Installing n8n on a Chromebook

Sometimes an accident can lead to a new discovery! That's exactly what happened that allows you to now install n8n on inexpensive Chromebooks!

While trying to figure out how to get the Arduino IDE installed on a Chromebook, I accidentally figured out how to install n8n on my Chromebook instead! This is how it's done!

Turn on Linux on your Chromebook

Most Chromebooks have Linux turned off by default. Follow these steps to enable it (taken from the Google documentation):

  1. On your Chromebook, at the bottom right, select the time.
  2. Select Settings and then Advanced and then Developers.
  3. Next to "Linux development environment," select Turn On.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions. Setup can take 10 minutes or more.
  5. A terminal window opens. You have a Debian 10 (Buster) environment.

Update Linux Environment

Next, we need to update the Linux environment. From the terminal window, run the following command:

sudo apt -y update && sudo apt -y upgrade

This will update your environment to the latest versions of all the applications.

Install Required Apps

There are a few applications that are required in order for n8n to properly install and run. You can install them using the following command in the terminal window:

sudo apt -y install build-essential python

Install & Configure NodeJS

Next, we need to install and configure NodeJS. As of this writing, the version of N0deJS required for n8n is 14.x.

Follow these steps.

Set up NodeJS Repository

curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_14.x | sudo -E bash -

Install NodeJS

sudo apt -y install nodejs

Configure Global Environment for NodeJS

cd ~
mkdir ~/.nodejs_global
npm config set prefix ~/.nodejs_global
echo 'export PATH=~/.nodejs_global/bin:$PATH' | tee --append ~/.profile
source ~/.profile

Install n8n

Finally, we are ready to install n8n. Simply enter this command in the terminal window:

npm install n8n -g

This will take a few minutes to complete and you will likely see a number of warnings come up on the screen. You can ignore these warnings as they will not affect how n8n runs.

Wait until the installation completes. You will get a message something like:

n8n@0.156.0
added 924 packages from 897 contributors in 390.725s

The number after n8n@ and the package information will vary depending on your system and the version of n8n that was installed.

Once you see this message, you can then go on to start n8n.

Starting n8n

To start the n8n service, type the following in the command terminal:

n8n

If this is the first time that you are running n8n, this may take a few minutes to start up as it sets the base configuration. n8n is ready when you see the following message:

Editor is now accessible via:
http://localhost:5678/

Accessing the n8n Editor UI

Now, you are ready to start working in n8n. Open up your Chrome web browser and go to http://localhost:5678. This will open up the n8n Editor UI:

n8n Editor UI Running on Chromebook

You can now use n8n as normal!

Shutting Down n8n

Once you are done using n8n and are ready to shut down the application, follow these steps:

  1. In your Chrome browser, close the n8n Editor UI tab
  2. In the terminal windows, press the CTRL and C keys at the same time.

Your instance of n8n is now ended. You can now close the terminal window.

Bringing n8n Back Online

If you want to start working with n8n again, follow these instructions:

  1. Open up a terminal window
  2. Wait for the Linux image to start
  3. Type n8n in the terminal window
  4. Wait for n8n to start up
  5. Open up http://localhost:5678/ in your Chrome web browser

Conclusion

Sometimes you start out to accomplish one thing and end up completing something completely different. That's exactly how I ended up discovering how to install n8n on your Chromebook.

Hope this is helpful for you and enables you to use n8n in yet another environment.

References

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