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Top 5 Open Source Alternatives to Zapier (2023 Review)

Ashraf Samhouri | Published on May 1, 2023
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Short Answer: If you're in the market for an open source alternative to Zapier, you should definitely check out Activepieces. It has a super simple UI, it's backed by Y Combinator, and it has a growing community and great support.

Okay, now onto the longer version...

Open Source Zapier

Zapier is not open source. Open source means that you can read its code and there is some license that governs how you can modify, redistribute or run it. We wrote this article as we navigated the different options that can be the "open source zapier" so you don't have to research them.

Why an open source alternative to Zapier?

There are different categories of Zapier alternatives in the market. However, there are a few reasons why you might want to consider an open source no-code business automation tool alternative to Zapier, including:

  • Cost: Many open source alternatives are free, whereas Zapier has a very limited free plan.
  • Customization: With an open source alternative, you have access to the source code and can customize it to your specific needs.
  • Security: Because the source code would be publicly available, users would be able to review and audit the code to ensure that it is secure and respects the privacy of users' data.
  • Self Hosting: Allows you to have complete control over where your data is stored and how it is used. This can be particularly important for organizations that are subject to data residency laws or regulations, which mandate that certain types of data must be stored within a specific geographic region.
  • Community: Open source projects often have a strong community of developers and users contributing to their development, which can lead to more frequent updates and improvements.

Top open source Zapier alternatives

Here are a few open source alternatives to Zapier that you might want to learn about:

1. Activepieces


We built Activepieces to be the best open source alternative to Zapier.

  • An intuitive and clean user experience.
  • Licensed under MIT (check out our GitHub repo): use, modify and distribute as you wish.
  • Community focused: you can join our Discord server to be part of the community.
  • Built by ex-Google and Amazon software engineers.
  • Backed by the world's top investors: Y Combinator and scouts from Accel and Sequoia.
  • The number of apps on Activepieces is smaller than Zapier but their growth rate and coverage are reasonable.

2. Huginn


This open source platform is similar to Zapier, but it allows you to set up more complex and customizable workflows. It's written in Ruby and can be run on your own server.

  • You can create complex automations using their agents.
  • It has a minimal UI.
  • Actively maintained by the community.
  • Number of their agents grows slowly.
  • Too technical although it has a minimal UI.

3. N8n


This is not really considered as open source since it doesn't permit you to modify and distribute the code for commercial purposes, but the code is publicly available for personal use. It has a modern UI and a wide range of integrations available.

  • Allows highly flexbile and customizable flows.
  • Offers a wide range of integrations.
  • Its horizontal flow designer is generally disliked.
  • Even if you contribute to its codebase, you can't use your contribution for commercial purposes.
  • Contribution policy is described as difficult and complicated.
  • Due to the contribution policy, community connectors grow very slowly.

4. Apache Nifi


This open source platform is more geared towards data flow and automation, and it has a lot of advanced features for data processing and transformation.

  • Advanced features for data processing and transformation.
  • Ready to be used in an enterprise ecosystem.
  • Flexible to be extended by technical people.
  • It has a steep learning curve to getting value out of it.
  • Too technical to set up and use.
  • An overkill for low volume flows since it's designed for enterprise use cases.

5. Node-RED


This open source platform is great for those who are familiar with JavaScript, as it allows you to create workflows using a visual programming interface.

  • Visual programming interface makes it easy to use.
  • Large community with a great amount of contributions.
  • Very focused on hardware connectors and less of a Zapier alternative.
  • Too technical and might need lots of experience with Javascript.

Out of all these options, I have to say that my personal favorite is obviously the tool our team is building, Activepieces.

In conclusion, there are a lot of great open source alternatives to Zapier out there, and it really just comes down to your specific needs and preferences. Whether you're looking for something highly customizable like Huginn, or something with a visual programming interface like Node-RED, there's an open source option out there for you. Just be sure to do your research and choose the one that's right for you!