Making n8n sustainable: paid advanced features

debugging should not be locked away or the api

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Agree that API should not be behind the “enterprise” paywall.

Probably several paid tiers is the way to go. Smaller payment for the tier with API, higher payment for the tier with scaling and advanced debugging.

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For sure it’s very fair. But think there is some of them which would be important to keep free, as an example API. API should be is a common feature for all applications, something like business rule :sweat_smile:.
Adv Debugging once you get good feedback from our application we start to get excited and the feelings for keep the apps up and improving. So, it means that as long as the is running correctly we would love to pay for any other feature that will make easier. For that reason, i thinking any thinking related about Debugging should be free as well.

Thats it. What you all may could do is. For features paid may provides a feel free days acess for each feature. But no only day running like 7 days free. The main target is provide a controll button for active and deactivate each feature and for each activations pressed its gonna take one days less for the free package :package:.

Fell free to ask if it was not too clear.

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an always forever free tier for existing users would be nice who have be great. Charging new enterprise customers is fine

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Hey,

I don’t think Enterprises or companies in general, are really bothered with paying for n8n. Of course, there is a difference between like 50 euros or 200+ euros. And of course, the smaller businesses will have less to spend on things like n8n, but the efficiency the automation brings will show its value fast.
So when features that are mostly aimed at (larger)business use of n8n will be behind a paywall, that should never become an issue.
Then there is the question of what features this would be.
I’ll give my opinion on every example given:

  • Environments
    No brainer I think, no small scale user will be needing this really.

  • Fine-grained access control when sharing workflows/creds
    This depends on what the default functionality will be for this. I can see something like RBAC being a premium feature. But something like sharing workflows directly with other users should be a default feature.

  • Advanced debugging
    This one is tricky, as we all would like advanced debugging. But I think it will only be used by power users anyway, so making it a premium feature seems logical.

  • Audit logging
    No brainer I think, no small scale user will be needing this really.

  • n8n API
    This is where most discussion is based around on this topic. I get what some are saying and I do think we should all have access to it. Even for small scale users, it can be very useful to have the API to do certain things. But is it necessary for those users? I don’t think it really is.
    Maybe some APIs can be open by default and the more advanced API calls should be locked behind the paywall.
    So for example everyone needs to be able to make easy backups but not everyone needs to be able to do actual server management with the API.

  • More scalable n8n
    No brainer I think, no small scale user will be needing this really.
    For example, the n8n setup with multiple workers is already unnecessary for most small to mid-scale users.

This all is of course also dependent on your definition of small/mid/large scale users. :slight_smile:

I was already wondering how n8n would be making enough money to be sustainable after the license changed. So I am happy the team is having discussions about this and they ask the user’s opinion. :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t mind n8n to become paid completely, for example for all companies using it pay like 10 or 20 euros(or more, not sure what would be the best price). This would be negligible for companies using n8n for automation/integration. But you would want them to try it out first so maybe after using it for a few months this paid arrangement should kick in. This would however be hard to enforce of course. and be an administrative nightmare.
This could also be on a “good faith basis”, making it easy for those companies to get invoiced regularly for a subscription for example. Have some tiers where you state the size of the business compared to the contribution that should be made. Maybe a bit naive, but the clients I talk to would probably be willing to contribute in such a way. Because they are for example familiar with Integromat’s pricing and they do see the advantages of the product.
They however sometimes need to pay for someone to, or wait for someone to create the nodes they need, which other platforms like integromat already have. So this needs to be taken into account I think.
I can understand that they wouldn’t be thrilled to pay for the nodes to be created, to be also be paying for the product they are also improving by having the nodes created. (of course when nodes are made public)

There is also a possibility of having some support services. But as of how awesome the community is now, this will not be needed for most users. Just the large scale users that might depend on n8n for their daily operation might want to pay for this, to make sure they are getting the help they need as fast as possible.

To put my opinion in context. I am an independent consultant and love to use n8n for my clients. As I see the value of using it.
The fact that n8n is free is of course one of the selling points of n8n. But this is not the most important one for me. The flexibility and openness of it is the most important selling point. And also the fact that it can be self hosted giving complete control over the data and performance of the system.

Hope my opinion makes sense, if you have any questions please ask.

4 Likes

The whole team and I wanted to thank all who commented and/or filled the survey, for your super helpful and supportive feedback. Is really amazing to see how much you all care and want to help to make n8n long term successful and sustainable!

The comments here and the answers in the survey also gave us great insights into what you all care about and how you feel about the subject generally but also the specifics. So did a little bit more than half of the participants in the survey answer (and far ahead of any other feature) that the API should not be a paid feature. Honestly was that also something I and many people on the team were not sure about either. Because the best action, when you are unsure about something, is to simply ask instead of assuming, was all your feedback very valuable to us.
That is also the reason why we will release the API as a free feature that will give access to credentials, executions, and workflows. The only thing that will be part of the future paid offering, will be the user-related endpoints (creating, reading, updating, deleting n8n users) as they will be mainly needed by larger-scale users in a multi-user setup.
On another high note, the API is almost ready and will be released with the next version today or tomorrow. So you all can start using it very soon.

So thanks again to all of you! I am very excited about the next chapter together with all of you and all the great things we have in store.

We will keep the survey open for a little bit longer just to make sure that even more people have the chance to give input.

Have fun!

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Sorry actually could not make it work for this version (0.180.0). It will be actually released with another version tomorrow.

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often, debugging in free version is CLI and in paid version with a GUI

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I will be happy to pay n8n cloud if the price is not $20, in My country it’s almost the same as $45, i do really love n8n, and i know it need to sustain for the future, but for the solopreneur, im still confused how do i must get the money from client using my backend using n8n. How much i need to charge to my client per month, if i need to pay $20 per month and my market only want $10 max per month :(, i’m not selling n8n to my client, but i use it to automate job from client, etc.
I do really want to create and automate n8n using public API so i could create new workflow for every client that need an automation their product or services.
Please think about this idea, let say there is $5 plan with great limit at least 5k permonth running workflow, i will register each client under my domain and i become your paid user every month per each client rather then self hosting it, because im tired maintain the server even for now i only maintain my server.
But if there is low plan, i could register n8n cloud for every client that ive got so they have their own instance, 10 client = $50 per month, so i dont need to maintain my server anymore.
Please make n8n cloud more affordable, because even it’s marked as no code tools, client need to have or hire developer like me to make it work, and since the license of n8n forbid to sell to client now i self hosted n8n for my self, but the bad news is, every client now in the same instance aka my server, so the workflows is mixed between my own workflow and my client workflow.
Thanks for making n8n but please make it affordable, the more affordable the more people want to try to learn, that’s the point.

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I was afraid one day I was going to see a post like this one, but at the same time it totally makes sense and was expected. Revenue (in any of its forms) is the way projects stay afloat and I definitely want n8n to stay afloat.

Besides what has been already shared regarding the API (I agree that the API should remain open. API’s lets us create and develop things, ideas, experiences, having it behind a paywall will kill a lot of creative projects that could be built with n8n and end up harming more than helping by losing all that creativity)

Besides that, my 2 cents on this subject would be to have different pricing for different users around the world similar to what Adobe, Netflix and others do. For example, I pay $57 for my Adobe subscription and some people that work with me from different countries pay $15 for the same plan.

I know it would be super hard for them to be able to pay $60/mo so finding a way to incorporate users from different economies around the world should be taken into account.

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Pricing always triggers anxiety with people and its fully understandable, with the economy as it is.

For me the last thing i need is another subscription to pay, unless there is some other way to use the tool to pay for itself via making some money as i am not a business just an individual using it.

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My company supports open source software in libraries. Our general approach is that we use and contribute to the community versions, and do our best not to fork the code (and when we do, we put it on our GitHub).

For us, the ‘secret sauce’ (aside from our passionate commitment to stellar service) is mostly our internal deployment and infrastructure support scripting, which allows us to host at scale. There is nothing in this tooling that couldn’t be manually done by anyone else, but the orchestration and automation let’s us focus our time on service.

If possible, I would recommend/request that any paid enhanced features of a hosted N8N be done in a similar way… where hosted N8N ‘connects the dots’ in a meaningful way that benefits paid customers. Anyone else could host and configure the system to do the same thing (but not as a for-profit service, without a license), but it would be an ‘exercise left to reader’ kind of task. Is it worth it to re-engineer audit logging, for example? That’s a question for the institution to ask themselves.

Phrased another way, I hope that implementing certain functionality wouldn’t be blocked for un-paid users; it would just be a project for them to undertake locally instead getting it ‘out of the box’.

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I strongly believe that debugging should be free. Making things work - is the first thing. If things doesn’t work or make them work is problematic, I won’t have a thing to earn/save money on, nothing to pay from.

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Just a random idea, might be no good and definitely in the short term does not make money but here it goes anyway.

You already have some courses. But what if there were some more courses designed for younger education, high school, college etc and you had a free education tier on n8n.cloud
Chat with some teachers and get a quick 10 hour course curriculum made up for them to give to students.
Get em in young!

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Paid ideas:

  1. 24/7 live response priority support for a monthly fee

  2. Marketplace of paid n8n flows where n8n power users can sell templates (n8n takes a commission, naturally)

  3. Selling guest post space for new SaaS tools that would like to write articles in an n8n blog as a way to promote their service & also drive SEO juice to their tools

  4. White-label n8n plans for resellers to promote n8n as an add-on tool for their customers (the whitelabel agency market is enormous - I know this firsthand as my clients are agencies)

  5. Enterprise deals with uptime guarantees and SLAs that can allow for massive deployments / self-hosted deployments of n8n (for self hosted we’re talking kubernetes, grafana, the works) - these deals could be worth millions to the right customer

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Hello Jan, how u doing ? I talked to u in your first beta,we talk too much about the n8n future. You show me your another system ( Fish ).

I think you can get good idead from the GlideApp Platform to monetize n8n.

  • Price for number of RETURN ROWS ( 500 for free, 25.000, 50.000 ) in all Database Nodes

  • Whitelabel Logo on Platform ( Add Enterprise LOGO, Change Colors )

  • Enterprise ( Remove n8n Logo )

  • Number of Tunnels

  • Single Sign On Options ( OAuth ) to access the self-hosted version

  • CUSTOM Domains for WebHooks or the Platform

Hey im looking for a job too ! :smiley:

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This is the sort of thing that would cause me to drop the platform completely, or download and use a really old version and never update it. Not having to pay per iteration or result number, is the main reason I migrated my flows to n8n instead of other pay per iteration or pay per item platforms.

Payment should really stick to the cloud version for iterations or results, not the self hosted version, or for clear enterprise features across the board.

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Saw this didn’t get a direct reply. Just wanted to say @Ian_Walls that whatever paid functionality we release; we would not expend effort to prevent users from rolling their own functionality (as you mentioned, at their own risk + time).

With all the awesome stuff on the roadmap, I can’t imagine working on ways to limit the community’s creativity in lieu of shipping something actually useful. One of the coolest things about the n8n community is how y’all tweak and extend our loving automation tool and we would not want to extinguish that flame :slight_smile:

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I would love to help n8n develop further.

There is nothing to be said against paid add-ons. n8n should also be further developed in its own interest and that costs money.

Apart from paid add-ons: What if n8n is (additionally) financed by crowdfunding like?

I would like to participate in the financing. But a pure paid variant (monthly fees) would not be profitable for me. But I would have no problem with an occasional donation, possibly dedicated for certain features or updates.

Surely you could call Berlin and ask how I can give you my money. But if you point to a simple donation option on the website, GitHub, frontend would certainly participate more.

Even if I find the annual donation calls of Wikipedia simply intrusive (1/3 of the page is covered with it), this would also be a way to point users to the need for funding. A simply banner with “We have 300k from 1 Mio for next year. Can you help us?” would be fine with me. Like the notification for new updates.

If the donations go well, you could leave n8n as a completely free version and not have to worry about what to pay for and what not.

There have been many examples of successful and not so successful open source projects that have passed the rubicon of sustainability.

Successful: WordPress

The business model is basically splitting .org from .com. WordPress.com includes a custom version hosted and charged for similar to n8n cloud. It is a fork no doubt but benefits greatly from the open source self hosted .org. The .com offers unique UI features, custom domains, enterprise VIP support, high end consulting and most importantly a hosted cloud version priced at various feature tiers. It’s a win win. Sounds familiar? The company behind WordPress, Automattic, is absolutely huge now and benefits greatly from this dual nature. It is a model for all open source projects that want to succeed and grow.

Not so successful: MovableType

This was the first real blogging cms platform that should have been the best. It preceded WordPress by years and was technically superior. It had a decent community until a decision was made to limit the license and creates all sorts of confusion and uncertainty around what the open source license lets you do. There is some history here and the technical nature of the platform was not nearly as important as the licensing for MovableType.

In short, it is not as much the technical differences that matter, but what the license of the open source model lets you do. Clarity is crucial. Not waffling on changes to the license is important too. Try GPL for open source and commercialize a fork of the open source with value added features, consulting and premium hosting/scaling. But keep the base project alive and don’t limit the innovation on the core project. The timing and decisions are important. There will be other open source automation platforms coming. The license and the vitality of the ecosystem is what matters.

Pro tip: WordPress self hosted has one click installs for every host on the planet. It’s like how the hosts get people to buy their hosting. Easy WordPress spin up.

Connect the dots with as many VPS hosts as possible to spin up n8n quickly with one click installs at DigitalOcean, IONOS etc etc. Making it easy to get n8n up and running will be huge for adoption in the long run. You can commercialize like this because the hosts will get new customers who want to run n8n for themselves and their clients.

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