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Private npm module support

When are npm private modules used?

Private npm modules are used at two times during Renovate's process.

1. Module lookup

If a private npm module is listed as a dependency in a package.json, then Renovate will attempt to keep it up-to-date by querying the npm registry like it would for any other package. Hence, by default with no configuration a private package lookup will fail, because of lack of credentials. This means it won't be "renovated" and its version will remain unchanged in the package file unless you update it manually. These failures don't affect Renovate's ability to look up other modules in the same package file.

Assuming the private module lookup succeeds (solutions for that are described later in this document) then private package versions will be kept up-to-date like public package versions are.

2. Lock file generation

If you are using a lock file (e.g. yarn's yarn.lock or npm's package-lock.json) then Renovate needs to update that lock file whenever any package listed in your package file is updated to a new version.

To do this, Renovate will run npm install or equivalent and save the resulting lock file. If a private module hasn't been updated, it usually won't matter to npm/yarn because they won't attempt to udpate its lock file entry anyway. However it's possible that the install will fail if it attempts to look up that private module for some reason, even when that private module is not the main one being updated. It's therefore better to provide Renovate with all the credentials it needs to look up private packages.

Supported npm authentication approaches

The recommended approaches in order of preference are:

If you are running your own Renovate bot: copy an .npmrc file to the home dir of the bot and it will work for all repositories

Renovate App with private modules from Add an encrypted npmToken to your Renovate config

Renovate App with a private registry: Add an unencrypted npmrc plus an encrypted npmToken in config

All the various approaches are described below:

Commit .npmrc file into repository

One approach that many projects use for private repositories is to simply check in an authenticated .npmrc into the repository that is then shared between all developers. Therefore anyone running npm install or yarn install from the project root will be automatically authenticated with npm without having to distribute npm logins to every developer and make sure they've run npm login first before installing.

The good news is that this works for Renovate too. If Renovate detects a .npmrc or .yarnrc file then it will use it for its install.

Add npmrc string to Renovate config

The above solution maybe have a downside that all users of the repository (e.g. developers) will also use any .npmrc that is checked into the repository, instead of their own one in ~/.npmrc. To avoid this, you can instead add your .npmrc authentication line to your Renovate config under the field npmrc. e.g. a renovate.json might look like this:

  "npmrc": "//"

If configured like this, Renovate will use this to authenticate with npm and will ignore any .npmrc files(s) it finds checked into the repository.

Add npmToken to Renovate config

If you are using the main npmjs registry then you can configure just the npmToken instead:

  "npmToken": "abcdefghi-1234-jklmno-aac6-12345567889"

Add an encrypted npm token to Renovate config

If you don't wish for all users of the repository to be able to see the unencrypted token, you can encrypt it with Renovate's public key instead, so that only Renovate can decrypt it.

Go to, paste in your npm token, click "Encrypt", then copy the encrypted result.

Add the encrypted result inside an encrypted object like this:

  "encrypted": {
    "npmToken": "xxT19RIdhAh09lkhdrK39HzKNBn3etoLZAwHdeJ25cX+5y52a9kAC7flXmdw5JrkciN08aQuRNqDaKxp53IVptB5AYOnQPrt8MCT+x0zHgp4A1zv1QOV84I6uugdWpFSjPUkmLGMgULudEZJMlY/dAn/IVwf/IImqwazY8eHyJAA4vyUqKkL9SXzHjvS+OBonQ/9/AHYYKmDJwT8vLSRCKrXxJCdUfH7ZnikZbFqjnURJ9nGUHP44rlYJ7PFl05RZ+X5WuZG/A27S5LuBvguyQGcw8A2AZilHSDta9S/4eG6kb22jX87jXTrT6orUkxh2WHI/xvNUEout0gxwWMDkA=="

If you have no .npmrc file then Renovate will create one for you, pointing to the default npmjs registry. If instead you use an alternative registry or need an .npmrc file for some other reason, you should configure it too and substitute the npm token with ${NPM_TOKEN} for it to be replaced. e.g.

  "encrypted": {
    "npmToken": "xxT19RIdhAh09lkhdrK39HzKNBn3etoLZAwHdeJ25cX+5y52a9kAC7flXmdw5JrkciN08aQuRNqDaKxp53IVptB5AYOnQPrt8MCT+x0zHgp4A1zv1QOV84I6uugdWpFSjPUkmLGMgULudEZJMlY/dAn/IVwf/IImqwazY8eHyJAA4vyUqKkL9SXzHjvS+OBonQ/9/AHYYKmDJwT8vLSRCKrXxJCdUfH7ZnikZbFqjnURJ9nGUHP44rlYJ7PFl05RZ+X5WuZG/A27S5LuBvguyQGcw8A2AZilHSDta9S/4eG6kb22jX87jXTrT6orUkxh2WHI/xvNUEout0gxwWMDkA=="
  "npmrc": "registry=https://my.custom.registry/npm\n//my.custom.registry/npm:_authToken=${NPM_TOKEN}"

Renovate will then use the following logic:

  1. If no npmrc string is present in config then one will be created with the _authToken pointing to the default npmjs registry
  2. If an npmrc string is present and contains ${NPM_TOKEN} then that placeholder will be replaced with the decrypted token
  3. If an npmrc string is present but doesn't contain ${NPM_TOKEN} then the file will have _authToken=<token> appended to it

Encrypted entire .npmrc file into config

Copy the entire .npmrc, replace newlines with \n chars, and then try encrypting it at

You will then get an encrypted string that you can substitute into your renovate.json instead. The result will now look something like this:

  "encrypted": {
    "npmrc": "WOTWu+jliBtXYz3CU2eI7dDyMIvSJKS2N5PEHZmLB3XKT3vLaaYTGCU6m92Q9FgdaM/q2wLYun2JrTP4GPaW8eGZ3iiG1cm7lgOR5xPnkCzz0DUmSf6Cc/6geeVeSFdJ0zqlEAhdNMyJ4pUW6iQxC3WJKgM/ADvFtme077Acvc0fhCXv0XvbNSbtUwHF/gD6OJ0r2qlIzUMGJk/eI254xo5SwWVctc1iZS9LW+L0/CKjqhWh4SbyglP3lKE5shg3q7mzWDZepa/nJmAnNmXdoVO2aPPeQCG3BKqCtCfvLUUU/0LvnJ2SbQ1obyzL7vhh2OF/VsATS5cxbHvoX/hxWQ=="

However be aware that if your .npmrc is too long to encrypt then the above command will fail.