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Running A Full Node

Support the Bitcoin network by running your own full node

What Is A Full Node?
A full node is a program that fully validates transactions and blocks. Almost all full nodes also help the network by accepting transactions and blocks from other full nodes, validating those transactions and blocks, and then relaying them to further full nodes.

Most full nodes also serve lightweight clients by allowing them to transmit their transactions to the network and by notifying them when a transaction affects their wallet. If not enough nodes perform this function, clients won’t be able to connect through the peer-to-peer network—they’ll have to use centralized services instead.

Many people and organizations volunteer to run full nodes using spare computing and bandwidth resources—but more volunteers are needed to allow Bitcoin to continue to grow.

Secure Your Wallet

It’s possible and safe to run a full node to support the network and use its wallet to store your bitcoins, but you must take the same precautions you would when using any Bitcoin wallet. Please see the securing your wallet page for more information.

 

Windows Instructions

Windows 10

*Instructions for Bitcoin Core 0.14.2 on Windows 10

Go to the Bitcoin Core download page and verify you have made a secure connection to the server.

Verify secure connection

Click the large blue Download Bitcoin Core button to download the Bitcoin Core installer to your desktop.

Optional: Verify the release signatures

If you know how to use PGP, you should also click the Verify Release Signatures link on the download page to download a signed list of SHA256 file hashes. The 0.11 and later releases are signed by Wladimir J. van der Laan’s releases key with the fingerprint:

01EA 5486 DE18 A882 D4C2  6845 90C8 019E 36C2 E964

Earlier releases were signed by Wladimir J. van der Laan’s regular key. That key’s fingerprint is:

71A3 B167 3540 5025 D447  E8F2 7481 0B01 2346 C9A6

Even earlier releases were signed by Gavin Andresen’s key. His primary key’s fingerprint is:

2664 6D99 CBAE C9B8 1982  EF60 29D9 EE6B 1FC7 30C1

You should verify these keys belong to their owners using the web of trust or other trustworthy means. Then use PGP to verify the signature on the release signatures file. Finally, use PGP or another utility to compute the SHA256 hash of the archive you downloaded, and ensure the computed hash matches the hash listed in the verified release signatures file.

After downloading the file to your desktop or your Downloads folder (C:\Users\<YOUR USER NAME>\Downloads), run it by double-clicking its icon. Windows will ask you to confirm that you want to run it. Click Yes and the Bitcoin installer will start. It’s a typical Windows installer, and it will guide you through the decisions you need to make about where to install Bitcoin Core.

Windows 10 installer start

To continue, choose one of the following options

  1. If you want to use the Bitcoin Core Graphical User Interface (GUI), proceed to the Bitcoin Core GUI section below.
  2. If you want to use the Bitcoin Core daemon (bitcoind), which is useful for programmers and advanced users, proceed to the Bitcoin Core Daemonsection below.
  3. To want to use both the GUI and the daemon, read both the GUI instructions and the daemon instructions. Note that you can’t run both the GUI and the daemon at the same time using the same configuration directory.

Bitcoin Core GUI

Press the Windows key (⊞ Win) and start typing “bitcoin”. When the Bitcoin Core icon appears (as shown below), click on it.

Starting Bitcoin Core

You will be prompted to choose a directory to store the Bitcoin block chain and your wallet. Unless you have a separate partition or drive you want to use, click Ok to use the default.

Bitcoin-Qt Welcome

Your firewall may block Bitcoin Core from making outbound connections. It’s safe to allow Bitcoin Core to use all networks. (Note: you will still need to configure inbound connections as described later in the Network Configuration section.)

Opening outgoing firewall for Bitcoin Core

Bitcoin Core GUI will begin to download the block chain. This step will take at least several days, and it may take much more time on a slow Internet connection or with a slow computer. During the download, Bitcoin Core will use a significant part of your connection bandwidth. You can stop Bitcoin Core at any time by closing it; it will resume from the point where it stopped the next time you start it.

Bitcoin-Qt Initial Block Download

After download is complete, you may use Bitcoin Core as your wallet or you can just let it run to help support the Bitcoin network.

Optional: Start Your Node At Login

Starting your node automatically each time you login to your computer makes it easy for you to contribute to the network. The easiest way to do this is to tell Bitcoin Core GUI to start at login.

While running Bitcoin Core GUI, open the Settings menu and choose Options. On the Main tab, click Start Bitcoin on system login. Click the Ok button to save the new settings.

Choosing to start Bitcoin Core at login

The next time you login to your desktop, Bitcoin Core GUI will be automatically started minimized in the task bar.

Warning: to prevent data corruption, do not force shutdown your computer from the Windows shutdown screen when you have Bitcoin Core running.

You have now completed installing Bitcoin Core. If you have any questions, please ask in one of Bitcoin’s many communities, such as Bitcoin StackExchangeBitcoinTalk technical support, or the #bitcoin IRC chatroom on Freenode.

To support the Bitcoin network, you also need to allow incoming connections. Please read the Network Configuration section for details.

Bitcoin Core Daemon

To start Bitcoin Core daemon, first open a command window: press the Windows key (⊞ Win) and type “cmd”. Choose the option labeled “Command Prompt”.

Running cmd

If you installed Bitcoin Core into the default directory, type the following at the command prompt:

C:\Program Files\Bitcoin\daemon\bitcoind -daemon

Bitcoin Core daemon should start and print a message that Bitcoin Core is starting.

To interact with Bitcoin Core daemon, you will use the command bitcoin-cli(Bitcoin command line interface). If you installed Bitcoin Core into the default location, type the following at the command prompt to see whether it works:

C:\Program Files\Bitcoin\daemon\bitcoin-cli getblockchaininfo

Note: it may take up to several minutes for Bitcoin Core to start, during which it will display the following message whenever you use bitcoin-cli:

error: {"code":-28,"message":"Verifying blocks..."}

After it starts, you may find the following commands useful for basic interaction with your node: getblockchaininfogetnetworkinfogetnettotalsgetwalletinfo,stop, and help.

For example, to safely stop your node, run the following command:

C:\Program Files\Bitcoin\daemon\bitcoin-cli stop

A complete list of commands is available in the Bitcoin.org developer reference.

When Bitcoin Core daemon first starts, it will begin to download the block chain. This step will take at least several days, and it may take much more time on a slow Internet connection or with a slow computer. During the download, Bitcoin Core will use a significant part of your connection bandwidth. You can stop Bitcoin Core at any time using the stop command; it will resume from the point where it stopped the next time you start it.

Optional: Start Your Node At Boot

Starting your node automatically each time your computer boots makes it easy for you to contribute to the network. The easiest way to do this is to start Bitcoin Core daemon when you login to your computer.

Start File Explorer and go to,

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp

Right-click on the File Explorer window and choose New → Text file. Name the file start_bitcoind.bat. Then right-click on it and choose Open in Notepad (or whatever editor you prefer). Copy and paste the following line into the file.

C:\Program Files\Bitcoin\daemon\bitcoind -daemon

(If you installed Bitcoin Core in a non-default directory, use that directory path instead.)

Save the file. The next time you login to your computer, Bitcoin Core daemon will be automatically started.

Warning: to prevent data corruption, do not force shutdown your computer from the Windows shutdown screen when you have Bitcoin Core running.

You have now completed installing Bitcoin Core. If you have any questions, please ask in one of Bitcoin’s many communities, such as Bitcoin StackExchangeBitcoinTalk technical support, or the #bitcoin IRC chatroom on Freenode.

To support the Bitcoin network, you also need to allow incoming connections. Please read the Network Configuration section for details.

Windows 8.x

Instructions for Bitcoin Core 0.14.2 on Windows 8 and 8.1.

Go to the Bitcoin Core download page and verify you have made a secure connection to the server.

Verify secure connection

Click the large blue Download Bitcoin Core button to download the Bitcoin Core installer to your desktop.

Optional: Verify the release signatures

If you know how to use PGP, you should also click the Verify Release Signatures link on the download page to download a signed list of SHA256 file hashes. The 0.11 and later releases are signed by Wladimir J. van der Laan’s releases key with the fingerprint:

01EA 5486 DE18 A882 D4C2  6845 90C8 019E 36C2 E964

Earlier releases were signed by Wladimir J. van der Laan’s regular key. That key’s fingerprint is:

71A3 B167 3540 5025 D447  E8F2 7481 0B01 2346 C9A6

Even earlier releases were signed by Gavin Andresen’s key. His primary key’s fingerprint is:

2664 6D99 CBAE C9B8 1982  EF60 29D9 EE6B 1FC7 30C1

You should verify these keys belong to their owners using the web of trust or other trustworthy means. Then use PGP to verify the signature on the release signatures file. Finally, use PGP or another utility to compute the SHA256 hash of the archive you downloaded, and ensure the computed hash matches the hash listed in the verified release signatures file.

After downloading the file to your desktop or your Downloads folder (C:\Users\<YOUR USER NAME>\Downloads), run it by double-clicking its icon. Windows will ask you to confirm that you want to run it. Click Yes and the Bitcoin installer will start. It’s a typical Windows installer, and it will guide you through the decisions you need to make about where to install Bitcoin Core.

Windows 7 installer start

To continue, choose one of the following options

  1. If you want to use the Bitcoin Core Graphical User Interface (GUI), proceed to the Bitcoin Core GUI section below.
  2. If you want to use the Bitcoin Core daemon (bitcoind), which is useful for programmers and advanced users, proceed to the Bitcoin Core Daemonsection below.
  3. To want to use both the GUI and the daemon, read both the GUI instructions and the daemon instructions. Note that you can’t run both the GUI and the daemon at the same time using the same configuration directory.

Bitcoin Core GUI

Press the Windows key (⊞ Win) and start typing “bitcoin”. When the Bitcoin Core icon appears (as shown below), click on it.

Starting Bitcoin Core

You will be prompted to choose a directory to store the Bitcoin block chain and your wallet. Unless you have a separate partition or drive you want to use, click Ok to use the default.

Bitcoin-Qt Welcome

Your firewall may block Bitcoin Core from making outbound connections. It’s safe to allow Bitcoin Core to use all networks. (Note: you will still need to configure inbound connections as described later in the Network Configuration section.)

Opening outgoing firewall for Bitcoin Core

Bitcoin Core GUI will begin to download the block chain. This step will take at least several days, and it may take much more time on a slow Internet connection or with a slow computer. During the download, Bitcoin Core will use a significant part of your connection bandwidth. You can stop Bitcoin Core at any time by closing it; it will resume from the point where it stopped the next time you start it.

Bitcoin-Qt Initial Block Download

After download is complete, you may use Bitcoin Core as your wallet or you can just let it run to help support the Bitcoin network.

Optional: Start Your Node At Login

Starting your node automatically each time you login to your computer makes it easy for you to contribute to the network. The easiest way to do this is to tell Bitcoin Core GUI to start at login.

While running Bitcoin Core GUI, open the Settings menu and choose Options. On the Main tab, click Start Bitcoin on system login. Click the Ok button to save the new settings.

Choosing to start Bitcoin Core at login

The next time you login to your desktop, Bitcoin Core GUI will be automatically started minimized in the task bar.

Warning: to prevent data corruption, do not force shutdown your computer from the Windows shutdown screen when you have Bitcoin Core running.

You have now completed installing Bitcoin Core. If you have any questions, please ask in one of Bitcoin’s many communities, such as Bitcoin StackExchangeBitcoinTalk technical support, or the #bitcoin IRC chatroom on Freenode.

To support the Bitcoin network, you also need to allow incoming connections. Please read the Network Configuration section for details.