-lock.json from repo because npm install generates this file, and npm install is part of the deploy process on each server that runs the app. Version control of node and npm are done manually on each server, but I am careful that they are the same.

When npm install is run on the server, it changes package-lock.json, and if there are changes to a file that is recorded by the repo on the server, the next deploy WONT allow you to pull new changes from origin. That is you can't deploy because the pull will overwrite the changes that have been made to package-lock.json.

You can't even overwrite a locally generated package-lock.json with what is on the repo (reset hard origin master), as npm will complain when ever you issue a command if the package-lock.json does not reflect what is in node_modules due to npm install, thus breaking the deploy. Now if this indicates that slightly different versions have been installed in node_modules, once again that has never caused me problems.

If node_modules is not on your repo (and it should not be), then package-lock.json should be ignored.

If I am missing something, please correct me in the comments, but the point that versioning is taken from this file makes no sense. The file package.json has version numbers in it, and I assume this file is the one used to build packages when npm install occurs, as when I remove it, npm install complains as follows:

jason@localhost:introcart_wagtail$ rm package.json
jason@localhost:introcart_wagtail$ npm install
npm WARN saveError ENOENT: no such file or directory, open '/home/jason/webapps/introcart_devtools/introcart_wagtail/package.json'

and the build fails, however when installing node_modules or applying npm to build js/css, no complaint is made if I remove package-lock.json

jason@localhost:introcart_wagtail$ rm package-lock.json 
jason@localhost:introcart_wagtail$ npm run dev

> [email protected] dev /home/jason/webapps/introcart_devtools/introcart_wagtail
> NODE_ENV=development webpack --progress --colors --watch --mode=development

 10% building 0/1 modules 1 active ...

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