Learn How to Properly Install Peer Dependencies in Your npm Projects with These Proven Code Examples to Boost Your Workflow and Development

Table of content

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding Peer Dependencies
  3. Why Peer Dependencies Are Important
  4. Steps to Install Peer Dependencies
  5. Example 1: Installing React Icons as a Peer Dependency
  6. Example 2: Installing React Router as a Peer Dependency
  7. Example 3: Installing Lodash as a Peer Dependency
  8. Conclusion


When building complex JavaScript applications with npm packages, it's common to encounter dependencies that have their own dependencies. In such cases, peer dependencies become necessary. A peer dependency is a specific version of a library that the current package requires to work correctly. It's important to learn how to properly install peer dependencies in your npm projects to boost your workflow and development.

In this article, we'll walk you through what peer dependencies are, why they're important, and how to install them properly. We'll also provide you with some proven code examples to help you get started. Whether you're a seasoned developer or a beginner, this guide will help you understand the ins-and-outs of peer dependencies and how to use them in your projects. Let's get started!

Understanding Peer Dependencies

When building your npm projects, you may come across peer dependencies. These are dependencies that your project needs, but that are not installed automatically by npm. Instead, they must be installed separately by the user. This can cause confusion and errors if not handled properly. To understand peer dependencies, consider the following:

  • What are Peer Dependencies? Peer dependencies are dependencies that are required by your project but are not installed automatically when you install the project's dependencies. Instead, they must be installed separately by the user.

  • Why are Peer Dependencies Important? Peer dependencies are important because they allow your project to use external packages that provide additional functionality, without adding unnecessary dependencies to your project.

  • How do Peer Dependencies Work? Peer dependencies are declared in your project's package.json file. When someone installs your project, npm checks the package.json file to see if any peer dependencies are required. If so, it prompts the user to install them separately.

  • What Happens if Peer Dependencies are Not Installed? If peer dependencies are not installed, your project may not work properly or may even fail to run altogether. It is important to document any required peer dependencies and communicate them clearly to your users.

By and properly managing them in your npm projects, you can improve your workflow and ensure that your code is reliable and functional.

Why Peer Dependencies Are Important

When building an npm package or module for your web project or application, using third-party libraries or dependencies is a normal part of the development process. A package may require dependencies to successfully perform some of its functions, and these dependencies must be installed before the package itself can be used.

However, what happens when two or more dependencies require the same or similar library, but with different versions? This could result in conflict, and your package may not function properly. This is where peer dependencies come in to help.

Peer dependencies define a relationship between a package and a dependency that is already installed in the user's project. It specifies the set of required versions that the package will work with, allowing multiple packages to share a dependency without causing a conflict in the project.

Here are some reasons why you should consider using peer dependencies in your npm projects:

  • Avoid version conflicts – By using peer dependencies, you can ensure that multiple packages that share a dependency will use the correct version without conflicting with each other.
  • Reduce package size – Peer dependencies allow your package to rely on already installed dependencies, which means they don't need to be included in your package bundle. This reduces the size of your package and improves its performance.
  • Improve project maintainability – By using peer dependencies, you can ensure that your project dependencies are correctly installed and specify which version is required. This can prevent unexpected errors from occurring when a new package is installed or updated.

In conclusion, when building an npm package or module, using peer dependencies can help ensure that your package will function as intended and avoid conflicts with other dependencies in the user's project. By clearly specifying which dependencies are required and which versions will work with your package, you can improve the maintainability and performance of your project while reducing the package size.

Steps to Install Peer Dependencies

If you're working with npm packages, you may have come across peer dependencies. These are dependencies that must be installed in the same project as the package you're using. Properly installing peer dependencies can be important for the security and functionality of your project. Here are some steps to properly install peer dependencies:

  1. Identify the peer dependencies: Check the documentation for the package you're using to see if there are any peer dependencies listed. If there are, make a note of them.

  2. Install the package: Install the package as you normally would, using the npm install command. This will install the package itself, but not its peer dependencies.

  3. Install peer dependencies: Use the npm install command again, this time including the names of the peer dependencies listed in the documentation. For example, if the documentation lists react and react-dom as peer dependencies, you would run npm install react react-dom.

  4. Check for errors: After installing the peer dependencies, check for any error messages. If there are any, try running npm install again, or check the documentation for any troubleshooting tips.

By properly installing peer dependencies, you ensure that your project has all the necessary components to function properly. This can prevent issues such as security vulnerabilities, crashes, or missing functionality.

Example 1: Installing React Icons as a Peer Dependency

React Icons is a popular library that provides a wide range of icons for React applications. If you want to use React Icons in your application, you can install it as a peer dependency.

To install React Icons as a peer dependency, you can follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to your project folder in the terminal.

  2. Run the command npm install --save react-icons.

This will install React Icons as a peer dependency. Now, you can import the icons you want to use in your application:

import { FaReact } from 'react-icons/fa';
import { RiGithubFill } from 'react-icons/ri';

When you import the icons, they will be added to your application bundle automatically, and you don't need to install them separately.

One important thing to note is that peer dependencies should be at the same level in your application as the library that uses them. If you install React Icons as a dependency of a library, it won't work as a peer dependency in your application.

By installing React Icons as a peer dependency, you can improve your application's performance by reducing the size of your bundle and preventing the same library from being installed multiple times.

Example 2: Installing React Router as a Peer Dependency

React Router is a popular library for handling navigation in React projects. To use React Router in your project, you can install it as a regular dependency using the following command:

npm install react-router-dom

However, if you're building a library or a component that relies on React Router, it's important to declare it as a peer dependency. This means that you're not including React Router in your package, but instead relying on your users to install it themselves. Here's how to properly install React Router as a peer dependency:

  1. Specify React Router as a peer dependency in your package.json file:
  "name": "my-library",
  "peerDependencies": {
    "react-router-dom": "^5.2.0"

Here, we're indicating that our library requires version 5.2.0 or higher of react-router-dom.

  1. In your documentation and/or README, make sure to clearly state that React Router is a peer dependency and needs to be installed separately.
## Installation

First, install React Router as a peer dependency:

npm install react-router-dom

Then, install `my-library`:

npm install my-library

## Usage

Import `my-library` and use it alongside React Router:

import React from "react";
import { BrowserRouter, Route, Switch } from "react-router-dom";
import { MyComponent } from "my-library";

function App() {
return (


Note that `MyComponent` is provided by `my-library`, but `BrowserRouter`, `Route`, and `Switch` are provided by `react-router-dom`.

By properly declaring React Router as a peer dependency, you're ensuring that your users have the correct version installed and that there are no conflicts with other versions of React Router that may be used in their project.

Example 3: Installing Lodash as a Peer Dependency

Lodash is a popular JavaScript utility library that provides numerous helpful functions to developers. Since it is widely used, it is likely that other packages in your project depend on it. In this example, we'll show you how to install Lodash as a peer dependency in your npm project.

  1. First, let's assume that you have already installed Lodash as a regular dependency in your project. You can verify this by checking your package.json file.

  2. To install Lodash as a peer dependency, you should remove it from your regular dependencies and instead list it as a peer dependency in your package.json file. To do this, open your package.json file and add the following code:

"peerDependencies": {
  "lodash": "4.x",

This code specifies that your project requires Lodash version 4.x as a peer dependency.

  1. After updating your package.json file, run the following command to install your project dependencies, including Lodash as a peer dependency:
npm install
  1. Finally, in your code, you can import Lodash as usual using the following syntax:
import _ from 'lodash';

By installing Lodash as a peer dependency, you ensure that each package in your project uses the same version of Lodash, preventing conflicts between different versions. Additionally, you reduce the size of your project's dependencies since Lodash will not be duplicated across multiple packages.

Overall, installing Lodash as a peer dependency is a best practice that can improve your project's performance and stability.


Properly installing peer dependencies in your npm projects is crucial for the smooth functioning of your application. By following the guidelines and examples we've covered in this guide, you can confidently add dependencies and build your applications without any hassles.

Remember, peer dependencies are different from regular dependencies and must be installed separately, which can be done through the npm install <dependency> command with the --save flag.

You'll also want to ensure that the versions of the dependencies you're installing are compatible with each other, and you'll need to manage it manually.

Lastly, it's essential to regularly update the dependencies in your projects as outdated dependencies can cause security vulnerabilities and performance issues.

By properly installing and managing peer dependencies in your projects, you'll be able to streamline your workflow and enhance your development process. With this guide, you're well-equipped to get started with the latest and greatest tools and libraries in the npm ecosystem.

Cloud Computing and DevOps Engineering have always been my driving passions, energizing me with enthusiasm and a desire to stay at the forefront of technological innovation. I take great pleasure in innovating and devising workarounds for complex problems. Drawing on over 8 years of professional experience in the IT industry, with a focus on Cloud Computing and DevOps Engineering, I have a track record of success in designing and implementing complex infrastructure projects from diverse perspectives, and devising strategies that have significantly increased revenue. I am currently seeking a challenging position where I can leverage my competencies in a professional manner that maximizes productivity and exceeds expectations.
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