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Setting up a validator node

tip

Setting up a validator is a lot of fun but also a lot of work

Automatic install

The following script will install a node with systemctl script, firewall and optionally restore a snapshot for a quickstart. If you want you can first review it on github, the script will ask some questions and create an installer script which you can review before executing.

The script is for ubuntu/debian flavoured servers.

curl -o- -L https://raw.githubusercontent.com/stakeworld/stakeworld-scripts/master/node-install.sh | bash

node-install

Manually setup a server

First you will need a working server setup. We advise an ubuntu 22.04 LTS on dedicated hardware

The polkadot wiki also has a lot of good information about seting up a validator node.

It is wise to start setting your hostname (preferably matched bij the reverse dns on your provider), copying your ssh keys to your server and disable plain password authentication.

vi /etc/hostname

yourhostname.yourhostdomain

vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config

PasswordAuthentication no

systemctl restart sshd.service

Firewall

tip

Polkadot needs some ports open in the firewall, especially the p2p port

  • 30333: p2p port
  • 9933: HTTP RPC
  • 9944: WS RPC
  • 9615: prometheus port

If you open a range of ports you can choose to run a second validator or change ports in your systemctl config.

ufw allow openssh
ufw enable
ufw allow from any port 30300:30399 proto tcp
ufw allow 30300:30399/tcp

Packages

Optionally lock the kernel updates so you have to manually upgrade them (which requires a restart)

apt-mark hold linux-generic linux-headers-generic linux-image-generic

Install polkadot

# Import the [email protected] GPG key
gpg --recv-keys --keyserver hkps://keys.mailvelope.com 9D4B2B6EB8F97156D19669A9FF0812D491B96798
gpg --export 9D4B2B6EB8F97156D19669A9FF0812D491B96798 > /usr/share/keyrings/parity.gpg
# Add the Parity repository and update the package index
echo 'deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/parity.gpg] https://releases.parity.io/deb release main' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/parity.list
apt update
# Install the `parity-keyring` package - This will ensure the GPG key
# used by APT remains up-to-date
apt install parity-keyring
# Install polkadot
apt install polkadot

Systemctl service scripts

By default there is a /usr/lib/systemd/system/polkadot.service systemctl script which reads its defaults from /etc/default/polkadot.

Below an adapted systemctl script. It gives the possibility for different ports, if you run more instances you need to adapt the ports and base directories alongside the “Description” in the .service file.

You can download it here: yourvalidator.service and copy it to /etc/systemd/system/.

After you have installed your adapted service you can start and enable it by

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl start yourvalidator.service
systemctl enable yourvalidator.service
journalctl -u yourvalidator.service -f

Database sync

If you fire up a fresh polkadot it starts to sync from scratch, which will take a while.

Using an up to date database you can speed up the process. Best is to shortly start the relevant polkadot binary, so the file structure gets created, then stop it and execute the code below. After this you can start the binary and it will only need a short period to sync and start validating.

tip

There are different size databases, a “pruned” database is sufficient for a validator node.

Snapshot providers

Stakeworld hosts a pruned snapshot in paritydb format for quick deployment, you can find details here. There are also other providers like polkashots.io and polkachu.com.