Pros and Cons of Running Your Own Node
What are blockchain nodes?
Blockchain nodes refer to a network’s stakeholders and/or their devices, and they play an important role in serving the Web3 and Crypto ecosystem.
You can learn more about nodes and their installation in our guide to Geth nodes on the Alchemy site.
In this article, we’re going to break down what it means to run a node and the benefits and downsides of running your full node compared to running a node on Alchemy.
What does it mean to run a node?
By running a node, your device would keep a copy of the distributed ledger, serving as a point that executes network functions. The purpose of a node is to verify the validity of each succeeding batch of network transactions, called blocks.
What is an Ethereum Node?
An Ethereum node is a node that operates on the Ethereum blockchain typically in three main ways: light, full, and archive. You can read more about the different types of nodes and what a node provider does in the article What is a Blockchain Node Provider? And Why Do I Need One?
Why run an Ethereum node?
In short, running an Ethereum node helps boost the security and developer environment for a blockchain. Ethereum nodes can even generate some income for validators.
With more security and self-sufficient deployment, running an Ethereum node is an option some people resort to. This supports the Ethereum network and makes the network more robust.
What are the benefits of running an Ethereum node?
There are five main benefits of running an Ethereum node: privacy and security, censorship resistance, decentralization, distributed control, and sovereignty.
1. Privacy and Security
When using public nodes, your transactions are at risk of being vulnerable to leaks. Running a new Eth node enables your wallet to privately and securely interact with the blockchain.
Your node will disregard nodes that distribute invalid transactions. All transactions occurring are verified locally on your own machine, which makes the node fully independent.
2. Censorship Resistance
Generating your own node enables you to have guaranteed broadcasted transactions to the rest of the network at any time.
If you use third-party nodes, they could potentially block transactions from your specific IP address.
Running a node supports the act of decentralization making users participants of a network. Services that are centralized have a lot of computing power and are easier to be targeted since a single entity enables a single point of failure.
With decentralization, more nodes mean that there are fewer barriers to vulnerability. More nodes geographically distributed means that there is less reliance on centralized points of failure.
4. Distributed Control
Unlike how a centralized entity has the power to make changes and decisions, staking into a network allows you to be able to support new decisions or not.
Finally, running your own node gives you full custody of your digital assets since you now have control of connecting your private keys to your addresses. You now have the choice to run a full copy of the Ethereum blockchain to yourself.
What are the benefits of running your own node?
Running a self-hosted node has 3 main benefits, including running Ethereum trustless, increased privacy, and benefitting the network as a whole.
1. “Don’t trust, verify”
The benefits to running your own node are mainly because you’re running Ethereum in a trustless manner, hence “Don’t trust, verify”.
Running your own node means you don’t need to rely on any other nodes within the network. Your own node verifies all transactions and blocks. If other nodes experience outages or problems, your node won’t be affected.
Running your own full node means you don’t have to trust anyone. You only need to trust yourself.
Not only will your node still run regardless if other nodes shut down, but you won’t need to share addresses and balances with other random nodes. Your own client will be able to check everything independently.
Dapps can be more secure and private if you run your own node. Wallets like Metamask can point to your local nodes and custom RPC endpoints.
You’ll be able to connect your node with Inter-process Communications (IPC). This rewrites the node to load programs as plugins with the lowest latency possible.
3. Network benefits
Lastly, if you run your own node, you’re benefiting the Ethereum network, which is important to fully accept blocks alongside security in full nodes. This supports the proof-of-work consensus and prevents other miners from attacking the network.
What are some problems with running your own node?
There are three main problems with running a node on your own compared to developing on a web3 infrastructure provider, including that it comes with high maintenance costs, it can be time-consuming, and it can be unreliable.
1. High maintenance
Running your own full node requires a lot of dedicated hardware, including a lot of RAM. Although RAM may not be a problem for most modern computers, running a full node requires a lot more free disk space.
This is because a full node’s role involves downloading and validating transactions. Full nodes could also exceed the upload limits of your internet connection provider, so an unmetered connection is preferred.
High maintenance costs include:
- An average of $86k/year in costs
- $2k-5k/month in AWS costs
- $4800/month of engineering time
The process of running and maintaining blockchain nodes involves a lot of technical issues, which can be very difficult and time-consuming. With heavy expenses, it often doesn’t seem like a viable option to create and maintain a blockchain node yourself.
Time Consumption issues include:
- Teams waste 25% of engineering resources managing nodes
- It takes 3-6 months to develop robust infrastructure
- Failures can be catastrophic, requiring up to 3 weeks to recover
Those who run their own node can run the risk of losing their keys and passwords or damaging hardware. This can come with lost data, which is crucial for teams and users. Not only would this result in financial penalties, but can result in your stake being permanently slashed. If your node is compromised, it could take a long time, possibly years, before you’ll be able to regain access.
Unreliability issues include:
- Nodes on average have issues once every 5 days:
- CPU spikes, memory leaks, disk issues
- Inconsistent peering
- Corrupted internal databases
- Transaction broadcasting issues
- Frequent bugs + regressions
- 1 in 6 “stable releases” are broken
How Alchemy helps solve problems of running your own node
Alchemy is the leading platform for powering the top Web3 decentralized applications on chains such as Ethereum, Polygon, Optimism, Arbitrum, Flow, and much more. Below is a list of tools that Alchemy provides to ensure you’ll be taken care of while running a node within their services.
Since there can be many obstacles and problems with running your own node, Alchemy provides the industry-leading Web3 API in order for developers to scale node functionality.
Alchemy Supernode is our web3 node infrastructure engine that replaces the typical self-hosted blockchain node, with unparalleled advantages:
- 1,000+ engineering hours saved per year
- 99.9% reliability
- Dynamic scalability: as you scale, we scale
- 100% Data correctness
- Instant on (no setup or sync times)
- Instant testnet
- Enhanced APIs
Alchemy does not only provide a Supernode developer API. They also provide an in-house suite of tools to catch errors and ship faster than ever. Within Alchemy build, you’ll be able to instantly search through millions of requests, view real-time mempool transactions, make JSON-RPC calls directly, and more.
Alchemy Build is our powerful suite of developer tools to help you spend less time debugging, and more time creating:
- 25% faster product development
- Composer: test out API calls in real-time
- Explorer: search through historical requests to debug and optimize
- Mempool visualizer: see the real-time state of transactions in the mempool
- Real-Time query visualizer
Alchemy ensures that your apps are healthy and prevents issues before happening. We provide a command center to instantly check response times, usage analytics, insights for deep dives, and alerts alongside daily reports so that you never lose touch.
Alchemy Monitor is a monitoring tool to provide you with the data necessary to understand the health and growth of your app:
- 5 hours less per issue on average
- Application monitoring and alerts
- Dashboard with App details
- Geographic visualization: know where your users are located
- Usage measurement: understand how your app is being used
Alchemy Notify provides timely notifications on the most important Web3 events, bringing the power of push notifications now at the palm of your hands.
Notifications are now available on the blockchain with Alchemy Notify. This includes mined and dropped transactions, address activity webhooks, and tracking gas. With easy integration, you’ll be able to receive the most powerful webhooks and unreal results.
- Improved UX, Engagement, and Retention
- Transactions Mined
- Transactions Dropped
- Two-Click Process
Alchemy has expert, hands-on support, dedicated for all customers.
In addition, the Alchemy Status Page updates users and reflects the status of our APIs with 100% accuracy.
- 98% Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score
- Direct access to core engineers
- Advising on building product
- Connections to other people in the industry
Feel free to join Alchemy’s Discord and Telegram (Enterprise tier Alchemy users).
For urgent requests, send a support ticket to [email protected]!
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