How to run a OpenEthereum (ex-parity client) Node

Sahil Sen
October 31, 2020

What is an Ethereum node or client?

Ethereum nodes are computers participating in Ethereum blockchain network, these nodes are actual computers running software that verifies, stores, and sometimes creates blocks. The actual software is called a "client" and it allows us to interact with the blockchain using the JSON-RPC API, parse and verify the blockchain, and read or write to smart-contracts.

Ethereum is reaching far more developers than ever. With this growth adoption of Ethereum, there has been a flow of multiple Ethereum clients in the industry. Aleth, Geth, and Trinity are the official libraries written and maintained by the Ethereum foundation. Meanwhile, Parity (now known as OpenEthereum) and Hyperledger Besu are two of the most popular third-party clients.

OpenEthereum (ex-parity client) is the second most popular Ethereum client right after Geth, It is aimed to be the fastest, lightest, and most secure Ethereum Client. It’s written in the Rust programming language and maintained by a group of core OpenEthereum developers and other contributors. In this article, we will learn how to run a Parity node.

Why use OpenEthereum (ex-parity client)?

OpenEthereum (ex-parity client) is a lightweight and high-performance client used to interact with the Ethereum network. Running a full node requires knowledge and resources which may not be feasible in everyone's one case.

OpenEthereum is a reliable Ethereum client with the support of multiple types of syncs.

OpenEthereum provides:

  • Modular codebase, so you can customize based on your need
  • Advanced CLI-based client
  • Minimal memory and storage footprint
  • Multiple Synchronization techniques able to sync blockchain in hours

Read more about OpenEthereum, its benefits and features on GitHub.

Disk space and hardware/computational requirements

Running an Ethereum mainnet node requires a lot of computational resources because downloading the blockchain and validating processes needs very high CPU and Disk IO resources.

To run a full node, our basic recommended hardware specs include a multi-core CPU, at least 8GB RAM, and an SSD drive with at least 500GB of free space, mounted locally. Plus a good internet connection is always an uncompromisable factor.

Note: You can use a mounted drive, but may suffer strange performance issues such as dropped blocks or slow syncing.

Node performance can be improved by using caching features, by telling OpenEthereum to access the state from memory instead of from your disk, simply specify the `--cache-size` flag. This will require you to have additional RAM storage equivalent to the state size of the blockchain which is over 8GB, this means you should upgrade to 16GB or even 32GB of RAM.

Storage requirement keeps on increasing everyday as the blockchain increases, the most expensive storage requirement at the time when this guide was written is to run a n archive node with Fat DB enabled which is more than 4TB.

Installing OpenEthereum Client

We can run/install OpenEthereum client from the pre-built binaries, follows the steps below:

Linux

  • Download the latest Linux binary from here
  • Make the openethereum file executable by running
 chmod u+x openethereum
  • Launch openethereum Ethereum with your favorite flags:
 ./openethereum --chain dev --jsonrpc-apis personal

Mac

  • Download the latest mac binary from here
  • Open the terminal and navigate to the directory 
 cd /path/to/binary/folder/
  • Make the binary executable by running 
chmod +x openethereum
  • You can now double click on the binary.

- Another option to install OpenEthereum on Mac is through Homebrew:
  • Homebrew is a package manager for macOS, installation instructions for which can be found here
  • To add OpenEthereum to your homebrew packages open the terminal and type the following:
brew tap openethereum/openethereum
  • Now to install OpenEthereum with Homebrew
brew install openethereum
  • To update OpenEthereum to the latest version you can use:
brew upgrade openethereum


Windows

  • For windows simply download the latest binary from here, unpack and install the packages.

Suggested flag configuration

After lots of trials and tribulations, we've found a config that works well that we're willing to share. We have some additional flag explanation in the next section but this is the set of flags that have helped us serve billions of requests per month on a limited number of machines:

openethereum --jsonrpc-hosts all --jsonrpc-apis traces,shh,web3,eth,net,parity,rpc --ws-origins=all --ws-hosts=all --chain mainnet --pruning fast --tracing on --jsonrpc-port=8547 --tx-queue-size=16384 --tx-queue-mem-limit=0 --ws-interface=all --jsonrpc-interface=all

Additional flag configuration

Here is some other helpful flags you can run OpenEthereum with that may be useful for specific situations:

  • For seeing all other flags and general help:
$ openethereum --help

  • For enabling APIs which aren't enabled by default (APIs: API name):
--jsonrpc-apis APIs

  • For Trace filtering/Trace mode, openethereum must be fully synced and it can be turned on with the following flag:
$ openethereum --tracing on

  • For specifying port of HTTP JSON-RPC API server (default: 8545):
--jsonrpc-port=[PORT]

  • For Disabling HTTP JSON RPC-API server
--no-jsonrpc

  • For specifying port of WebSocket JSON-RPC API server (default: 8546):
--ws-port=[PORT]

  • For Disabling WebSocket JSON RPC-API server:
--no-ws

  • For configuration i.e dev, mining, etc ([dev], [mining]):
--config=[CONFIG]

  • For archive mode:
--pruning archive 

  • To get the node up without ancient blocks:
--no-ancient-blocks    

Conclusion

OpenEthereum is a solid choice for your Ethereum node running purposes.

If you run into problems while installing OpenEthereum, check out the wiki for documentation, or ask for help in the OpenEthereum Discord chat room.

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Sahil Sen
Web developer who believes in power of communities and is passionate about community building. Developer evangelist @ QuikNode.

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