There are several methods to install and manage packages for Emacs:

  • package.el
  • el-get
  • use-package

What is the easiest way to install package? It seems package.el ships with the default Emacs installation.

I tried use-package, each time I start Emacs, it will take a few second to contact hosts like melpa...

  • I'm using package.el as it comes with (recent versions of) Emacs. It only contacts repositories when you ask it to, so there's no cost to managing packages this way.
    – user2005
    Dec 23, 2014 at 6:58
  • Package.el is the standard way and here is some help: wikemacs.org/wiki/Package.el el-get is an alternative solution which existed before package.el and can still be complementary sometimes. Use-package is (correct me if I'm wrong) a macro around package.el.
    – Ehvince
    Dec 23, 2014 at 10:17
  • @Dan Thank you. That's highly valuable.
    – Nick
    Dec 23, 2014 at 11:24
  • I'll put in a word for my package manager, straight.el, since I personally prefer it (obviously) to package.el. You can read the extremely verbose documentation to learn about the differences. I won't put this as an answer, since it doesn't answer your question: the standard package manager is package.el, whereas straight.el is almost certainly never going to be shipped with Emacs. Re: @Ehvince I've added functionality to use-package to allow using it with other package managers, including straight.el. Jul 13, 2017 at 3:54

1 Answer 1


Well you've answered your own question: package.el is the standard way to install packages, because it's built into Emacs 24.

Everything else is non-standard (and probably somewhat subjective. I manage most third-party libraries via el-get, personally).

  • you're right. The reason I ask this question is to find out what others use for package management. package.el mess up with the package auto-complete. (Maybe it's not package.el's fault). I tried use-pacakge and el-get, finally satisfied with el-get.
    – Nick
    Dec 23, 2014 at 7:42
  • MELPA and MELPA-Stable are the best for vetted packages. El-Get is the best for things under your vetting.
    – grettke
    Dec 24, 2014 at 3:19
  • @grettke After using different methods/repositories for a while, I begin to realize that your words is really invaluable: concise and to the point. Thank you!
    – Nick
    Dec 27, 2014 at 11:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.