Dedicated vs. Shared Solana Nodes: Which is better?
Whether you are working on a decentralized application (dapp), building a smart contract, or simply want to participate in the Solana network as a validator, choosing the right type of node is crucial.
Dedicated nodes offer complete control and potentially better performance, but they also come with higher costs and maintenance responsibilities. On the other hand, shared nodes are more cost-effective and require less work, but they also come with some limitations and potential security risks.
In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive overview of dedicated vs. shared Solana nodes so that you can choose the best one for your needs.
What are Solana nodes?
Solana nodes are powerful computers that run the Solana software, forming an secure interconnected blockchain network. As part of this cluster, every node works collectively to ensure that Solana is secure and reliable for everyone utilizing its services.
Solana nodes can be either Remote Procedure Call (RPC) or validator nodes, depending on the specific functionality they are designed to provide.
What are RPC nodes?
RPC nodes allow developers to interact with the Solana network and perform various functions, such as querying the blockchain and broadcasting transactions. They do not participate in the consensus process and do not validate transactions, but they are still an essential part of the Solana ecosystem.
What are Validator nodes?
Validator nodes are responsible for verifying transactions and adding them to the Solana blockchain. They participate in the consensus process and play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and security of the network. Both RPC nodes and validator nodes can be either dedicated or shared.
Types of Solana Node Providers
To run a Solana application, you need to get your node from a provider to power your dapp or participate in the Solana network. While you can host your own node, most developers will opt to use a third-party Solana node provider.
Instead of handling the technical details and maintenance tasks, developers can simply choose a SNaaS (Solana Nodes as a Service) provider and get started quickly. This can save time and resources, allowing developers to focus on building their applications instead of worrying about the underlying hardware and infrastructure.
There are two main types of Solana node providers:
- Shared Solana nodes
- Dedicated Solana nodes
What are shared Solana nodes?
Shared Solana nodes are servers that are used by multiple independent developers to read and write data to the Solana blockchain. Shared nodes can be owned and operated by a single entity or a group of entities. They are used to perform various functions within the Solana ecosystem, such as verifying transactions, querying the blockchain, and broadcasting transactions.
Simply put, they are nodes hosted on a shared server with other users.
Shared Solana nodes are a cost-effective and convenient way for developers to access the Solana network and perform various tasks. They allow multiple parties to share the cost of operating a node and reduce the maintenance burden on individual parties.
Pros and Cons of Shared Solana Nodes
Shared vs. Public Nodes
While shared Solana nodes may seem like public nodes, they are not: public nodes are available to everyone, whereas shared nodes are available to customers of the Solana provider. However, many RPC providers offer a free tier of access for developers learning about Solana.
Shared nodes can be a good option for developers who are looking for a more cost-effective and simple way to access the Solana network, but they also come with some limitations that should be considered.
Shared Solana RPC Node Providers
Alchemy is a shared Solana RPC node provider offering Solana developers reliable and scalable infrastructure. Our range of APIs and tools make it easy to connect to the Solana network and build applications on top of it.
Alchemy is known for its fast and reliable infrastructure, which can benefit developers who need fast response times and high performance on par with the Solana mainnet. Alchemy also offers a range of features and tools that can help developers build and scale their applications on the Solana network.
With Alchemy Supernode's infinitely scalable infrastructure, individual developers and businesses can deploy production-ready Solana dapps with minimal effort. This will significantly reduce the time and associated costs.
What are dedicated Solana nodes?
Dedicated Solana nodes are servers that are solely dedicated to a single entity, and are not shared with any other parties. Dedicated Solana nodes offer a number of benefits, including complete control and potentially better performance. However, they also come with higher costs and maintenance responsibilities.
Dedicated nodes are a good option for developers looking for isolated and customizable environments, but they may not be the most cost-effective or straightforward solution for all developers.
Pros and Cons of Dedicated Solana Nodes
Running Your Own Solana Node vs. Using a Dedicated Node Provider
There are several factors to consider when trying to figure out whether to run your own node or use a dedicated node provider.
Setting up and configuring a Solana node requires a high level of technical expertise. It can sometimes get tricky, even for an experienced developer. Using a dedicated node provider is better if you don't have the necessary skills.
Spinning up your own node is expensive, and there are ongoing maintenance costs to consider. Using a dedicated node provider is a more cost-effective option in most cases, including large-scale enterprises.
Running your own node may offer better performance compared to using a shared node provider because you have complete control over the node. However, ensuring that you have the resources and expertise to optimize the node for performance is important. A dedicated node provider may also offer good performance, depending on the provider and available resources.
If you run your own node, you have complete control over the node and can customize it to meet your specific needs and requirements. However, this requires expertise and resources to set up and maintain the node. Using a dedicated node provider may offer some customization options, but you may be limited by the resources and expertise of the provider.
Maintaining a Solana node requires ongoing technical expertise and resources. If you are short on either of these, it is better to use a dedicated node provider.
Does Alchemy provide dedicated Solana nodes?
Currently, Alchemy does not provide dedicated Solana nodes. Alchemy supports shared nodes, and provides access to Solana's Devnet.
What type of Solana RPC node should I use?
The type of Solana RPC node you should use depends on several factors, including the size and scope of your project, budget, and expertise. If you are looking for the fastest, most reliable, and cost-effective option, creating an account with Alchemy is the best option. If you need full control over the node, it will be best to either run your own, or pay for a dedicated node from a different Solana RPC provider.