What is pnpm and why you should use it?

What is pnpm and why you should use it?

PNPM is a faster, more efficient package manager for Node.js. In the article, we will learn installation, benefits and why it's worth switching from npm

Yogini Bende

Yogini Bende

Apr 27, 2024 4 min read

With all the new developments in web technologies, efficient package management is crucial for maintaining project integrity, speeding up development workflows, and ensuring seamless collaboration among team members. One solution that has gained traction in recent years is pnpm.

In this guide, we'll walk you into what pnpm is, how to install and update it, why you should consider using it, its benefits, and difference between npm and pnpm.

Let's get started.

Table of Contents

What is pnpm?

Pnpm in known as "Performant NPM" but to be precise it is a "Fast, disk space efficient package manager." It's an alternative package manager for Node.js applications that aims to solve some of the limitations and inefficiencies found in traditional package managers like npm and Yarn.

One of the key differences with pnpm is its approach to package installation. Instead of duplicating dependencies in each project directory, pnpm uses a unique approach called "hard linking" to store packages in a global store. This drastically reduces the amount of disk space required and speeds up the installation process.

How to Install pnpm

Installing pnpm is straightforward and can be done using npm itself. For this, in your terminal you can run the command -

npm install -g pnpm

This command will install pnpm globally on your system, allowing you to use it across all your projects.

How to Update pnpm

Updating pnpm to the latest version is also simple. Just run the following command:

pnpm install -g pnpm@latest

This command updates pnpm to the newest version available.

Why Use pnpm?

  1. Disk Space Efficiency: As mentioned earlier, pnpm's unique approach to dependency management significantly reduces disk space usage by avoiding duplication of packages. This is particularly beneficial when working on projects with numerous dependencies or when dealing with limited disk space.

  2. Faster Installation: Thanks to its use of hard links and shared dependencies, pnpm installs packages much faster compared to npm or Yarn. This can save valuable time during development, especially when setting up new projects or installing dependencies on CI/CD pipelines.

  3. Version Control: With pnpm, package versions are stored in a centralized location, making it easier to manage and update dependencies across multiple projects. This ensures consistency and reduces the risk of compatibility issues between different versions of the same package.

  4. Automatic Locking: Similar to npm and Yarn, pnpm also generates a lockfile (pnpm-lock.yaml) to lock dependency versions. This helps ensure that all team members are using the same versions of dependencies, promoting consistency and stability across environments.

PNPM vs. NPM — What is the difference between them?

While both pnpm and npm serve the same purpose of managing Node.js dependencies, they differ in their approach and some features:


  • npm installs packages locally within each project directory, leading to duplication of dependencies.
  • pnpm installs packages globally in a shared store, reducing disk space usage.


  • pnpm generally installs packages faster than npm due to its use of hard links and shared dependencies.

Disk Space:

  • pnpm consumes less disk space compared to npm, especially for projects with many dependencies.

Dependency Resolution:

  • Both npm and pnpm resolve dependencies using the npm registry, ensuring compatibility and consistency.

Community Support:

  • npm has been around longer and has a larger community, resulting in more extensive documentation and support resources.
  • pnpm, while gaining popularity, may have fewer resources and community support compared to npm.


In conclusion, pnpm offers a compelling alternative to traditional package managers like npm and Yarn, with its focus on disk space efficiency, faster installation times, and version control. By leveraging innovative techniques such as hard linking and shared dependencies, pnpm addresses many pain points associated with managing Node.js projects. While it may not be suitable for every use case, especially those heavily reliant on npm-specific features or with existing npm workflows, pnpm presents a viable option for teams looking to streamline their development processes and improve overall efficiency.

Whether you're a solo developer working on personal projects or part of a large team collaborating on enterprise-level applications, exploring pnpm could prove beneficial in optimizing your Node.js development workflow. So why not give it a try and see the difference it can make in your projects?

If you have used pnpm in any of your project, share your thoughts with Peerlist and it's strong community of developers and designers. Check the link, if you are looking for javascript jobs!

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