Testnet Participation

This document describes how to participate in the testnet as a validator node.

Please note some of the information and instructions described here may change in future releases.


The testnet features a validator running at testnet.solana.com, which serves as the entrypoint to the cluster for your validator.

Additionally there is a blockexplorer available at http://testnet.solana.com/.

The testnet is configured to reset the ledger daily, or sooner should the hourly automated cluster sanity test fail.

There is a #validator-support Discord channel available to reach other testnet participants, https://discord.gg/pquxPsq.

Also we'd love it if you choose to register your validator node with us at https://forms.gle/LfFscZqJELbuUP139.

Machine Requirements

Since the testnet is not intended for stress testing of max transaction throughput, a higher-end machine with a GPU is not necessary to participate.

However ensure the machine used is not behind a residential NAT to avoid NAT traversal issues. A cloud-hosted machine works best. Ensure that IP ports 8000 through 10000 are not blocked for Internet inbound and outbound traffic.

Prebuilt binaries are available for Linux x86_64 (Ubuntu 18.04 recommended). MacOS or WSL users may build from source.

For a performance testnet with many transactions we have some preliminary recommended setups:

Low end Medium end High end Notes
CPU AMD Threadripper 1900x AMD Threadripper 2920x AMD Threadripper 2950x Consider a 10Gb-capable motherboard with as many PCIe lanes and m.2 slots as possible.
RAM 16GB 32GB 64GB
OS Drive Samsung 860 Evo 2TB Samsung 860 Evo 4TB Samsung 860 Evo 4TB Or equivalent SSD
Accounts Drive(s) None Samsung 970 Pro 1TB 2x Samsung 970 Pro 1TB
GPU 4x Nvidia 1070 or 2x Nvidia 1080 Ti or 2x Nvidia 2070 2x Nvidia 2080 Ti 4x Nvidia 2080 Ti Any number of cuda-capable GPUs are supported on Linux platforms.

GPU Requirements

CUDA is required to make use of the GPU on your system. The provided Solana release binaries are built on Ubuntu 18.04 with CUDA Toolkit 10.1 update 1". If your machine is using a different CUDA version then you will need to rebuild from source.

Confirm The Testnet Is Reachable

Before attaching a validator node, sanity check that the cluster is accessible to your machine by running some simple commands. If any of the commands fail, please retry 5-10 minutes later to confirm the testnet is not just restarting itself before debugging further.

Fetch the current transaction count over JSON RPC:

$ curl -X POST -H 'Content-Type: application/json' -d '{"jsonrpc":"2.0","id":1, "method":"getTransactionCount"}' http://testnet.solana.com:8899

Inspect the blockexplorer at http://testnet.solana.com/ for activity.

View the metrics dashboard for more detail on cluster activity.

Validator Setup

Obtaining The Software

Bootstrap with solana-install

The solana-install tool can be used to easily install and upgrade the cluster software on Linux x86_64 and mac OS systems.

$ export SOLANA_RELEASE=v0.16.4  # skip this line to install the latest release
$ curl -sSf https://raw.githubusercontent.com/solana-labs/solana/v0.16.4/install/solana-install-init.sh | sh -s

Alternatively build the solana-install program from source and run the following command to obtain the same result:

$ solana-install init

After a successful install, solana-install update may be used to easily update the cluster software to a newer version at any time.

Download Prebuilt Binaries

If you would rather not use solana-install to manage the install, you can manually download and install the binaries.


Download the binaries by navigating to https://github.com/solana-labs/solana/releases/latest, download solana-release-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu.tar.bz2, then extract the archive:

$ tar jxf solana-release-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu.tar.bz2
$ cd solana-release/
$ export PATH=$PWD/bin:$PATH
mac OS

Download the binaries by navigating to https://github.com/solana-labs/solana/releases/latest, download solana-release-x86_64-apple-darwin.tar.bz2, then extract the archive:

$ tar jxf solana-release-x86_64-apple-darwin.tar.bz2
$ cd solana-release/
$ export PATH=$PWD/bin:$PATH
Build From Source

If you are unable to use the prebuilt binaries or prefer to build it yourself from source, navigate to https://github.com/solana-labs/solana/releases/latest, and download the Source Code archive. Extract the code and build the binaries with:

$ ./scripts/cargo-install-all.sh .
$ export PATH=$PWD/bin:$PATH

If building for CUDA, include the cuda feature flag as well:

$ ./scripts/cargo-install-all.sh . cuda
$ export PATH=$PWD/bin:$PATH

Starting The Validator

Sanity check that you are able to interact with the cluster by receiving a small airdrop of lamports from the testnet drone:

$ solana-wallet airdrop 123
$ solana-wallet balance

Also try running following command to join the gossip network and view all the other nodes in the cluster:

$ solana-gossip --entrypoint testnet.solana.com:8001 spy
# Press ^C to exit

Now configure a key pair for your validator by running:

$ solana-keygen new -o ~/validator-keypair.json

Then use one of the following commands, depending on your installation choice, to start the node:

If this is a solana-install-installation:

$ clear-config.sh
$ validator.sh --identity ~/validator-keypair.json --poll-for-new-genesis-block testnet.solana.com

Alternatively, the solana-install run command can be used to run the validator node while periodically checking for and applying software updates:

$ clear-config.sh
$ solana-install run validator.sh -- --identity ~/validator-keypair.json --poll-for-new-genesis-block testnet.solana.com

If you built from source:

$ USE_INSTALL=1 ./multinode-demo/clear-config.sh
$ USE_INSTALL=1 ./multinode-demo/validator.sh --identity ~/validator-keypair.json --poll-for-new-genesis-block testnet.solana.com

Enabling CUDA

By default CUDA is disabled. If your machine has a GPU with CUDA installed, define the SOLANA_CUDA flag in your environment before running any of the previusly mentioned commands

$ export SOLANA_CUDA=1

When your validator is started look for the following log message to indicate that CUDA is enabled: "[<timestamp> solana::validator] CUDA is enabled"

Controlling local network port allocation

By default the validator will dynamically select available network ports in the 8000-10000 range, and may be overridden with --dynamic-port-range. For example, validator.sh --dynamic-port-range 11000-11010 ... will restrict the validator to ports 11000-11011.

Validator Monitoring

When validator.sh starts, it will output a validator configuration that looks similar to:

======================[ validator configuration ]======================
identity pubkey: 4ceWXsL3UJvn7NYZiRkw7NsryMpviaKBDYr8GK7J61Dm
vote pubkey: 2ozWvfaXQd1X6uKh8jERoRGApDqSqcEy6fF1oN13LL2G
ledger: ...
accounts: ...

The identity pubkey for your validator can also be found by running:

$ solana-keygen pubkey ~/validator-keypair.json

From another console, confirm the IP address and identity pubkey of your validator is visible in the gossip network by running:

$ solana-gossip --entrypoint testnet.solana.com:8001 spy

Provide the vote pubkey to the solana-wallet show-vote-account command to view the recent voting activity from your validator:

$ solana-wallet show-vote-account 2ozWvfaXQd1X6uKh8jERoRGApDqSqcEy6fF1oN13LL2G

The vote pubkey for the validator can also be found by running:

# If this is a `solana-install`-installation run:
$ solana-keygen pubkey ~/.local/share/solana/install/active_release/config-local/validator-vote-keypair.json
# Otherwise run:
$ solana-keygen pubkey ./config-local/validator-vote-keypair.json

Validator Metrics

Metrics are available for local monitoring of your validator.

Docker must be installed and the current user added to the docker group. Then download solana-metrics.tar.bz2 from the Github Release and run

$ tar jxf solana-metrics.tar.bz2
$ cd solana-metrics/
$ ./start.sh

A local InfluxDB and Grafana instance is now running on your machine. Define SOLANA_METRICS_CONFIG in your environment as described at the end of the start.sh output and restart your validator.

Metrics should now be streaming and visible from your local Grafana dashboard.

Publishing Validator Info

You can publish your validator information to the chain to be publicly visible to other users.

Run the solana-validator-info CLI to populate a validator-info account:

$ solana-validator-info publish ~/validator-keypair.json <VALIDATOR_NAME> <VALIDATOR_INFO_ARGS>

Optional fields for VALIDATOR_INFO_ARGS:

  • Website
  • Keybase ID
  • Details

Including a Keybase ID allows client applications (like the Solana Network Explorer) to automatically pull in your validator public profile, including cryptographic proofs, brand identity, etc. To connect your validator pubkey with Keybase:

  1. Join https://keybase.io/ and complete the profile for your validator
  2. Add your validator identity pubkey to Keybase:
  • Create an empty file on your local computer called solana_pubkey_<PUBKEY>
  • In Keybase, navigate to the Files section, and upload your pubkey file to your public folder: /keybase/public/<KEYBASE_ID>
  • To check your pubkey, ensure you can successfully browse to https://keybase.pub/<KEYBASE_ID>/solana_pubkey_<PUBKEY>
  1. Add or update your solana-validator-info with your Keybase ID. The CLI will verify the solana_pubkey_<PUBKEY> file