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node.d.plugin is a Netdata external plugin. It is an orchestrator for data collection modules written in node.js.

  1. It runs as an independent process ps fax shows it
  2. It is started and stopped automatically by Netdata
  3. It communicates with Netdata via a unidirectional pipe (sending data to the netdata daemon)
  4. Supports any number of data collection modules
  5. Allows each module to have one or more data collection jobs
  6. Each job is collecting one or more metrics from a single data source

Pull Request Checklist for Node.js Plugins#

This is a generic checklist for submitting a new Node.js plugin for Netdata. It is by no means comprehensive.

At minimum, to be buildable and testable, the PR needs to include:

  • The module itself, following proper naming conventions: node.d/<module_dir>/<module_name>.node.js
  • A file for the plugin.
  • The configuration file for the module
  • A basic configuration for the plugin in the appropriate global config file: conf.d/node.d.conf, which is also in JSON format. If the module should be enabled by default, add a section for it in the modules dictionary.
  • A line for the plugin in the appropriate file: node.d/ under dist_node_DATA.
  • A line for the plugin configuration file in conf.d/ under dist_nodeconfig_DATA
  • Optionally, chart information in web/dashboard_info.js. This generally involves specifying a name and icon for the section, and may include descriptions for the section or individual charts.


Node.js is perfect for asynchronous operations. It is very fast and quite common (actually the whole web is based on it). Since data collection is not a CPU intensive task, node.js is an ideal solution for it.

node.d.plugin is a Netdata plugin that provides an abstraction layer to allow easy and quick development of data collectors in node.js. It also manages all its data collectors (placed in /usr/libexec/netdata/node.d) using a single instance of node, thus lowering the memory footprint of data collection.

Of course, there can be independent plugins written in node.js (placed in /usr/libexec/netdata/plugins). These will have to be developed using the guidelines of External Plugins.

To run node.js plugins you need to have node installed in your system.

In some older systems, the package named node is not node.js. It is a terminal emulation program called ax25-node. In this case the node.js package may be referred as nodejs. Once you install nodejs, we suggest to link /usr/bin/nodejs to /usr/bin/node, so that typing node in your terminal, opens node.js.

configuring node.d.plugin#

node.d.plugin can work even without any configuration. Its default configuration file is node.d.conf. To edit it on your system, run /etc/netdata/edit-config node.d.conf.

configuring node.d.plugin modules#

node.d.plugin modules accept configuration in JSON format.

Unfortunately, JSON files do not accept comments. So, the best way to describe them is to have markdown text files with instructions.

JSON has a very strict formatting. If you get errors from Netdata at /var/log/netdata/error.log that a certain configuration file cannot be loaded, we suggest to verify it at

The files in this directory, provide usable examples for configuring each node.d.plugin module.

debugging modules written for node.d.plugin#

To test node.d.plugin modules, which are placed in /usr/libexec/netdata/node.d, you can run node.d.plugin by hand, like this:

# become user netdata
sudo su -s /bin/sh netdata
# run the plugin in debug mode
/usr/libexec/netdata/plugins.d/node.d.plugin debug 1 X Y Z

node.d.plugin will run in debug mode (lots of debug info), with an update frequency of 1 second, evaluating only the collector scripts X (i.e. /usr/libexec/netdata/node.d/X.node.js), Y and Z. You can define zero or more modules. If none is defined, node.d.plugin will evaluate all modules available.

Keep in mind that if your configs are not in /etc/netdata, you should do the following before running node.d.plugin:

export NETDATA_USER_CONFIG_DIR="/path/to/etc/netdata"

developing node.d.plugin modules#

Your data collection module should be split in 3 parts:

  • a function to fetch the data from its source. node.d.plugin already can fetch data from web sources, so you don't need to do anything about it for http.

  • a function to process the fetched/manipulate the data fetched. This function will make a number of calls to create charts and dimensions and pass the collected values to Netdata. This is the only function you need to write for collecting http JSON data.

  • a configure and an update function, which take care of your module configuration and data refresh respectively. You can use the supplied ones.

Your module will automatically be able to process any number of servers, with different settings (even different data collection frequencies). You will write just the work needed for one and node.d.plugin will do the rest. For each server you are going to fetch data from, you will have to create a service (more later).

writing the data collection module#

To provide a module called mymodule, you have create the file /usr/libexec/netdata/node.d/mymodule.node.js, with this structure:

// the processor is needed only
// if you need a custom processor
// other than http
netdata.processors.myprocessor = {
name: 'myprocessor',
process: function(service, callback) {
/* do data collection here */
// this is the mymodule definition
var mymodule = {
processResponse: function(service, data) {
/* send information to the Netdata server here */
configure: function(config) {
var eligible_services = 0;
if(typeof(config.servers) === 'undefined' || config.servers.length === 0) {
* create a service using internal defaults;
* this is used for auto-detecting the settings
* if possible
name: 'a name for this service',
update_every: this.update_every,
module: this,
processor: netdata.processors.myprocessor,
// any other information your processor needs
else {
* create a service for each server in the
* configuration file
var len = config.servers.length;
while(len--) {
var server = config.servers[len];
update_every: server.update_every,
module: this,
processor: netdata.processors.myprocessor,
// any other information your processor needs
return eligible_services;
update: function(service, callback) {
* this function is called when each service
* created by the configure function, needs to
* collect updated values.
* You normally will not need to change it.
service.execute(function(service, data) {
mymodule.processResponse(service, data);
module.exports = mymodule;


configure(config) is called just once, when node.d.plugin starts. The config file will contain the contents of /etc/netdata/node.d/mymodule.conf. This file should have the following format:

"enable_autodetect": false,
"update_every": 5,
"servers": [ { /* server 1 */ }, { /* server 2 */ } ]

If the config file /etc/netdata/node.d/mymodule.conf does not give a enable_autodetect or update_every, these will be added by node.d.plugin. So you module will always have them.

The configuration file /etc/netdata/node.d/mymodule.conf may contain whatever else is needed for mymodule.


data may be null or whatever the processor specified in the service returned.

The service object defines a set of functions to allow you send information to the Netdata core about:

  1. Charts and dimension definitions
  2. Updated values, from the collected values

FIXME: document an operational node.d.plugin data collector - the best example is the snmp collector

Reach out

If you need help after reading this doc, search our community forum for an answer. There's a good chance someone else has already found a solution to the same issue.



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