How to setup an ethereum node

May 22, 2018 0 Comments

How to setup an ethereum node



ethereum homestead

This article was originally posted on my blog at legobox

What’s an ethereum node

With the advent of Bitcoin, blockchain based technologies have gradually become increasingly popular, enabling developers to build decentralized applications which many today view as the solution to a presumably problematic part of the internet, control over data.

Ethereum is unique, in that it attempts to use the same solution of the blockchain to allow anyone the ability to public dapps (decentralized apps) and have them being able to connect directly between providers and clients.

On the ethereum network every client is a node and is a part of the much larger network, therefore in setting up a client, it has to download the entire network's database and transaction readings till date. In this article, we are going to review all there is to the process of setting up an ethereum node on an Ubuntu (Linux) server.


Before jumping into configurations and commands related to setting up a node, It's important to be grounded in a few basics, therefore you should know about the following to a somewhat familiar extent.

  • The blockchain technology and how it works.

  • Managing accounts on the geth clients (thankfully we'll touch on this in the article)

Types of Nodes

There are basically two types of nodes on the network,

  • Lightweight nodes

  • Full nodes

The Lightweight nodes are meant to run on machines of lower resources and therefore keep a really shallow copy of the blockchain data, while the full node keeps track of all transactions performed on the network and therefore.

In our set up we'll review both systems so as to get a concrete understanding of how to go about the process.

Setting up a Geth Client (Node)

There are many clients for the ethereum blockchain, but the safest and well documented of them all include

  • Mist wallet

  • Geth wallet
    The mist wallet is a GUI (graphic user interface) based client, this enables the user to control the wallet via click and all, one can also develop contracts on the mist wallet.

Setting up a mist wallet

To set up the mist wallet, navigate to the etherum home page, then proceed to the download sections, you'll find the download button via which you can download a new version of the mist wallet.

This takes some time to setup because it has to download the blockchain's database, on completion of the download, your computer is effectively at that moment a node on the ethereum network.

Building Contracts on the mist wallet

Building contract on the mist network or the ethereum network, in general, is done in solidity, it's a strongly typed language featuring some symmetricity between C++ and javascript. on the mist wallet creating a contract is as simple as switching to the deployment section and placing your contract's code there and then proceeding to deploy. you can find a good example here.

Setting Up a Geth client wallet.

There are different ways in which one can set up a geth client, for the various operating systems there are.

Setting up for Windows

Ever heard of the Chocolatey package manager, this provides an easy way to get the required build setup and tools installed. to set up and install chocolatey checkout

Next, we set up the administrator command prompt and install the build tools we need.

C:\Windows\system32> choco install git 
C:\Windows\system32> choco install golang
C:\Windows\system32> choco install mingw

Installing these packages will setup the path enviroment variable.

Next, let's ensure Go is installed

C:\Users\xxx> set "GOPATH=%USERPROFILE%" 
C:\Users\xxx> set "Path=%USERPROFILE%\bin;%Path%"
C:\Users\xxx> setx GOPATH "%GOPATH%"
C:\Users\xxx> setx Path "%Path%"
C:\Users\xxx> mkdir src\\ethereum
C:\Users\xxx> git clone src\\ethereum\go-ethereum
C:\Users\xxx> cd src\\ethereum\go-ethereum
C:\Users\xxx> go get -u -v

Finally, the command to compile geth

C:\Users\xxx\src\\ethereum\go-ethereum> go install -v ./cmd/... 

With all setup, we are good to work with the setup on windows.

Setting up on Linux (Debian)

Installing from ppa

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common 
sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:ethereum/ethereum
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ethereum

If you want to stay on the bleeding edge of things, install the ethereum-unstable package instead. After installing, run geth account new to create an account on your node. You should now be able to run geth and connect to the network.

There are also other options such as building from source

building from source

Build Geth ( command line client )

  • Clone the repository to a directory of your choosing

git clone 

  • Install the latest version of Go (v1.7) If you don't have it already

  • Building geth required Go and C compilers to be installed.

sudo apt-get install -y build-essential golang 

  • proceed to build using the following command

  • To start the node, run build/bin/geth

Setting up on Mac

The easiest way to get started with go-ethereum is to run homebrew. to install homebrew check out this

Next, add the tap and install geth

brew tap ethereum/ethereum 
brew install ethereum

Managing accounts

always make sure to remember your password

On the geth, client account management is provided via the account command

$ geth account <command> [options...] [arguments...] 

This lets you create new accounts, list existing accounts, import private key into a new account, migrating to new key format and changing the password.

We are going to review a few important commands to know.

creating accounts

$ geth account new 
Your new account is locked with a password. Please give a password. Do not forget this password.
Repeat Passphrase:
Address: {168sdunina2ee09042d83d7c5811b5334789349934}

Listing accounts

$ geth account list 
Account #0: {5afdd78bdacb56ab1dad28741ea2a0e47fe41331} keystore:///tmp/mykeystore/UTC--2017-04-28T08-46-27.437847599Z--5afdd78bdacb56ab1dad28741ea2a0e47fe41331
Account #1: {9acb9ff906641a434803efb474c96a837756287f} keystore:///tmp/mykeystore/UTC--2017-04-28T08-46-52.180688336Z--9acb9ff906641a434803efb474c96a837756287f

Import private key into a node with custom datadir

$ geth account import --datadir /someOtherEthDataDir ./key.prv 
The new account will be encrypted with a passphrase.
Please enter a passphrase now.
Repeat Passphrase:
Address: {7f444580bfef4384839403049823453c9d}


Blockchain technology is still relatively new to many and there's a lot going on in that field, but getting started shouldn't have to be a problem with respect to building dapps and working with decentralized setups. In subsequent writings under this technology, I'd get into the nitty-gritty of solidity and how to go about building and deploying smart contracts.

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