Notes on running a full Bitcoin node

I started running a full Bitcoin node this morning, as a trial.

Since I already have an always-on home server, "Why?" is more of a "Why not?" I can make the network a little more resistant to a "51% attack" where a group (probably a mining pool) becomes large enough to threaten the consensus-based trust system.

Setup

My home server is beefy enough to host several services. Isolation is accomplished with containers which are bridged onto the home network. The router forwards the TCP port to the container.

The container was created with lxc's template system. One thing I like about the Gentoo template (lxc-gentoo) is that it automatically mounts the host's portage directory into the container, eliminating duplication of files and syncing effort. Here are the advanced options provided by the template:

The -B lvm --fssize 100G specifies that the root filesystem is created with a logical volume as backing store. This places hard boundaries on the container disk size.

I disabled the wallet use flag, so the daemon runs with no wallet. If the server or container are compromised, there's nothing to steal.

Also the upnp use flag is disabled. It's not clear from web searches what behavior the flag enables. I think it causes the daemon to advertise its service on the local network. However, some folks think it signals the home router to automatically open its firewall port 8333, so that I don't have to manually configure the port forwarding on the router. This last thing seems certainly wrong, but either way it's a feature I don't need.

Status

Eight connections are the daemon connecting out to receive data, and so the remaining 26 are me dishing out data to the network.

I will cease to host the node if I encouter any adverse effects. I have been streaming Netflix and Pandora, however, and haven't noticed any kind of latency or breaks in the stream. So far, so good.

12/18/2014 by stasibear Permalink