Running Node-RED as a service, under a different user, on boot, on a server

Hello! For a very long time I kept having random hardfreezing, sometimes while I sleep, sometimes while I'm working, sometimes at login, sometimes it's up for days. I used different linux distros, debian and arch, I replaced every part of the computer until now I am down to one and the cause is clear. It's a broken old video card and XSERVER crashes.

Someone told me I could run Node-RED under a different user, on boot, so if my user session crashes, Node-RED would keep working.

What do you think about this? I am a bit overwhelmed by stress those days and there are clients counting on my service.

Can I be guided into doing this right?

If you are using a Debian based OS such as Ubuntu then the recommended Debian/Ubuntu/Pi install script installs systemd scripts for running at boot. You don't need to run it as a different user, just not running in the xserver session.

It's an arch based system, unfortunately.

In that case you will need to look up how to run things from root in Arch.

Depending on what you are using this server and node-red for, if you need reasonable security, you should most certainly NOT run Node-RED as root. Doing so is not only less secure but is likely to cause other operational issues.

Instead, create a user and group specifically for running Node-RED and adjust the startup script to use that user. Also make sure that the userDir folder is owned by the node-red user/group. Obviously, you need to make sure that the node-red user and/or group has access to whatever resources you want accessible from Node-RED (e.g. serial port, etc). You can then also make sure that the node-red user has no login rights so that the account can't be misused that way.

I succeeded running it as a service in the following way:

(NAME and USER are replaced with correct values)



I was getting Error: ENOENT: no such file or directory errors but I fixed it by running my script from inside the ~/.node-red folder, which I didn't at first.

I don't think "WorkingDirectory" matters but I was trying to fix the error which didn't work by adding it.

@TotallyInformation Thank you for the detailed information, that is what I was recommended to do, you also added some more things to be careful about. Right now I tried doing what @Colin said and just run it as a service, I'll see at the next hard freeze (xserver crash) if node-red keeps working and post an update.

If you look in my GitHub, you will find a repo called alternate installer which has a complete systemd service definition example script. That has some possibly nice extras such as environment variables from a file and some sensible service dependencies.

That was google helpfully interpreting my input on my phone. I meant boot of course, which is what the question is about. Definitely don't run node-red as root.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.