Server Requirements to Host Bitcoin Node
There are several options on how to run your own bitcoin node, but they should all match the following criteria;
- At least 300GB disk space – Any node should download the entire Bitcoin Blockchain, it’s currently around 248GB but growing exponentially,
- 4GB of RAM – The more memory we can have the better,
- 5 GB bandwidth – A stable network that facilitates 5GB data upload and 500mb data download a day, and
- Minimum 6 hours run time – The more run time we can have the better.
With these criteria in mind, it’s quite tricky to start hosting your own full node on your desktop or laptop at home. There is the option to use some of the ‘out-of-the-box’ solutions that require no setting up at all. These come in the form of small boxes that have all the needed software pre-installed, leaving no room for personal adjustments. Arguably the most convenient way of hosting your full node is through a VPS or cloud hosting. By doing so, you make sure your node is up and running 24/7, and after setting up, it requires no extra effort at all.
The 3 Best VPS / Cloud Hosting for Running a Bitcoin Node
1. Digital Ocean
One of the dominant factors when picking your hosting party for your own Bitcoin node is a combination of the uptime and the ability to host the entire blockchain data. As most VPS and cloud services offer limited SSD space, the options are limited. Digital Ocean is one of the companies that provide the right solution for the required memory space with a wide variety of options. The other factor, the uptime, is entirely covered by Digital Ocean. It’s by no surprise Digital Ocean scores exceptionally well in HostScore scoring model.
Digital Ocean past 30 days uptime
Which Digital Ocean plan to start with?
When looking at the necessities for setting up your own node, you should dig a little deeper than usual. With Digital Ocean, there are multiple options that you could consider, however, we have found the right plan that is the most cost-efficient and leaves you a little space when the Blockchain size increases over time.
Standard Digital Ocean droplet plan
- Memory = 16 GB RAM
- VCPUS = 6 CPU Cores
- Data Transfer = 6 TB
- SSD Disk Storage = 320 GB
- Price = $80/mo or $0.119/hr
It might be the name of this company, Linode, that’s already corresponding with a Bitcoin node, but that’s not all. Whereas many other hosting companies offer a wide variety of products besides VPS hosting, Linode is dedicated to bringing the best VPS solutions.
One thing should be noted; it’s dedicated to Linux users. This does not mean anyone that has never worked with Linux before can’t manage to host your VPS server with Linode, it’s just something to keep in the back of your mind. Linode is a niche hosting company offering a wide variety of solutions to those tech-savvy and knows their whereabouts on the internet. Those who have made the step towards hosting their own Bitcoin node overall have earned their stripes on the technology front and would be perfectly capable of utilizing Linode.
Linode past 30 days uptime
Which Linode plan to start with?
With Linode, there is a variety of products for you to choose from. Whether that is a dedicated server customized to your needs or the more standard Linode product. After doing a deep dive into the products that Linode offers, we’ve found one plan that stands out for being the most optimal for hosting your Bitcoin node. This one leaves you some breathing space for an increase in Blockchain size and optimal speed.
Standard Linode plan
- Memory = 16 GB RAM
- VCPUS = 6 CPU Cores
- Data Transfer = 8 TB
- SSD Disk Storage = 320 GB
- Price = $80/mo or $0.12/hr
One thing you should keep in mind when picking your hosting solution is the fact that the size of the Bitcoin Blockchain is increasing. It has grown to around 250GB over the past ten years with more and more traffic arriving every single day. The moment actual adoption happens, and even more transactions occur on the network, this size can increase even more.
When picking your host, you need to make sure they are prepared for these increases and are able to scale together with your requests. Siteground does so perfectly as they allow anyone to set up their cloud hosting according to their needs. The moment you need a little more SSD Space, speed up the RAM of anything else, that’s when you adjust your plan.
SiteGround past 30 days uptime
Which SiteGround plan to start with?
When we look at Siteground, we come across a more customizable option. With a Bitcoin Node, there’s a need for loads of SSD storage in comparison to the required bandwidth and transfer speed. However, increasing your SSD storage does, in most cases, increase the number of cores, memory and transfer speed as we have seen in the previous examples. With Siteground, you leave nothing to waste and adjust the plan whenever you would need. It’s more expensive than Digital Ocean or Linode, but it does fully utilize all that’s included in your plan.
The droplet standard plan
- Memory = 4 GB RAM
- VCPUS = 2 vCPUs
- Data Transfer = 5 TB
- SSD Disk Storage = 300 GB
- Price = $185/mo or $0.25/hr
Understanding Blockchain and Bitcoin Node
The world of cryptocurrency might be unknown territory for many, and it might seem as this complicated new reality where only a few know what is going on. In reality, millions of people around the world are using cryptocurrency and even more so use the technology behind it; Blockchain. There are over 3000 different virtual currencies, but it all started with Bitcoin.
January 2009 the first-ever Bitcoin was created, ever since, every transaction is recorded on the so-called blockchain.
Over the years, this revolutionary piece of technology has brought fortunes to many through investing at the right time. Now, investing and trading are not the only ways to benefit from this technology.
To understand what a Bitcoin Node is, it’s essential to understand the technology behind Bitcoin first.
Blockchain technology is the brainchild of an unknown figure that goes by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. After releasing his manifest through a newsletter for cryptographic experts, he went on to open-source the project that went on to be known as Bitcoin. The manifest was written with the 2008 recession in mind; no longer should banks be in control of other people’s wealth, each person should be in control of their funds without a central organ in between. This revolutionary idea is backed up by the invention of a technology called blockchain.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain consists of a network with thousands of validators across the globe. These validators verify transactions; for example, the possession of funds, payments being made and regular balance checks. This verification is done by decentralized nodes, instead of one central party in the form of a bank.
You might wonder, how does that work? A helpful analogy can be the following;
“Picture a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then imagine that this network is designed to update this spreadsheet regularly and you have a basic understanding of the blockchain.”
How Blockchain works in real life?
In practice, a blockchain consists of millions of blocks in the form of a chain.
Every block contains data, will it be the fact that you own 1 Bitcoin or will it be that I just transferred 5 Bitcoin to my cousin, it’s all stored in these blocks.
Every 10 minute a new block is generated, as of today there are more than 600,000 of these blocks dating back to 2009.
The data stored on these blocks is open for anyone to view to have full transparency.
These blocks are being generated by ‘miners’, thousands of computers around the world that use their processing power to solve mathematical equations.
That sounds complicated, but this cryptographic solution is the manner of verifying that all the data stored on these blocks is correct. The miners verify that I own 1 Bitcoin when I want to send 1 Bitcoin to my cousin, it will not verify my transaction if it turns out I do not hold that 1 Bitcoin when the miners try to verify this equation. This process decentralizes the power to verify any block as it takes loads of processing power to verify just one block.
What is Bitcoin Node?
As mentioned above, the entire blockchain is continuously being controlled, checked and verified by dozens of computers across the whole planet.
These computers can be divided into miners and nodes.
Essentially, miners and nodes are in the same team; they both want a secure network. The difference here is, when you are mining your system does not require any knowledge of the blocks generated back in the day. It only asks you the information stored on the previous block and the block you’re currently verifying. As a reward for the verification, the miner receives compensation in the form of Bitcoin. Miners, in this case, only contribute to the future blocks, not the network as a whole.
A bitcoin node is a giant closet containing all the blocks ever recorded on the blockchain. The miners are doing the verification of the newly created blocks. However, when a block has been verified, it can now be put into the closet, into the node. The node will then continue to continuously monitor the network for any wrongfully created blocks that do not correspond with the set rules by consensus within the network, all the nodes running across the globe.
Why run your own Bitcoin Node?
In a sense, whenever you own Bitcoin, it is in your benefit to have as many Bitcoin (full) nodes running. These nodes function as the backbone for Bitcoin. Without these nodes, the network would not be decentralized, and a single entity could alter the protocol. Right now, this is not possible. Whereas with mining, there’s a financial reward for your computing power. When running a node, there is not. However, there are certain benefits to running your own personal node.
1. The trust is in your hands
According to Bitcoin’s promise, you are in control of your funds. When you do not run your full node, you are still reliant on the network of a third party. For your transactions to be deployed onto the network, you have to communicate with a full node.
Running your own full node will allow you to ensure your transactions to broadcast to miners, without the intervention of any third party. Do note that your transactions still have to be verified by the miners to be integrated into the Blockchain.
2. Your safety and privacy are in your hands
Anyone that is a true advocate for online privacy has probably heard about Bitcoin.
It has been used for years as a means of payment on the darker side of the internet although, in practice, it is not the most private way of operating if you do not run your own node. Imagine you have registered for an online wallet with an email address, this information will now be directly linked to this third party. In this case, the moment you assume your payment in Bitcoin is anonymous, and it is in fact related to your email address.
Running a full node will create a wallet address for you that is only connected to this node; it can not be traced back to your personal information. This way, you eliminate trust in any third party to hold your funds or to make any transaction.
3. The choice is in your hands
The original Bitcoin protocol had a specific set of rules and criteria. Now and then, either new technology or addition to consisting code is being done by the core developers on the Bitcoin project. These are all true Bitcoin believers.
There’s no company behind Bitcoin that is paying them to do so. With each upgrade to the source code, all the full nodes have the choice of agreeing to these updates. Whenever a significant upgrade happens, a ‘fork’ is occurring. One of the most famous ones is the fork that created the Bitcoin Cash coin, leading all of the full nodes to decide whether to support Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash. When you are running your own full node, you are in charge of making these decisions yourself, you decide which project you support the most.
Verdict: It’s hard to pick the right plan
Whenever you are seriously considering to run your own Bitcoin node, you should be willing to lay down some dollars to do so. It’s not the cheapest option of supporting the network considering the fact there’s no financial incentive to do so.
However, when you genuinely believe the Bitcoin network should remain as stable, decentralized and secure as it currently is you should consider going for running your node. It’s an exciting process to go through, plus it allows you to contribute to a revolutionary technology that might disrupt loads of industries without us even realizing.