How to solve npm error “npm ERR! code ELIFECYCLE” – Definitive Guide

The npm error code “npm ERR! code ELIFECYCLE” mainly occurs while running npm commands like npm install, npm start or `npm run dev.

Cause of Error
This “npm ERR! code ELIFECYCLE” error code means npm can identify the executed command, but something is preventing running that command successfully.

Solution
Resolving this error needs you to investigate the complete log message followed by the “npm ERR! code ELIFECYCLE” statement.

There are a couple of cases for this error to occur, and let us see some possible reasons for this error and its solution.

Clean and re-install npm

Sometimes, npm will not provide a clear error message after the “npm ERR! code ELIFECYCLE” statement.
In such scenarios, you can clean the project dependencies using the following steps to fix the error message.# clean your npm cache

  • Clean your npm cache
    npm cache clean --force
  • Delete the node_modules folder
    rm -rf node_modules
  • Remove the package.json file and also npm-shrinkwrap.json
    rm package-lock.json && rm npm-shrinkwrap.json
  • Install npm to get all the dependencies
    npm install

Update package.json with correct information

The package.json file is primarily present in the root directory, holds various metadata relevant to the project and is used to give information to npm that allows it to identify the project and handle the project’s dependencies.
Sometimes If the package.json is given with incorrect information and that can lead to the “npm ERR! code ELIFECYCLE” error.

Code

    //pacakge.json
    {
        "name": "TechMam",
        "version": "1.0.0",
        "description": "TechMam Tutorials",
        "main": "index.js",
        "scripts": {
            "dev": "node main.js"
        },
        "author": "sv"
    }
    //current package structure
    . 
    ├── node_modules/ 
    ├── index.js 
    ├── package-lock.json 
    └── package.json
    npm run dev

Output

    npm ERR! node v4.9.1    
    npm ERR! npm  v2.15.11  
    npm ERR! code ELIFECYCLE    
    npm ERR! [email protected] dev: `node main.js`  
    npm ERR! Exit status 1  
    npm ERR!    
    npm ERR! Failed at the [email protected] dev script 'node main.js'.     
    npm ERR! This is most likely a problem with the TechMam package,

In the above example, the error log message says, “Failed at the [email protected] dev script ‘node main.js’.”. So there is some problem with the dev script.

If you look at the package structure, it doesn’t have the file(“main.js“), which causes this error.

In this case, if you add the missing file and run the command, it will succeed with any error.

    //current package structure
    . 
    ├── node_modules/ 
    ├── index.js 
    ├── main.js 
    ├── package-lock.json 
    └── package.json
    npm run dev

Update the Node version

When you work with older node versions, there are many chances for you to encounter the npm error “npm ERR! code ELIFECYCLE”.
The main reason could be the version of packages included may require the latest node versions.
Code

    {
        "name": "TechMam",
        "version": "1.0.0",
        "description": "TechMam Tutorials",
        "main": "index.js",
        "scripts": {
            "start": "json-server db.json"
        },
        "type": "module",
        "author": "sv",
        "dependencies": {
            "json-server": "^0.17.0"
        }
    }
    node -v 
    v10.18.1                            //current node version
    npm start

Output

    json-server requires at least version 12 of Node, please upgrade    
    npm ERR! code ELIFECYCLE    
    npm ERR! errno 1    
    npm ERR! [email protected] start: `json-server db.json`     
    npm ERR! Exit status 1  
    npm ERR!    
    npm ERR! Failed at the [email protected] start script.  
    npm ERR! This is probably not a problem with npm. There is likely additional logging output above.
    npm ERR! A complete log of this run can be found in:    
    npm ERR!     C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\npm-cache\_logs\2022-07-30T04_20_37_431Z-debug.log

In the above example, the json-server package requires at least version 12 of Node, but the current node version is “v10.18.1“.

You need to upgrade the node to 12 or the latest version to fix this issue. You can download the latest node from this link.

Install missing module while executing npm start command

You can also see npm ERR! Code ELIFECYCLE error if a specific module is not present while running the npm start command.

In the below code, the script property is not included. In such cases, if you run npm start command, npm will check for server.js file presence in the root directory, and if found, it will execute the server.js file.

If the server.js uses other modules as dependency and if that dependent module is not found then npm will throw Error: Cannot find module 'express' along with npm ERR! code ELIFECYCLE error.
Code

    //package.json
    {
        "name": "TechMam",
        "version": "1.0.0",
        "description": "TechMam Tutorials",
        "main": "index.js",
        "author": "sv"
    }

    //server.js
    const  express = require( 'express');
    const  app = express();
    app.get('/', (req, res) => {
        res.send('Welcome To Tech Mam!!!')
    });
    app.listen(3000);
    //current package structure
    . 
    ├── node_modules/ 
    ├── server.js 
    ├── package-lock.json 
    └── package.json
    npm start

Output

    module.js:327
        throw err;
        ^
    Error: Cannot find module 'express'
        at Function.Module._resolveFilename (module.js:325:15) npm npm ERR! Windows_NT 10.0.22000
    npm ERR! argv "C:\\Soft\\node-v4.9.1-win-x64\\node-v4.9.1-win-x64\\node.exe" "C:\\Soft\\node-v4.9.1-win-x64\\node-v4.9.1-win-x64\\node_modules\\npm\\bin\\npm-cli.js" "start"
    npm ERR! node v4.9.1
    npm ERR! npm  v2.15.11
    npm ERR! code ELIFECYCLE
    npm ERR! [email protected] start: `node server.js`
    npm ERR! Exit status 1
    npm ERR!
    npm ERR! Failed at the [email protected] start script 'node server.js'.
    npm ERR! This is likely a problem with the TechMam package,
    npm ERR! not with npm itself.
    npm ERR! Tell the author that this fails on your system:
    npm ERR!     node server.js

You can install the dependent module using the install express –savecommand and run thenpm start` again to fix this issue.

Summary

You have learned to Solve npm ERR! code ELIFECYCLE and learn about the possible ways to get npm ERR! code ELIFECYCLE and its solutions.

You May Also Like

Leave a Comment