Setting up a Debian-based Bitcoin node

I’ve previously mentioned how fullnode.co is a scam.

However, I was a bit too optimistic about the state of Bitcoin availability
on mainstream Linux distributions, and the state of Debian.

As it turns out, there is a bitcoind for squeeze, but not for the more recent wheezy. Not that it matters, as that version is way too old to be useful.

There is however a bitcoind in unstable. And that’s where Debian sucks: it’s still too damn hard for most users to deviate from the main repository.

I feared that bitcoind would not be started automatically after the installation like most daemons (which would be for good reasons, given the resource requirements). Well, it’s worse: there is no init script at all!

So my easy Debian instructions did not work and the real ones won’t fit in a few commands. That’s why I made bitcoin-node, a simple fire-and-forget script to properly upgrade and configure a Debian server into a public Bitcoin node. It also has the added bonus of running bitcoind without the wallet feature, to lower the resource requirements and reduce the attack surface. In the end, my main goal is achieved: you mostly have to trust Debian to get you a good binary.

I recommend that you check out LowEndBox for cheap VPS offers. Look for at least 30 GB of storage (you don’t need SSD), and 512 MB of memory (part of it can be swap). This should cost you around $20 a year; sometimes less if you find a good promotion. That’s clearly better than what fullnode.co offers.

Then get the script, it’s pretty straightforward; you shouldn’t have to be overly technical to run it.

4 Responses to “Setting up a Debian-based Bitcoin node”


  • Hi, i got the following error with the script:

    Setting up plymouth (0.9.0-7) …
    /var/lib/dpkg/info/plymouth.postinst: 13: /var/lib/dpkg/info/plymouth.postinst: deb-systemd-helper: not found
    dpkg: error processing plymouth (–configure):
    subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 127
    Errors were encountered while processing:
    plymouth
    E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)
    root@aulabitcoin:~# cd /var/lib/dpkg/info/

    Any idea?

  • Some Debian update issue. I suppose that’s to be expected for an unreleased version… but it also seems the only way to install the bitcoind package provide by Debian.

    Let’s hope things settle down after the planned freeze.

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