What Does That Mean for You?

Node.js 17 is a version of Node.js that was released on October 19, 2021. It introduced several new features, such as support for Open SSL 3.0, the Readline Promise API, and upgraded the JavaScript V8 engine to V8 9.5.

But as of the 1st of June 2022, Node.js 17 has reached end-of-life (EOL), and will no longer be supported. Here’s what you need to do about that.

What Does EOL Mean?

When a Node.js version reaches EOL, it means that version of Node.js is no longer supported by the Node.js team. It will no longer receive updates of any kind, including bug fixes, and will slowly become harder to use, as third party software will require newer versions of Node.js to run.

Why Has Node.js 17 Reached EOL Already?

Considering that Node.js 17 was released only eight months ago, you might be wondering: why has it already reached EOL?

This is actually by design. All odd-numbered versions of Node.js reach EOL eight months after they’re released. Why? Because odd numbered releases are intended to be frequently changing, with new features being added as quickly as possible. Odd-numbered releases are intended for people who have little difficulty frequently upgrading their version of Node.js.

Even-numbered releases, however, are designed to emphasize stability and security, for use in production applications where frequently upgrading Node.js may be tedious or difficult.

Even-numbered releases of Node.js are usually supported for a total of thirty months from their release date.

How to Check if You’re Using Node.js 17

You might be using Node.js 17 without knowing it, especially if you’ve recently had to upgrade your Node.js installation in order to use some other software.

To verify what version of Node.js you have installed, open the terminal (command line) on your device and type:

 node -v 

If you have Node.js installed on your device, this command will output the version number of your Node.js installation, prefixed with the letter “v”.

When you run the command, the output should look like this:

output of the node -v command

What to Do if You Use Node.js 17

If you currently have Node.js 17 installed, since Node.js 17 has reached EOL, the ideal course of action is to switch to a version of Node.js that’s still supported.

You can either upgrade to Node.js 18, which will be supported till 2025, or downgrade to Node.js 16, which will be supported till 2024.

Upgrading to Node.js 18 is the better option, as it has more features and will be supported longer than Node.js 16, but if for you can’t or don’t want to upgrade to Node.js 18, downgrading to Node.js 16 is fine.

How to Change Your Node.js Version

If you want to change your version of Node.js, you have two options:

  • Use a version manager for Node.js.
  • Uninstall Node.js on your device, then download your desired version from the official website.

The easiest way to change your Node.js version is to use a version manager.

If Node.js is installed on a Linux or macOS machine, you should use the Node Version Manager (nvm). If Node.js is installed on a Windows machine, you should use nvm-windows instead.

If you choose not to use a version manager, here’s how to install Node.js on Ubuntu and how to install Node.js on Windows.

Do You Need to Change Your Node.js Version?

If you’re using Node.js 17, you need to change your Node.js version. Why?

The fact that Node.js 17 has reached its EOL means that:

  • Your installation will always be vulnerable to security issues fixed in later versions.
  • You’re stuck with any bugs your current installation has.
  • You won’t be able to access any features released in the future.
  • As more time passes, installing new software will become progressively difficult, as they will require supported versions of Node.js.

This doesn’t mean anything catastrophic will happen if you don’t change your version of Node.js right away. However, the longer you continue to use an unsupported version of Node.js, the greater the risk you incur, and the more difficult it will be to use. If you have Node.js 17 installed, you’ll need to change your version of Node.js sooner or later.

It’s Time to Get a New Version of Node.js

Node.js 17 is no longer supported by the Node.js team, as it was released eight months ago and has reached its EOL.

Because of this, you need to check what version of Node.js you use, so you know if you’re using Node.js 17. If you are, you need to change versions as soon as you can (either by using a version manager or by reinstalling Node.js).

Why? To avoid security vulnerabilities, get new features, and make sure you’ll have no issues using future software.

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