Node.js - dependencies and dev dependencies

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In this article, we would like to show you the difference between dependencies and dev dependencies in Node.js.


When you install an npm package locally you install it as a normal dependency.

It is automatically added to the package.json file to the depencencies list.

Example package.json with dependencies:

  "name": "my-app",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
  "dependencies": {
    "bcrypt": "^5.0.1",
    "dotenv": "^10.0.0"


Go to the following article to see how to install npm package locally:

Dev dependencies

To install npm package as devDependencies, you need to add -D flag (or --save-dev) to the npm install command:

npm install -D package-name


npm install --save-dev package-name

The development dependencies are required only during the development process (e.g unit testing).

They are added to the package.json file to the devDependency list.

Example package.json with devDependencies list:

  "name": "my-app",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
  "devDependencies": {
    "nodemon": "^2.0.12"

Alternative titles

  1. Node.js - normal dependencies and dev dependencies
  2. Node.js - dependencies vs dev dependencies
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