A Complete Guide to Ethereum's Rinkeby Testnet
The Rinkeby testnet is an Ethereum testnet that developers use to test and perfect their own decentralized applications. The network is run by pre-authorized nodes, which prevents spam attacks and increases performance. Developers can use a Rinkeby Faucet to get free testnet ETH and test their smart contracts without the risk of losing real financial assets.
This article will explain the Rinkeby testnet and its main uses. We’ll discuss how the Rinkeby testnet uses the proof of authority (PoA) consensus mechanism to create a great environment for Ethereum development.
Finally, we’ll show how to get Rinkeby testnet ETH from a Rinkeby faucet, how to send testnet ETH to other wallets, and we’ll explain the best Rinkeby testnet tools to help accelerate your journey developing dApps.
The Rinkeby testnet is mainly used for blockchain testing before deployment on the Ethereum mainnet. It is a fork of the Ethereum mainnet.
The Rinkeby testnet currently supports the following node clients: Geth, Besu, Nethermind, and OpenEthereum.
Because it’s a testnet, the currency is worthless. You can’t mine ETH within the Rinkeby testnet, only request it. Authorized nodes can only create new blocks, meaning no other nodes can be awarded mining rewards.
You can get testnet Ether on testnet Rinkeby with the URL rinkebyfaucet.com. Testnet ether is only available via the authenticated faucet.
When did Rinkeby launch?
The Ethereum team launched the Rinkeby testnet in 2017 using a modified proof of authority consensus model, and will be deprecated in favor of using the Goerli testnet, another popular testnet that uses the proof of authority consensus mechanism.
Rinkeby uses proof of authority (PoA), which is a modified form of Proof of Stake (PoS). Instead of staking with something that has monetary value, a validator’s identity performs the staking to provide high performance while also giving fault tolerance. The PoA consensus protocol is now maintained by the Geth team.
There are currently about 11,000,000 blocks on the network and as of 2021, Rinkeby had about 50 million transactions. There are 46 active nodes in the Rinkeby testnet, and the block time for the Rinkeby testnet is about 15 seconds. The max limit a block can be filled up with transactions is about 41,000.
The Block gas limit for the Rinkeby testnet is about 30 million gas. The gas limit refers to the max price a cryptocurrency pays when sending a transaction, or performing a smart contract function in the Ethereum blockchain.
Fees are calculated in gas units, and the gas limit defines the maximum value that the transaction or function can "charge" or take from the user. With the gas price at about 1,000 gwei and 0.1 h/s average network hash rate, it’s able to provide 100% uptime with 30-80 ms page latency.
For the most up-to-date stats, check out the Rinkeby statistics page.
Many developers prefer Rinkeby because it’s more centralized compared to to PoW testnets like Ropsten that can be easily spammed. Using PoA enhances security overall in comparison to PoW.
Developers also choose Rinkeby over other testnets due to its faster block time. Ropsten has a block time of about 30 seconds, but Rinkeby cuts that time in half.
The chain data size for Rinkeby is only about 6GB. That means if you wanted to run an Ethereum node for Rinkeby, it wouldn’t require a large amount of data size compared to other testnets.
Overall, Rinkeby is often known to be more reliable and faster than other testnets.
What are some disadvantages to using Rinkeby?
One disadvantage to using Rinkeby is that its proof of authority blockchain consensus model doesn’t fully simulate the production environment. This is different from the Ropsten testnet where miners on the network have a financial incentive to maintain the testnet itself. The Ropsten testnet also uses a PoW consensus mechanism, which makes it identical to the current Ethereum consensus mechanism which also uses Proof of Work.
Unlike the Kovan testnet, Rinkeby’s testnet supports Geth software and not Parity.
How do developers use the Rinkeby testnet?
The main use case for using the Rinkeby testnet is for developers to test their applications in a controlled testing environment that functions like Mainnet Ethereum without taking the financial risk to execute smart contracts, iterate application features, and perform functionality.
Rinkeby is famously used by well-known companies such as OpenSea, Manifold Studios, and Rarible. They deploy their marketplaces on Rinkeby and Rarible to deploy their NFT marketplaces on Rinkeby before deploying on mainnet.
Developers also use the testnet as an educational tool. Often, developers make several mistakes along their journey. Using a testnet enables them to enhance their understanding of how to use the main network better in the future.
Finally, developers use Rinkeby to test upgrades to the underlying platforms. This is essential to create better developer tools for the Web3 ecosystem and to create more libraries, better documentation, and essential feedback overall.
All these use cases relate to creating a safe space for developers to thrive. Without testnets like Rinkeby, developers would bear the consequences of potentially losing real-world assets, and they would have to be more careful interacting with their smart contracts.
You can easily receive testnet ETH through a testnet faucet. Testnet faucets exist so developers can request funds and continue testing applications without real financial risk.
Alchemy’s Rinkeby faucet is one of the most used and reliable faucets up to date. Here is how to make a test account for a Rinkeby faucet:
Step 1: Sign up
This is very important. Sign up for a free Alchemy account to get five times as many testnet Ether tokens as you would without an Alchemy account.
Step 2: Change your Network in Metamask
Open Metamask and click the network name located at the top right of the window.
Step 3: Add the Rinkeby Test Network
Click the Add Network button at the bottom of the pop-up window.
Step 4: Enter the Rinkeby Test Network Details
Feel free to select the Rinkeby Test Network already provided from Metamask by default.
If you signed up for a free Alchemy account, you will be able to get your new RPC URL from the dashboard after creating a new app with the Rinkeby Testnet. This will give you more features and abilities provided by Alchemy as your new RPC URL node provider.
- Network Name: Rinkeby Testnet
- New RPC URL: https://eth-rinkeby.alchemyapi.io/v2/your-api-key
- Chain ID: 4
- Currency Symbol: ETH
- Block Explorer URL: https://rinkeby.etherscan.io/
Step 5: Get Free Rinkeby ETH
To request funds, enter your wallet address and hit “Send Me ETH”.
Remember, if you log in with Alchemy, you’ll receive 5x the amount of ETH for free.
Note: We support wallets as received addresses but not smart contracts.
There you have it, you now instantly have testnet ETH in your Metamask wallet.
As always, please try it out and share this with developers building on the Rinkeby testnet that need fake ETH tokens.
If you have any feedback, feel free to let us know in Discord!
Sending testnet ETH works the same as it does on the Ethereum Mainnet. Once you’ve connected to the Rinkeby testnet network and received testnet ETH, follow these steps:
Step 1: Select "Send" on the Rinkeby Test Network
Select the send button within your Metamask wallet. Make sure you are connected to the Rinkeby Test Network, and then click the send button to send test ETH to another Rinkeby account.
Step 2: Paste the Recipients Rinkeby Address
From here, paste in the address of the wallet that will receive your testnet ETH. In this example, we’ll use our Test Account 2 wallet address to send 0.01 ETH.
Step 3. Confirm the Transaction to Send Rinkeby ETH
Click confirm to send your transaction. Be aware that there are still gas fees within testnets (which have no real value).
That’s it! As you can see, our Test Account 2 wallet now has received 0.01 Rinkeby testnet ETH.
Rinkeby works best with other blockchain developer tools to ensure you have a great experience creating decentralized apps using a modern web3 tech stack. Web3 developers should consider the depth and breadth of developer tooling that is available.
Popular Web3 Libraries
Two of the most used Web3 native libraries include ethers.js and web3.js. These libraries natively support remote procedure calls (RPC) to blockchain nodes hosted on the blockchain interaction layer. This enables more seamless integration into a developer’s Web3 tech stack and reading and writing data to the blockchain.
Alchemy has another Web3 library. The alchemy-web3.js library is a drop-in replacement for web3.js and is built and configured to work seamlessly with Alchemy and provide multiple advantages, such as automatic retries and robust WebSocket support.
Popular Web3 Development Environments
Fortunately, EVM-compatible chains benefit from years of Ethereum development and have a host of battle-hardened options when it comes to development environments.
Hardhat, Truffle, and Brownie are all great options when it comes to development environments in Web3. These developer environments allow developers to compile, test, deploy, and debug Ethereum software and testnets like Rinkeby.
In addition, they come with more tooling and easily customizable local blockchain development environments.
When it comes to decentralized storage, IPFS, Filebase, and Arweave serve as great options. Decentralized storage fills in the gap for expensive and inefficient frontend content like images, videos, and GIFs.
Alchemy’s Rinkeby development platform and dashboard help developers easily configure their needs in building Web3 decentralized applications.
Alchemy’s JSON Composer helps developers create, fix, and share Ethereum requests, making the engineering process much faster.
Finally, Rinkeby’s etherscan is useful to view transactions belonging to any public Ethereum address.
As Web3 grows from its current state to maturity, there will surely be paradigm shifts, new Web3 infrastructure tools, and plenty to learn. Using testnets like Rinkeby is an essential step to developing in Web3 before deploying to Ethereum mainnet.
With the Rinkeby testnet, developers can build while having the security, speed, and scalability alongside additional tools. The Rinkeby testnet has matured to become one of the most used tools by Web3 today.
Join a growing movement of developers—both Web3 natives and fellow travelers from Web2— and together we can build the future!