In this section we'll learn all about Laravel, but part of Laravel relies on using NPM. (Node Package Manager) It's one of the key components in bootstrapping your frontend JS and CSS code. To avoid some weird errors that show up when using NPM without Node.js installed, be sure to install Node.js by following the download directions on the Node.js website.
Don't worry. Your production machine doesn't need Node.js; only your development machine does, as you only deploy the compiled versions of your JS and CSS code.
If you don't yet understand anything I just said, you aren't really meant to understand it just yet, as that workflow is what this section is all about! The main thing right now is that you install Node.js.
Use the MSI installer from the downloads page.
Use the PKG installer from the downloads page.
Most Linux systems will have a repository that contains a Node.js package. However, many times those won't be the most recent version, and it's best to get the most recent version from Node.js, or find a repo gets up to date releases for your Linux flavor. The simplest solution is just to get the one from the Node.js downloads page linked to above.
LTS or Current?
The choice is yours! The difference is that LTS stands for "Long-Term Support" which means they'll maintain the release for a longer period of time. The "Current" release is the latest stable release available.
Personally I always go for the latest stable (current) version for everything I use, as I prefer to work with the most up to date tech, but some people would rather use the LTS version for compatibility reasons. If it compiles, you're good, and in our case I'm not really sure that it matters which one you choose.