Guide To Setting Up A Remote Bitcoin Node For $20 Per Year

UPDATE 2017/11/29 : Barely another year on and new relay nodes now require 256GB SSD drives in addition to 4GB of ECC RAM, all of which must be on a dedicated box. No more sharesies. The going rate for such dedicated boxes is ~$60/month or $720/year (thankfully BTC is at USD $10k, which eases the burden somewhat). The blockchain stands at 144GB today.

UPDATE 2016/10/10 : Two years later and it’s ~$200 to stand up a VPS node. 4GB RAM is the Republican standard and the blockchain is currently 86GB while growing at a rate of ~40GB per annum. Time stands for no man. Nor do blocks.

The most significant issue facing Bitcoin today doesn’t receive a lot of attention.

Unlike the price, the network difficulty, and the derps who try (and fail) to fuck with our lovely Bitcoin and turn it into an inflationary wratchet,i the issue of full relay nodes flies under the radar. Yet if you own even a single bitcoin, you have the responsibility, nay the duty!, to support the network by running a full node.ii

Whether you think of running a full node as an insurance policy on your coins, as an altruistic act, or something else, you may have been hesitating up until now because of practical considerations like noise, heat, space, or the availability of a spare computer. Running a remote node on a Virtual Private Server (VPS) solves all of these problems and is so affordable that you actually must do it.iii

The following is your…

Guide to Setting Up A Full Remote Bitcoin Node:iv

1. Order a VPS with Debian 7 from one of the hosting services listed on lowendbox. Make sure it has 512MB 2 GB RAM and 30+ 100 GB HD.
2. Log in to your VPS Control Panel through your host’s website.
3. Boot the server.
4. Start a new session in Control Panel (or similar)
5. Mac/Linux users open Terminalv
6. In Terminal, enter command as listed on the VPS Manager page (something like ssh-console…)
7. In Terminal, enter password provided by VPS host.
8. In Terminal, enter “sudo apt-get update && apt-get upgrade” (w/o quotation marks!)
9. In Terminal, enter “sudo apt-get install git build-essential automake libboost-all-dev pkg-config”vi
10. In Terminal, to download bitcoind enter “mkdir ~/src && cd ~/src” then “git clone https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin” then “cd bitcoin” then “git checkout 0.x.x”
11. In Terminal, to configure bitcoind enter “cd ~/src/bitcoin” then “./autogen.sh” then “./configure –disable-wallet \ –with-cli \ –without-gui”
12. In Terminal, to compile bitcoind enter “make” then “sudo make install”
13. Enter “bitcoin-cli getinfo” to confirm that the install was completed.
14. Check your VPS control panel to ensure that your Disk Usage is increasing as a proxy for the Blockchain being downloaded.

That should pretty much do it.

If you’ve followed these steps correctly, you’ve just made the single most important contribution to the Bitcoin network that’s you’ve ever made in your entire life.

Isn’t that incredible?

___ ___ ___

  1. TIL that “wratchet” – meaning to be an unattractive and slovenly turd – is a thing with the kids. To my ear it sounds like a perversion of “wretched.” I guess English-speaking Canadians are doing to the Queen’s what the Quebecois have already done to la langue d’amour. []
  2. Our future and our security necessitates that we keep the number of good nodes as high as possible and their distribution as broad as possible. []
  3. If you’ve already secured your bitcoins with a high-entropy paper wallet or an airgapped machine, this is the next step in your journey to create a better world. []
  4. Disclaimer! This Guide sets up the latest version of bitcoind, which is obviously a piece of fucking Bitcoin Fundation shit on a stick. This Guide will be updated with instructions on setting up bitcoind 0.6-0.7 asap. []
  5. Windows users download Putty or w/e. []
  6. If you have problems with “pkgd” and “plymouth,” as I did, you may need to enter scripts: “sudo apt-get clean && sudo apt-get autoremove” and “sudo apt-get -f install” and “sudo dpkg –configure -a” for the former issue and “sudo apt-get –purge remove plymouth” for the latter issue. After resolving these, I entered “sudo apt-get update && apt-get upgrade” again. []

28 thoughts on “Guide To Setting Up A Remote Bitcoin Node For $20 Per Year

  1. Innocenty Enikeev says:

    This actually works for $10/annual 256MB RAM VPS as well. At least with x32 debian. And 50GB HDD seems more reasonable for a yearly plan.

  2. […] also ready to use the most important tools of Computer Times, namely the Web of Trust, Bitcoin, and […]

  3. […] divided by this. I’m inclined, without a shred of humility, to believe that it was my fiddling with a former Lord’s node script and my interest in updating it to avoid the latest Power […]

  4. […] 5. Bitcoin Foundation: USGavin‘s Foundation is dead, long live the new one and its quest for a healthier relay network! 6. Notary public: a place for people to publish signed contracts. 7. Legit Bitcoin news: once […]

  5. Anton says:

    Okay, just went through the process, have a few notes:
    – $15 per year special here https://my.crissic.net/cart.php?a=confproduct&i=1 will do.
    – “git checkout 0.10″, not 0.9 or lower (Apparently they’ve made changes to 0.10 making it behave better; 0.9 and lower will crash permanently closer to the end of catch up process because 512Mb Ram + 512Mb swap is not enough and you can’t enlarge swap on this plan)
    – These are also required for compilation:
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install build-essential libtool autotools-dev autoconf pkg-config
    sudo apt-get install libssl-dev libboost-all-dev libdb++-dev

    • Anton says:

      Also as just turned out, “cpulimit -z -l 100 -p `pidof bitcoind`” will help to reduce bitcoind’s CPU usage while it’s catching up and prevent your VPS account from suspension.

    • Anton,

      Except that, since this article was published, the actual Bitcoin Foundation has released v0.0.3 of the only reference implementation sane people use. It’s not quite totally polished, but it’s a hell of a sight better than anything that the Gavin-Hearn scam ever put out.

      Gavin-Hearn had their chance and they blew it.

      Still, thanks for the package notes!

    • brendafdez says:

      0.10 keeps crashing on the 512 MB RAM box with Debian 7 x86. It downloaded the first 20 GB or so, now it crashes all the time and won’t finish synchronization. I didn’t compile it with –disable wallet, but I don’t think that makes too much of a difference.
      Any solution without having to use the alternative client from the ‘real BF’?

    • At this point, your only other alternative is to use a box with significantly more RAM. Sorta unfair of Gavin, but then again, that’s exactly why his head is on a spike.

    • brendafdez says:

      (02:16:38 PM) wumpus: brendafdez: the memory usage is configurable, try reducing -dbcache, the minimum is =4
      (02:16:54 PM) brendafdez: thanks, i’ll try
      (02:17:47 PM) wumpus: default is 100, which in practice means ~400mb for the utxo database cache
      (02:18:17 PM) wumpus: that’s indeed too much for such a constrained system, ideally you’d get a bit more RAM
      (02:19:02 PM) wumpus: but reducing the cache works too

      http://bitcoinstats.com/irc/bitcoin-dev/logs/2015/02/17#l1424193343

    • Good find!

      /me goes to see if 0.9.3 on 512mb debian box will sync up with -dbcache=50…

  6. Sam Blake says:

    Got a node up and running on a 512mb VPS from Crissic. A day later, received a notification that my service was suspended and that “Bitcoin is not allowed”. Has anyone else experienced this issue? New policy?

    • This kind of bad behaviour isn’t unknown in the VPS world. Sometimes, quite out of the blue, they go full retard.

      I’d heard of this happening with other providers, but this’d be the first such incident I’ve heard of with Crissic. But hey, it’s not like they’re the only provider in town. Be sure to drop me a line if you find a better one.

  7. Sam Blake says:

    Will do. Thanks for posting the guide!

  8. […] the last few days, I’ve been fiddling around with my remote bitcoin node, trying to compile the enemy’s version of the source code under the (admittedly naive) […]

  9. Sam Blake says:

    This may be a dubious metric, but according to https://getaddr.bitnodes.io/nodes/leaderboard/, the node I set up roughly a week ago is already ranked in the top 500 (out of 3031) nodes globally. If this is even a marginally reliable stat, then one might say that this is probably a not so positive sign for the health of the network. But I’m just a n00b so whadoikno.

  10. Sam Blake says:

    Wow! That’s certainly enlightening(/really lame?)…I’m probably reading the seeds.txt file that MP linked to incorrectly, but under the %30d column I only see three nodes with 99.9% uptime. It’s a minor point, but do you understand how he derived the 61 nodes w/ 99.9% stat?

  11. airgapped says:

    Got suspended out of the blue, 512mb VPS from Crissic. Going with Raspberry Pi 2. Syncing now.

    • You should try contacting them to see if you can’t resolve the situation. They may even be in breach of contract if you weren’t provided sufficient notice or reason. It’s worth looking into.

  12. […] Dushenski has an article on how to do this. (and in fact, installing Bitcoin by command line is easier than described there. All you need to […]

  13. […] relay nodes would mean a healthier, more robust, and more reliable Bitcoin network, I whipped up a little guide for setting up el cheapo AWeSque nodes. How easy, how simple, how innocent, no […]

  14. […] No one needs a “Cellphone Community” to be able to make and receive calls on their phone, they do not need a “Bitcoin Community” either. Apple and Samsung make phones, and there is no “Samsung Community” for you to join and “have your say”. You buy your phone, make your calls, pay your bill and that is it. If you do not have a Samsung or Apple phone: no calls for you. If you want to have an influence on Bitcoin, run a full node, […]

  15. […] works pretty snazzily for Bitcoin even if it means that relay nodes aren’t rewarded for their considerable costs incurred in supporting the health and decentralisation of the network. Alas, PoS might be better […]

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