Run your own automation with N8N and Digital Ocean

Why run your own automations platform

Like with hyperscalers (AWS, Azure), hosted automation platforms can become expensive depending on a few factors:

  • for what scenarios you use it;
  • how many executions you need.

Which automation platforms do we use?

Self hosting N8N

We have discovered that automation tools that charge by operations can become expensive fast. Take for example the scenario that you need to parse a JSON file and add all “records” found to a database. This eats a lot of operations. Another sample is using an automation platform as a kind of rule engine for sensor data. This can easily get out of control because sensors can post a lot of changes.

In these cases self hosted N8N can be interesting.

I’m not an infrastructure expert but setting up N8N on for example Digital Ocean is straightforward and pretty easy. Of course, for a stable high availability solution this basic setup isn’t good enough.

What do you need?

You need the following things:

  • 1-3 hours of your time;
  • a Digital Ocean account;
  • a domain.

We have a referral link for Digital Ocean which you can use. We plants trees for part of the referral money we earn.

Digital Ocean gives you $200 credit for the coming 60 days, pretty good deal if you ask me.


DigitalOcean Referral Badge

There is a great tutorial available on the N8N site and we didn’t want to rewrite that one.  A link will follow at the end of this post.

Basically what you need to do is:

  • setup a droplet on Digital Ocean;
  • lgin to droplet;
  • clone a repository;
  • setup DNS;
  • open ports;
  • start configuring N8N.

We advise you to use the Digital Ocean console if you are not so familiair with other tools.

Check the tutorial for N8N.

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