How to automatically update n8n-python

How to automatically update n8n-python
All five tools which we will use in this tutorial.

You followed the instructions from Jan at n8n in this forum post and now you have a working n8n-python image in Docker on a Linux machine. But after every n8n update, you find that you have to redo these set of steps again. Namely,

  1. docker pull n8nio/n8n
  2. docker build -t n8n-python .

But the problem is, you don’t want to do any of this manually. And begin a search to find the best method for automatic updates. Then you come across this page and now you’re invested.

In this tutorial, you will see how to make this all automatic using Watchtower and a bash script.

  1. Create Dockerfile
  2. Create bash script
  3. Set up Portainer
  4. Set up Watchtower with Portainer
  5. Set up n8n with Portainer

Firstly, let us navigate to the directory that we want the script to run in. Any directory of your choosing works, as long as it makes sense to you.

cd ~/docker/n8n

1. Create Dockerfile

Start by creating a Dockerfile.

nano Dockerfile

In your Dockerfile, add the following lines. Line 3 installs the requests library. You can however add more Python libraries here similarly. Line 4 upgrades pip but it is not necessary.

FROM n8nio/n8n
RUN apk add --update python3 py3-pip

# installs requests library
RUN python3 -m pip install requests

# upgrades pip (not necessary)
RUN python3 -m pip install --upgrade pip

To exit nano ctrl + x then Y.

2. Create bash script

In the same directory,


In, add the following lines.

username="pixelcoin"                 # docker username
image_name="n8n-python"              # docker image name

docker pull n8nio/n8n
docker build -t $username/$image_name .
docker push $username/$image_name    # you may need to set up docker first 
                                     # with `docker login`.

There are three commands in here. Firstly, it pulls the latest image of n8nio/n8n from Docker’s repository, then builds our pixelcoin/n8n-python image, then pushes the new image to Docker’s repository under our username pixelcoin.

Please note that you must be logged in to push to Docker’s repository. In the terminal, run docker login and enter your credentials to log in. The username you use will be the same username that gets placed in the file.

Mark as executable by doing the following command:

chmod +x

Then set up a cronjob to run this script every day. Of course, you can change the frequency to your needs. In your terminal, type in the following to set up a new scheduled run of your script

crontab -e

At the end of the file, add

0 5 * * * /path/to/

which will run everyday at 5am. Note that you should change /path/to to the path where is stored.

3. Set up Portainer

We set up Portainer so that we can manage our Docker containers easier. Portainer itself is a docker container. So in your terminal you can run the following command.

docker run -d -p 9000:9000 --name=portainer --restart=always -v /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock -v portainer_data:/data portainer/portainer-ce:latest

Now that our container is set up, head over to Portainer in your browser. You will be greeted with a login screen to set up your admin account.

4. Set up Watchtower with Portainer

After logging into Portainer, navigate to the following.

Markup 2022-04-14 at 17.55.26.png

Under “Name”, call stack “watchtower”.


In the web editor, add the following.

version: '2.1'
        image: containrrr/watchtower:latest
        container_name: watchtower
            - /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock
            - /home/pi/.docker/config.json:/config.json
            - WATCHTOWER_CLEANUP=true
            - WATCHTOWER_SCHEDULE= 0 0 04 ? * FRI    # At 04:00 AM, only on Friday
            #- [email protected]
            #- [email protected]
            #- WATCHTOWER_NOTIFICATION_EMAIL_SUBJECTTAG=Watchtower Alert - Container Updates
            #- [email protected]
        restart: always

Then at the bottom of the page, “Deploy the stack”.

This docker-compose.yml file which you added via the web editor, will update all docker containers at 4am on Friday every week. You can also receive notifications via email if you know how. This is commented out in the above file.

5. Set up n8n with Portainer

Now do the same thing but for n8n. In the web editor, you will add this instead.

version: "2"
    container_name: n8n
      - /PATH/TO/n8n/.n8n:/home/node/.n8n
      - /PATH/TO/n8n/n8n-files:/files
      - 5678:5678
    restart: always
      - TZ=Australia/Sydney
      - GENERIC_TIMEZONE=Australia/Sydney

Take particular note of the image we are pulling. It must be prefixed by for it to be recognised properly by Watchtower. Also pay attention to the /PATH/TO in volumes section. These will need to be changed to the path which contain your .n8n directory and your n8n-files directory.

That’s it!