LSPs, Linters, Formatters...

If you dont want to deal with any of this yourself, you can use a pre-configured experience, like lazyvim

An explanation of how the current ‘automatic installation’ plugin ecosystem for neovim is laid out.

If you don’t know what LSP is, heres a video

If you want quickstarts for this configuration, see kickstart


These plugins dont install anything for you ‘automatically’, they expect tools/required servers/formatters to already be available on your $PATH (If you opened a terminal and run the command, it should run).

Typically installed with something else like apt, brew, npm or cargo

These are sets of configuration, plugins that setup functionality like ‘I have this LSP server, formatter or linter’ on my system, here is how you run it and parse the output.

  • nvim-lspconfig - ‘go to definition’, hover, rename
  • nvim-lint - linting (language-specific warnings, code style)
  • conform - autoformatting files on save etc.

nvim-lint and nvim-lspconfig use the neovim builtin :help vim.diagnostic, to show errors on the screen

Sidenote: some LSP servers also do have a formatter built in :help vim.lsp.buf.format, conform has options to let you fallback to using the LSP formatter if you don’t have a CLI tool available, but it does not require lsp to format otherwise


  • mason installs linters, LSPs, formatters into a ~/.local/share/nvim/mason.

However, nvim-lspconfig, conform, and nvim-lint don’t know where Mason install things.


So, there are some ‘glue’ plugins, that allow things that are installed by Mason to work with other plugins.

If you don’t use Mason, and just install LSP servers, and formatters manually using npm or something else, you dont need these.

You could choose to use one of these, but not the others.

For example, use :Mason to install LSP servers, and mason-lspconfig to automatically point nvim-lspconfig at where mason installed the servers. And then for conform and nvim-lint, you decide to forgo using :Mason and just install things directly onto your global $PATH, like npm install -g prettier eslint.


Treesitter is sort of adjacent/outside this plugin ecosystem, but nvim-treesitter gives you syntax highlighting, and can enable things like incremental selection, heres a video that explains that. Also see :help lsp-vs-treesitter