Introduction to Node Red

node-red-iconWhat is Node Red? –Node red is a flow based tool and IOT Dashboard developed by IBM and written in Node.js.It is an Open Source project

Node red lets you easily create program flows by joining together black box functions (nodes) using a web interface.

Node-Red Basic Course

To get you started I’ve created a basic course designed for complete beginners. The course introduces users to the node-red admin interface and basic flows and consists of a collection of tutorials and videos.

The Node-Red Command Console

This is the command console used to start node-red.

It displays useful information such as the admin port, current flow directory and also output from the node.log function used in node functions.



By default node-red installs completely opan and you can access the admin interface and create and deploy flows without having to login.

However you can secure node red by requiring username/password authentication and also SSL.

See –Securing Node-Red with SSL and Username Authentication

Node Red Demo Videos


Beginners Guide to Node Red Inject and Debug Nodes

Read and Write Data for a File In Node-Red

Node Red Dashboard Basics

The Node-Red Message Object for Beginners

Using the Node-Red Function Node- Beginners Guide

How to Store Data In Node Red Variables

How to Copy Nodes and Flows in Node-Red

Create a Node Red Basic Flow – MQTT Subscribe Example

Node-Red and MQTT

How to Log MQTT Sensor Data in Node-Red

How to Create a Node-Red MQTT Dashboard

Publish JSON Data over MQTT with Node-RedMQTT Publish and Subscribe Using Node RedReceive JSON Data Over MQTT with Node-Red

Summary Of Terms

Note: These are the terms and meanings used in this tutorial.

Workspace – Contains all of your flows

Flow – A collection of nodes and wires

Flow Canvas – The Flow Edit screen

Node – A packaged JavaScript function with data.

Wire– A connection between nodes.


Other Node-Red Tutorials

Related Tutorials



  1. Hello,
    You can disable the flow by going to Menu>Flows>Rename. In this window change the Status from Enabled to Disabled. This applies to a single flow.

  2. Hi Steve, you say that you need to update npm – this is incorrect and can be very damaging. You should use the version of npm that comes with the version of Node.JS you have installed. Other versions may not work in the same way and may cause issues with installed modules.

  3. Hello. I’m not keen to join a Google group to post my newbie questions, and found your Oct 3 YT video with link here… First, I don’t have a smartphone (SP), and don’t see getting one any time soon. Seems the SP is all the rage with IoT/Home Automation – which directly leads to Node-Red/MQTT etc. I would consider getting a SP if it was ONLY for IoT/HA around my property (and not for any phone communication). Might you know if this is workable? If not, I’m guessing there’d be a way to use a hand-held sort of esp8266/esp32 to act in place of a SP – do you think that’s viable? Appreciated.

    1. If you are primarily interested in Home automation then Amazon echo devices are likely to become more popular than smart phone apps. I don’t use my smart phone very much and although currently most smart devices are designed to work with a smart phone/tablet I don’t think that is going to be the future.
      You can use any computer to interface with node red. I’m not that familiar with the esp devices but if they are like the Raspberry Pi then you should be OK.

      1. The ESP8266 & ESP32 are microprocessors and not single board computers (like the Pi). The are programmed at a low level, typically using C++. They are similar to the popular Arduino but have embedded Wi-Fi. As such they will not run Node.JS and so cannot run Node-RED.

        They are very commonly used in DIY home automation though because of their low cost. Also, they do have MQTT client libraries available (there is even an example MQTT broker library!) and so can publish data direct to a broker.

    2. Hi rjm, if you are into Slack, there is also a Node-RED Slack group. Node-RED uses Node.JS which will not run on the heavily constrained microprocessors you mention. However, you could use them to post direct to MQTT – there are direct MQTT mobile clients you could use to consume the data.

      However, the cost of a small single-board computer such as a Raspberry Pi is tiny and these are more than enough to run multiple services. For example, on my own HA setup I run Node-RED, Mosquitto, InfluxDB, Telegraf & Graphana easily on a single Pi 2. Node-RED can then be used to create Dashboards that will work on your SP.

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