How to Run a Full Bitcoin Node (v. 0.13.1)
Updated instructions for how to run a full bitcoin node as of version 0.13.1 are now available on Bitcoin.org. These instructions allow one to quickly get set up and running with a full node on the following operating systems:
Why is running a full bitcoin node important?
Full nodes help enforce the consensus rules of the Bitcoin network. When a full node client is running, it downloads every new block and every new transaction and checks them to make sure they are valid. Here are some examples of consensus rules, though there are many more:
- Blocks may only create a certain number of bitcoins.
- Transactions must have correct signatures for the bitcoins being spent.
- Transactions/blocks must be in the correct data format.
- Within the blockchain, a transaction output cannot be double-spent.
Read more about what a full node is, the consensus rules above and other incentives for supporting the network in the Bitcoin Wiki.
Bitcoin Core full nodes have certain requirements. If you try running a node on weak hardware, it may work — but you’ll likely spend more time dealing with issues. If you can meet the following requirements, you’ll have an easy-to-use node.
- Desktop or laptop hardware running recent versions of Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux.
- 125GB of free disk space (size of the blockchain plus room to grow)
- 2GB of memory (RAM)
- A broadband Internet connection with upload speeds of at least 400 kilobits (50 kilobytes) per second
- An unmetered connection, a connection with high upload limits, or a connection you regularly monitor to ensure it doesn’t exceed its upload limits. It’s common for full nodes on high-speed connections to use 200GB in uploads or more a month. Download usage is around 20GB/month, plus around an additional 100GB the first time you start your node.
- 6 hours/day that your full node can be left running. (You can do other things with your computer while running a full node.) More hours would be better, and best of all would be if you can run your node continuously.
- Note: many operating systems today (Windows, Mac, and Linux) enter a low-power mode after the screensaver activates, slowing or halting network traffic. This is often the default setting on laptops and on all Mac OS X laptops and desktops. Check your screensaver settings and disable automatic “sleep” or “suspend” options to ensure you support the network whenever your computer is running.
What to do if you need help
Please seek out assistance in the community if you need help setting up your full node correctly to handle high-value and privacy-sensitive tasks. Do your own diligence to ensure who you get help from is ethical, reputable and qualified to assist you.
Special thanks goes to David Harding who created the majority of the content comprising the original instructions on Bitcoin.org for running a full node as of version 0.10.0. A great thank you goes to the other contributors (in no preferential order) who have worked to improve this page over time as well:
- Kevin Cooper
- Joseph Becher
- Jonas Schnelli
- Marko Falke
Bitcoin.org was originally used by Satoshi Nakamoto to host his Bitcoin paper. Soon after, it began linking to downloadable versions of the original Bitcoin software, making it the homepage for the Bitcoin program. New educational content about Bitcoin was added to Bitcoin.org over time, but that home page remained even when the name of the original program was changed to Bitcoin Core. In the years since, the amount of content on Bitcoin.org has continued to increase. There’s more content about Bitcoin Core than ever before and also more content about other Bitcoin software and resources.