Solve npm ERR! ENOENT – No Such File or Directory Error

The npm ENOENT error can be tricky to resolve. This article will show you how to troubleshoot and fix the npm ENOENT no such file or directory error quickly.

What is the npm ENOENT Error?

The ENOENT error in npm stands for “Error NO ENTry“. It indicates that npm failed to find or open a required file or directory when running a command.

Some common npm commands that may fail with ENOENT error include:

npm start Failing with ENOENT

Running npm start relies on having a package.json file with a start script. If this file is missing, npm will throw the ENOENT error saying it cannot find package.json.

npm install Failing with ENOENT

The npm install command fails with ENOENT when a dependency fails to install due to a missing file. This is often caused by a corrupted cache.

What causes the npm ERR! ENOENT error?

The main cause of the npm ENOENT error are:

  • Missing package.json file – The npm start command relies on a package.json file being present in the current directory with a start script defined. If this file is missing, it will trigger the ENOENT error.
  • Running npm commands from wrong directory – npm commands need to be run from the project root, where the package.json file is located. If you run npm install or npm start from the wrong folder, it can’t find package.json and throw ENOENT error.
  • Outdated npm version – Bugs in old npm versions can also sometimes cause ENOENT errors unexpectedly. Updating to the latest npm usually fixes it.
  • Corrupted cache – A corrupted npm cache can result in missing files or folders, leading to ENOENT errors. Clearing the cache fixes it.
  • Incorrect file permissions – If the package.json file or node_modules folder has incorrect permissions and npm can’t access them, it could trigger the ENOENT error.
  • Partial installs – If a dependency failed to install properly and is only partially present, it can cause ENOENT errors when npm tries to access it.

4 Fixes for npm ERR! ENOENT Errors

Here are four fixes that you can try to resolve this npm error:

1. Check the File Exists

If you get the ENOENT error when running npm start, check that the package.json file exists in the current directory. Open the folder in your code editor or file explorer to verify package.json is present.

This file contains the start script that npm start tries to run. If it is missing, create a simple package.json file with:

  "scripts": {
    "start": "node index.js"

Replace index.js with the main file you want to run.

2. Run the command From Project Root

The npm CLI expects package.json to be present in the current directory you run commands from.

Navigate to the root folder of your Node.js project which contains package.json before running npm commands.

For example, if your folder structure is project/app/src, go to project folder first before running npm install.

3. Update npm

An outdated npm version can also trigger ENOENT errors unexpectedly.

Update to the latest stable npm release by running:

npm install -g npm@latest

This will install the newest npm version globally on your system. Try your npm command again after updating.

4. Clear Cache and Reinstall

Corrupted cache can cause missing file errors like ENOENT.

Run the following commands step-by-step:

npm cache clean --force 
rm -rf node_modules
npm install

This will:

  • Clean the npm cache using --force flag
  • Delete the node_modules folder
  • Do a fresh install of all dependencies

Read more about clearing npm cache here : how to clear npm cache safely

After reinstalling, the missing files should be restored and ENOENT fixed.


With the above troubleshooting tips, you should be able to resolve the npm Err! ENOENT error quickly. Double-check for missing files, run npm commands from the right folder, update npm and do a clean reinstall.

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