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Configuration#

You can change n8n's settings using environment variables. For a full list of available configurations see Environment Variables.

Set environment variables by command line#

npm#

For npm, set your desired environment variables in terminal using the export command as shown below:

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export <variable>=<value>

Docker#

In Docker you can use the -e flag from the command line:

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docker run -it --rm \
 --name n8n \
 -p 5678:5678 \
 -e N8N_TEMPLATES_ENABLED="false" \
 docker.n8n.io/n8nio/n8n

Set environment variables using a file#

You can also configure n8n using a configuration file.

Only define the values that need to be different from the default in your configuration file. You can use multiple files. For example, you can have a file with generic base settings, and files with specific values for different environments.

npm#

Set the path to the JSON configuration file using the environment variable N8N_CONFIG_FILES:

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# Bash - Single file
export N8N_CONFIG_FILES=/<path-to-config>/my-config.json
# Bash - Multiple files are comma-separated
export N8N_CONFIG_FILES=/<path-to-config>/my-config.json,/<path-to-config>/production.json

# PowerShell - Single file, persist for current user
# Note that setting scope (Process, User, Machine) has no effect on Unix systems
[Environment]::SetEnvironmentVariable('N8N_CONFIG_FILES', '<path-to-config>\config.json', 'User')

Example file:

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{
 "executions": {
  "saveDataOnSuccess": "none"
 },
 "generic": {
  "timezone": "Europe/Berlin"
 },
 "nodes": {
  "exclude": "[\"n8n-nodes-base.executeCommand\",\"n8n-nodes-base.writeBinaryFile\"]"
 }
}

Formatting as JSON

You can't always work out the correct JSON from the Environment variables reference. For example, to set N8N_METRICS to true, you need to do:

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{
	"endpoints": {
		"metrics": {
			"enable": true
		}
	}
}

Refer to the Schema file in the source code for full details of the expected settings.

Docker#

In Docker, you can set your environment variables in the n8n: environment: element of your docker-compose.yaml file.

For example:

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n8n:
    environment:
      - N8N_TEMPLATES_ENABLED=false

Keeping sensitive data in separate files#

You can append _FILE to some individual environment variables to provide their configuration in a separate file, enabling you to avoid passing sensitive details using environment variables. n8n loads the data from the file with the given name, making it possible to load data from Docker-Secrets and Kubernetes-Secrets.

The following environment variables support file input:

  • CREDENTIALS_OVERWRITE_DATA_FILE
  • DB_TYPE_FILE
  • DB_POSTGRESDB_DATABASE_FILE
  • DB_POSTGRESDB_HOST_FILE
  • DB_POSTGRESDB_PASSWORD_FILE
  • DB_POSTGRESDB_PORT_FILE
  • DB_POSTGRESDB_SSL_CA_FILE
  • DB_POSTGRESDB_SSL_CERT_FILE
  • DB_POSTGRESDB_SSL_KEY_FILE
  • DB_POSTGRESDB_SSL_REJECT_UNAUTHORIZED_FILE
  • DB_POSTGRESDB_USER_FILE
  • DB_POSTGRESDB_SCHEMA_FILE

Examples#

Base URL#

Requires manual UI build

This variable requires a manual build of the n8n-editor-ui package. You can't use it with the default n8n Docker image. The default is /, meaning that it uses the root-domain.

Tells the front end how to reach the REST API of the back end:

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export VUE_APP_URL_BASE_API=https://n8n.example.com/

Encryption key#

n8n creates a random encryption key automatically on the first launch and saves it in the ~/.n8n folder. n8n uses that key to encrypt the credentials before they get saved to the database. If the key isn't yet in the settings file, you can set it using an environment variable, so that n8n uses your custom key instead of generating a new one.

In queue mode, you must specify the encryption key environment variable for all workers.

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export N8N_ENCRYPTION_KEY=<SOME RANDOM STRING>

Execution timeout#

A workflow times out and gets canceled after this time (in seconds). If the workflow runs in the main process, a soft timeout happens (takes effect after the current node finishes). If a workflow runs in its own process, n8n attempts a soft timeout first, then kills the process after waiting for an additional fifth of the given timeout duration.

EXECUTIONS_TIMEOUT default is -1. For example, if you want to set the timeout to one hour:

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export EXECUTIONS_TIMEOUT=3600

You can also set maximum execution time (in seconds) for each workflow individually. For example, if you want to set maximum execution time to two hours:

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export EXECUTIONS_TIMEOUT_MAX=7200

Custom nodes location#

Every user can add custom nodes that get loaded by n8n on startup. The default location is in the subfolder .n8n/custom of the user who started n8n.

You can define more folders with an environment variable:

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export N8N_CUSTOM_EXTENSIONS="/home/jim/n8n/custom-nodes;/data/n8n/nodes"

Use built-in and external modules in the Code node#

For security reasons, the Code node restricts importing modules. It's possible to lift that restriction for built-in and external modules by setting the following environment variables:

  • NODE_FUNCTION_ALLOW_BUILTIN: For built-in modules
  • NODE_FUNCTION_ALLOW_EXTERNAL: For external modules sourced from n8n/node_modules directory. External module support is disabled when an environment variable isn't set.
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# Allows usage of all builtin modules
export NODE_FUNCTION_ALLOW_BUILTIN=*

# Allows usage of only crypto
export NODE_FUNCTION_ALLOW_BUILTIN=crypto

# Allows usage of only crypto and fs
export NODE_FUNCTION_ALLOW_BUILTIN=crypto,fs

# Allow usage of external npm modules.
export NODE_FUNCTION_ALLOW_EXTERNAL=moment,lodash

Timezone#

The default timezone is America/New_York. For instance, the Schedule node uses it to know at what time the workflow should start. To set a different default timezone, set GENERIC_TIMEZONE to the appropriate value. For example, if you want to set the timezone to Berlin (Germany):

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export GENERIC_TIMEZONE=Europe/Berlin

You can find the name of your timezone here.

User folder#

n8n saves user-specific data like the encryption key, SQLite database file, and the ID of the tunnel (if used) in the subfolder .n8n of the user who started n8n. It's possible to overwrite the user-folder using an environment variable.

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export N8N_USER_FOLDER=/home/jim/n8n

Webhook URL#

n8n creates the webhook URL by combining N8N_PROTOCOL, N8N_HOST and N8N_PORT. If n8n runs behind a reverse proxy, that won't work. That's because n8n runs internally on port 5678 but is exposed to the web using the reverse proxy on port 443. In that case, it's important to set the webhook URL manually so that n8n can display it in the Editor UI and register the correct webhook URLs with external services.

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export WEBHOOK_URL=https://n8n.example.com/

Prometheus#

Experimental

Prometheus metrics are an experimental feature.

To collect and expose metrics, n8n uses the prom-client library.

The /metrics endpoint is disabled by default, but it's possible to enable it using the N8N_METRICS environment variable.

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export N8N_METRICS=true

Refer to the respective Environment Variables (N8N_METRICS_INCLUDE_*) for configuring which metrics and labels should get exposed.