How fast is n8n for back-end?

Hi there! Is n8n suitable for immediate response? Suppose on my website a user clicks a button, and n8n is supposed to do something like this:

  • send several GET HTTP-requests to a Database (llet’s say, for several Airttable tables to suck and match related databases)
  • process the data using some user-specific data (use some Set, Function, logical nodes)
  • return the data to the user via some other HTTP-request

Observing how nodes are being executioned, it might takes seconds to get, process and send daya node by bode. At the same time, triggers and webhooking to Discord work almost insantly.

So what timing should I excpect for these backend operations? Will it count in milliseconds or seconds?

This is one of those tricky questions where is no solid answer. The more nodes you have the longer it will take but also the amount of data you are processing and what you are connecting to.

So you would have your hardware speed, the time it takes to connect to the services being used by the nodes, the time it takes to process that data then then the network speed to and a from your N8N host.

I would say seconds is a safer bet and most of the time it will probably be on the lower end of the scale but it could change. It is always worth testing what you are doing so you can have a rough baseline to work from.

I am not sure if this gives you the answer you want but it might help with your planning.

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So yeah, building interface interaction based on n8n workflows might be risky in terms of time. I guess n8n shouldn’t be used in front-end interactions. Pure frontend JS would work many times faster.

Agree with everything @jon wrote. Generally will not n8n itself be the thing that gonna slow down your request, it will be the service you connect to. So best to do some speed tests and then choose the fastest services.
If you would use the same services with regular code it will not be much faster. So if you need fast access to data a local postgres database will be the fastest option with n8n and with code.
If you do that, you can you also use n8n without a problem for your frontend needs as n8n itself is incredible fast.

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Thank you. I see that it is some nodes like Airtable that are slowing the process, probably becaiuse of rate linit issues. I got it.