How to run a bitcoin node — the easy way

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This guide covers a super simple way to run a bitcoin node — no costly extra hardware or complicated setups necessary. All you need is a desktop, or laptop computer, and the ability to follow some simple instructions.

This guide uses Windows 10 for its examples but the instructions are the same on other operating systems.

Why run a bitcoin node?

There are two reasons you should be running your own bitcoin node:

  1. Security & privacy: If your bitcoin wallet is not using your own node then you are trusting a third party to give you accurate information on your transactions and bitcoin balance. You are also leaking all your financial data to them.

Bitcoin is all about removing trust in third-parties — running your own node means you trust no one but yourself with your financial information

2. Supports bitcoin: The second reason you should run your own node is it makes bitcoin as a network stronger. If you are saving in bitcoin, than your wealth is tied directly to the networks health — so making the network more healthy makes yours, and everyone else's, savings more healthy.

Lets get into it!

Step 1: Download bitcoin core

Bitcoin core is the primary bitcoin software that everyone in bitcoin runs. It’s the oldest, most secure, and most trusted software in the whole industry.

You can download bitcoin core by visiting the downloads page on their official website: https://bitcoincore.org/en/download/. Click the big blue button when you are there.

Official bitcoin core download page

Don’t worry about all the extra information below this button. You can come back here once you have your node running for more details.

Step 2: Run bitcoin core

Once you’ve downloaded bitcoin core, run it.

You will be presented with the below screen after a few clicks that gives you some details about Bitcoin core and some storage options. It's recommended to keep everything as is and click ‘OK.’

By default this is what is called a ‘pruned node’ which means you will only be storing a small amount of the bitcoin blockchain — not the entire thing which is close to 500GB!

Step 3: Your node is now running!

So you better go catch it, but seriously that’s it you are now running your own bitcoin node. Your node will likely take some time to finish downloading depending on your PC so be patient.

Your node is now downloading and verifying every transaction that's ever happened on bitcoin, ever!

If you need to turn your device off that's fine. Your node will pick up where it left off when you open the application again.

Once it’s fully downloaded, be sure to open the Bitcoin Core app every now and then so your node stays up to date with the latest history of bitcoin transactions (this means yours and everyone else's).

Feel free to explore Bitcoin Core’s features at your leisure but I would NOT use this as your wallet if you are not an experienced user. You should just use it for its node which this guide has covered.

What next?

Nodes on their own running like this and not being actively used aren’t very useful. Where you really get the value that I mentioned at the start of this article is by USING the node with your bitcoin wallet.

I will have an article up soon explaining how to do just that, it’s also very simple so stay tuned!

Further reading if you want to go deeper: