The semantic versioner for npm

Table of contents


npm install --save semver


As a node module:

const semver = require('semver')

semver.valid('1.2.3') // '1.2.3'
semver.valid('a.b.c') // null
semver.clean('  =v1.2.3   ') // '1.2.3'
semver.satisfies('1.2.3', '1.x || >=2.5.0 || 5.0.0 - 7.2.3') // true'1.2.3', '9.8.7') // false'1.2.3', '9.8.7') // true
semver.minVersion('>=1.0.0') // '1.0.0'
semver.valid(semver.coerce('v2')) // '2.0.0'
semver.valid(semver.coerce('')) // '42.6.7'

As a command-line utility:

$ semver -h

A JavaScript implementation of the specification
Copyright Isaac Z. Schlueter

Usage: semver [options] <version> [<version> [...]]
Prints valid versions sorted by SemVer precedence

-r --range <range>
        Print versions that match the specified range.

-i --increment [<level>]
        Increment a version by the specified level.  Level can
        be one of: major, minor, patch, premajor, preminor,
        prepatch, or prerelease.  Default level is 'patch'.
        Only one version may be specified.

--preid <identifier>
        Identifier to be used to prefix premajor, preminor,
        prepatch or prerelease version increments.

-l --loose
        Interpret versions and ranges loosely

-p --include-prerelease
        Always include prerelease versions in range matching

-c --coerce
        Coerce a string into SemVer if possible
        (does not imply --loose)

Program exits successfully if any valid version satisfies
all supplied ranges, and prints all satisfying versions.

If no satisfying versions are found, then exits failure.

Versions are printed in ascending order, so supplying
multiple versions to the utility will just sort them.


A “version” is described by the v2.0.0 specification found at

A leading "=" or "v" character is stripped off and ignored.


A version range is a set of comparators which specify versions that satisfy the range.

A comparator is composed of an operator and a version. The set of primitive operators is:

For example, the comparator >=1.2.7 would match the versions 1.2.7, 1.2.8, 2.5.3, and 1.3.9, but not the versions 1.2.6 or 1.1.0.

Comparators can be joined by whitespace to form a comparator set, which is satisfied by the intersection of all of the comparators it includes.

A range is composed of one or more comparator sets, joined by ||. A version matches a range if and only if every comparator in at least one of the ||-separated comparator sets is satisfied by the version.

For example, the range >=1.2.7 <1.3.0 would match the versions 1.2.7, 1.2.8, and 1.2.99, but not the versions 1.2.6, 1.3.0, or 1.1.0.

The range 1.2.7 || >=1.2.9 <2.0.0 would match the versions 1.2.7, 1.2.9, and 1.4.6, but not the versions 1.2.8 or 2.0.0.

Prerelease Tags

If a version has a prerelease tag (for example, 1.2.3-alpha.3) then it will only be allowed to satisfy comparator sets if at least one comparator with the same [major, minor, patch] tuple also has a prerelease tag.

For example, the range >1.2.3-alpha.3 would be allowed to match the version 1.2.3-alpha.7, but it would not be satisfied by 3.4.5-alpha.9, even though 3.4.5-alpha.9 is technically “greater than” 1.2.3-alpha.3 according to the SemVer sort rules. The version range only accepts prerelease tags on the 1.2.3 version. The version 3.4.5 would satisfy the range, because it does not have a prerelease flag, and 3.4.5 is greater than 1.2.3-alpha.7.

The purpose for this behavior is twofold. First, prerelease versions frequently are updated very quickly, and contain many breaking changes that are (by the author’s design) not yet fit for public consumption. Therefore, by default, they are excluded from range matching semantics.

Second, a user who has opted into using a prerelease version has clearly indicated the intent to use that specific set of alpha/beta/rc versions. By including a prerelease tag in the range, the user is indicating that they are aware of the risk. However, it is still not appropriate to assume that they have opted into taking a similar risk on the next set of prerelease versions.

Note that this behavior can be suppressed (treating all prerelease versions as if they were normal versions, for the purpose of range matching) by setting the includePrerelease flag on the options object to any functions that do range matching.

Prerelease Identifiers

The method .inc takes an additional identifier string argument that will append the value of the string as a prerelease identifier:'1.2.3', 'prerelease', 'beta')
// '1.2.4-beta.0'

command-line example:

$ semver 1.2.3 -i prerelease --preid beta

Which then can be used to increment further:

$ semver 1.2.4-beta.0 -i prerelease

Advanced Range Syntax

Advanced range syntax desugars to primitive comparators in deterministic ways.

Advanced ranges may be combined in the same way as primitive comparators using white space or ||.

Hyphen Ranges X.Y.Z - A.B.C

Specifies an inclusive set.

If a partial version is provided as the first version in the inclusive range, then the missing pieces are replaced with zeroes.

If a partial version is provided as the second version in the inclusive range, then all versions that start with the supplied parts of the tuple are accepted, but nothing that would be greater than the provided tuple parts.

X-Ranges 1.2.x 1.X 1.2.* *

Any of X, x, or * may be used to “stand in” for one of the numeric values in the [major, minor, patch] tuple.

A partial version range is treated as an X-Range, so the special character is in fact optional.

Tilde Ranges ~1.2.3 ~1.2 ~1

Allows patch-level changes if a minor version is specified on the comparator. Allows minor-level changes if not.

Caret Ranges ^1.2.3 ^0.2.5 ^0.0.4

Allows changes that do not modify the left-most non-zero digit in the [major, minor, patch] tuple. In other words, this allows patch and minor updates for versions 1.0.0 and above, patch updates for versions 0.X >=0.1.0, and no updates for versions 0.0.X.

Many authors treat a 0.x version as if the x were the major “breaking-change” indicator.

Caret ranges are ideal when an author may make breaking changes between 0.2.4 and 0.3.0 releases, which is a common practice. However, it presumes that there will not be breaking changes between 0.2.4 and 0.2.5. It allows for changes that are presumed to be additive (but non-breaking), according to commonly observed practices.

When parsing caret ranges, a missing patch value desugars to the number 0, but will allow flexibility within that value, even if the major and minor versions are both 0.

A missing minor and patch values will desugar to zero, but also allow flexibility within those values, even if the major version is zero.

Range Grammar

Putting all this together, here is a Backus-Naur grammar for ranges, for the benefit of parser authors:

range-set  ::= range ( logical-or range ) *
logical-or ::= ( ' ' ) * '||' ( ' ' ) *
range      ::= hyphen | simple ( ' ' simple ) * | ''
hyphen     ::= partial ' - ' partial
simple     ::= primitive | partial | tilde | caret
primitive  ::= ( '<' | '>' | '>=' | '<=' | '=' ) partial
partial    ::= xr ( '.' xr ( '.' xr qualifier ? )? )?
xr         ::= 'x' | 'X' | '*' | nr
nr         ::= '0' | ['1'-'9'] ( ['0'-'9'] ) *
tilde      ::= '~' partial
caret      ::= '^' partial
qualifier  ::= ( '-' pre )? ( '+' build )?
pre        ::= parts
build      ::= parts
parts      ::= part ( '.' part ) *
part       ::= nr | [-0-9A-Za-z]+


All methods and classes take a final options object argument. All options in this object are false by default. The options supported are:

Strict-mode Comparators and Ranges will be strict about the SemVer strings that they parse.




Note that, since ranges may be non-contiguous, a version might not be greater than a range, less than a range, or satisfy a range! For example, the range 1.2 <1.2.9 || >2.0.0 would have a hole from 1.2.9 until 2.0.0, so the version 1.2.10 would not be greater than the range (because 2.0.1 satisfies, which is higher), nor less than the range (since 1.2.8 satisfies, which is lower), and it also does not satisfy the range.

If you want to know if a version satisfies or does not satisfy a range, use the satisfies(version, range) function.


This aims to provide a very forgiving translation of a non-semver string to semver. It looks for the first digit in a string, and consumes all remaining characters which satisfy at least a partial semver (e.g., 1, 1.2, 1.2.3) up to the max permitted length (256 characters). Longer versions are simply truncated ( becomes 4.6.3). All surrounding text is simply ignored (v3.4 replaces v3.3.1 becomes 3.4.0). Only text which lacks digits will fail coercion (version one is not valid). The maximum length for any semver component considered for coercion is 16 characters; longer components will be ignored (10000000000000000.4.7.4 becomes 4.7.4). The maximum value for any semver component is Number.MAX_SAFE_INTEGER || (2**53 - 1); higher value components are invalid (9999999999999999.4.7.4 is likely invalid).