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Making HTTP Requests#

Programmatic style only

The information in this document is for node building using the programmatic style. It doesn't apply to declarative style nodes.

It's common to call external APIs or make HTTP requests to other services from a node.

This plays a major role during node development, maintenance, and improvements.

n8n provides a flexible helper for making HTTP requests, which abstracts away most of the complexity.

How to use#

Call the helper inside the execute function:

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const response = await this.helpers.httpRequest(options);

Where options is an object in this format:

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{
    url: string;
    headers?: object;
    method?: 'GET' | 'POST' | 'PUT' | 'DELETE' | 'HEAD';
    body?: FormData | Array | string | number | object | Buffer | URLSearchParams;
    qs?: object;
    arrayFormat?: 'indices' | 'brackets' | 'repeat' | 'comma';
    auth?: {
        username: string,
        password: string,
    };
    disableFollowRedirect?: boolean;
    encoding?: 'arraybuffer' | 'blob' | 'document' | 'json' | 'text' | 'stream';
    skipSslCertificateValidation?: boolean;
    returnFullResponse?: boolean;
    proxy?: {
        host: string;
        port: string | number;
        auth?: {
            username: string;
            password: string;
        },
        protocol?: string;
    };
    timeout?: number;
    json?: boolean;
}   

url is required. The other fields are optional. The default method is GET.

Some notes about the possible fields:

  • body: you can use a regular JavaScript object for JSON payload, a buffer for file uploads, an instance of FormData for multipart/form-data, and URLSearchParams for application/x-www-form-urlencoded.
  • headers: a key-value pair.
    • If body is an instance of FormData then n8n adds content-type: multipart/form-data automatically.
    • If body is an instance of URLSearchParams, then n8n adds content-type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded.
    • To override this behavior, set a content-type header.
  • arrayFormat: if your query string contains an array of data, such as const qs = {IDs: [15,17]}, the value of arrayFormat defines how n8n formats it.
    • indices (default): { a: ['b', 'c'] } as a[0]=b&a[1]=c
    • brackets: { a: ['b', 'c'] } as a[]=b&a[]=c
    • repeat: { a: ['b', 'c'] } as a=b&a=c
    • comma: { a: ['b', 'c'] } as a=b,c
  • auth: Used for Basic auth. Provide username and password.
  • disableFollowRedirect: By default, n8n follows redirects. You can set this to true to prevent this from happening.
  • skipSslCertificateValidation: Used for calling HTTPS services without proper certificate
  • returnFullResponse: Instead of returning just the body, returns an object with more data in the following format: {body: body, headers: object, statusCode: 200, statusMessage: 'OK'}
  • encoding: n8n can detect the content type, but you can specify arrayBuffer to receive a Buffer you can read from and interact with.

Deprecation of the previous helper#

The previous helper implementation using this.helpers.request(options) used and exposed the request-promise library. Now deprecated.

To minimize incompatibility, n8n made a transparent conversion to another library called axios.

If you are having issues, please report them in the Community Forums or on GitHub.

Also, you can temporarily enable n8n to use the deprecated library by setting the environment variable N8N_USE_DEPRECATED_REQUEST_LIB=true.

Please note: This behavior is permanent. n8n will remove the request-promise library entirely in the future.

Migration guide to the new helper#

The new helper is much more robust, library agnostic, and easier to use.

New nodes should all use the new helper. You should strongly consider migrating existing custom nodes to the new helper. Here are the main considerations when migrating:

  • Accepts url. Doesn't accept uri.
  • encoding: null now must be encoding: arrayBuffer.
  • rejectUnauthorized: false is now skipSslCertificateValidation: true
  • Use body according to content-type headers to clarify the payload.
  • resolveWithFullResponse is now returnFullResponse and has similar behavior

Example#

For an example, please check the Mattermost node.