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Build Status Coverage Status License: GPL v3 Join the chat at Dependency Status devDependency Status

Lisk is a next generation crypto-currency and decentralized application platform, written entirely in JavaScript. The official documentation about the whole ecosystem can be found in

Lisk Core is the program that implements the Lisk Protocol. In other words, Lisk Core is what every machine needs to set-up in order to run a node that allows for participation in the network.

This document details how to install Lisk Core from source, but there are two other ways to participate in the network: Binary and Docker images. If you have satisfied the requirements from the Pre-Installation section, you can jumpt directly to the next section Installation Steps.


The next section details the prerequisites to install Lisk Core from source using the different tagged releases.

System Install

  • Tool chain components -- Used for compiling dependencies

    • Ubuntu 14|16 / Debian:

      sudo apt-get update
      sudo apt-get install -y python build-essential curl automake autoconf libtool
    • MacOS 10.12-10.13 (Sierra/High Sierra):

      Make sure that you have both XCode and Homebrew installed on your machine.

      Update homebrew and install dependencies:

      brew update
      brew doctor
      brew install curl automake autoconf libtool
  • Git ( -- Used for cloning and updating Lisk

    • Ubuntu 14|16 / Debian:

      sudo apt-get install -y git
    • MacOS 10.12-10.13 (Sierra/High Sierra):

      brew install git

Node.js (

  • Node.js serves as the underlying engine for code execution.

    Install System wide via package manager:

    • Ubuntu 14|16 / Debian:

      curl -sL | sudo -E bash -
      sudo apt-get install -y nodejs
    • MacOS 10.12-10.13 (Sierra/High Sierra):

      brew install node@8.11.3
  • (Recommended) Install using a version manager such as nvm.

    1. Install nvm following their instructions (
    2. Install the correct version of Node.js using nvm:
    nvm install v8.11.3
  • (Recommended) PM2 ( -- PM2 manages the node process for Lisk

    npm install -g pm2

PostgreSQL (version 9.6):

  • Ubuntu 14|16 / Debian:
curl -sL "" | bash -
sudo -u postgres createuser --createdb $USER
createdb lisk_test
createdb lisk_main
sudo -u postgres psql -d lisk_test -c "alter user "$USER" with password 'password';"
sudo -u postgres psql -d lisk_main -c "alter user "$USER" with password 'password';"
  • MacOS 10.12-10.13 (Sierra/High Sierra):
brew install postgresql@9.6
initdb /usr/local/var/postgres -E utf8
brew services start postgresql@9.6
createdb lisk_test
createdb lisk_main

Installing Redis

  • Ubuntu 14|16 / Debian:
sudo apt-get install redis-server

Start redis:

service redis start

Stop redis:

service redis stop
  • MacOS 10.12-10.13 (Sierra/High Sierra):
brew install redis

Start redis:

brew services start redis

Stop redis:

brew services stop redis

NOTE: Lisk does not run on the Redis default port of 6379. Instead it is configured to run on port: 6380. Because of this, in order for Lisk to run, you have one of two options:

  1. Change the Lisk configuration

Update the redis port configuration in the config.json file to the Redis default redis.port=6379. This is the easiest option, however, be mindful of reverting the changes when you make a pull request.

  1. Change the Redis launch configuration

Update the Redis launch configuration file on your system. Note that their a number of ways to do this. The following is one way:

  1. Stop redis-server
  2. Edit the file redis.conf and change: port 6379 to port 6380
    • Ubuntu 14|16 / Debian: /etc/redis/redis.conf
    • MacOS: /usr/local/etc/redis.conf
  3. Start redis-server

Now confirm that redis is running on port 6380:

redis-cli -p 6380

And you should get the result PONG. TO update the redis port in Lisk configuration, check the section Configuring Lisk

Installation Steps

Before you proceed, you need to decide if you want to connect your node to the Testnet (Test Network), to the Mainnet (Main Network) or to work in your own network. In order to connect your node with the Mainnet for example, clone this Lisk Core repository from the master branch and initialize the modules.

git clone
cd lisk
git checkout master
npm install

Managing Lisk

To test Lisk is built and configured correctly, issue the following command:

node app.js

This will start the lisk instance with devnet configuration. Once the process is verified as running correctly, CTRL+C and start the process with pm2. This will fork the process into the background and automatically recover the process if it fails.

pm2 start --name lisk app.js

After the process is started, its runtime status and log location can be retrieved by issuing the following command:

pm2 show lisk

To stop Lisk after it has been started with pm2, issue the following command:

pm2 stop lisk

NOTE: The port, address and config-path can be overridden by providing the relevant command switch:

pm2 start --name lisk app.js -- -p [port] -a [address] -c [config-path] -n [network]

You can pass any of devnet, alphanet, betanet, testnet or mainnet for the network option.

Configuring Lisk


  1. The Lisk configuration is managed under different folder structures.
  2. Root folder for all configuration is ./config/.
  3. Default configuration file that used as base is config/default/config.json
  4. You can find network specific configurations under config/<network>/config.json
  5. Don't override any value in above mentioned files if you need custom configuration.
  6. Create your own json file and pass it as command line options -c or LISK_CONFIG_FILE
  7. Configurations will be loaded in following order, lowest in the list have highest priority:
    • Default configuration file
    • Network specific configuration file
    • Custom configuration file (if specified by user)
    • Command line configurations, specified as command flags or env variables
  8. For development purposes use devnet as network option, others network are specific to public lisk networks.

Command Line Options

There are plenty of options available that you can use to override configuration on runtime while starting the lisk.

node app.js [options]

Each of that option can be appended on command line. There are also few ENV variables that can be utilized for this purpose.

Option ENV Variable Config Option Description
LISK_NETWORK Which configurations set to use, associated to lisk networks. Any of this option can be used devnet, alphanet, betanet, testnet and mainnet. Default value is devnet.
LISK_CONFIG_FILE Path the custom configuration file, which will override values of config/default/config.json
LISK_WS_PORT wsPort TCP port for P2P layer
LISK_ADDRESS address Listening host name or ip
LISK_FILE_LOG_LEVEL fileLogLevel Log level for file output
LISK_CONSOLE_LOG_LEVEL consoleLogLevel Log level for console output
LISK_CACHE_ENABLED cacheEnabled Enable or disable cache. Must be set to true/false
LISK_DB_NAME db.database PostgreSQL database name to connect
LISK_DB_HOST PostgreSQL database host name
LISK_DB_PORT db.port PostgreSQL database port
LISK_DB_USER db.user PostgreSQL database username to connect
LISK_DB_PASSWORD db.password PostgreSQL database password to connect
LISK_PEERS peers.list Comma separated list of peers to connect in the format,
LISK_API_PUBLIC api.access.public Enable or disable public access of http API. Must be set to true/false
LISK_API_WHITELIST api.access.whiteList Comma separated list of IPs to enable API access. Format,
LISK_FORGING_DELEGATES forging.delegates Comma separated list of delegates to load in the format publicKey|encryptedPassphrase,publicKey2|encryptedPassphrase2
LISK_FORGING_WHITELIST forging.access.whiteList Comma separated list of IPs to enable access to forging endpoints. Format,
Number of round for which take the snapshot. If none specified it will use the highest round available.


  • All ENV variables restricted with operating system constraint of ENV variable maximum length.
  • Comma separated lists will replace the original config values. e.g. If you specify LISK_PEERS, original peers.list specific to network will be replaced completely.

For more detail understanding of configuration read this online documentation


Change Redis Port

Update the redis.port configuration attribute in config/devnet/config.json or any other network you want to configure.


Preparing Node

  1. Recreate the database in order to run the tests against a new blockchain:
dropdb lisk_dev
createdb lisk_dev
  1. Launch Lisk (runs on port 4000):
NODE_ENV=test node app.js

Running Tests

Tests are run using the following command:

npm test -- mocha:<tag>:<suite>:[section]
  • Where tag can be one of default | unstable | slow | extensive (required)
  • Where suite can be one of unit | integration | functional | network (required)
  • Where section depending of the chosen suite can be:
    • when functional --> get | post | ws (optional)


npm test -- mocha:slow:unit
npm test -- mocha:extensive:integration
npm test -- mocha:default:functional
npm test -- mocha:unstable:functional:get
npm test -- mocha:untagged:network

Individual test files can be run using the following command:

npm run mocha -- path/to/test.js

Utility scripts

There are couple of command line scripts that facilitate users of lisk to perform handy operations. All scripts are are located under ./scripts/ directory and can be executed directly by node scripts/<file_name>.

Generate Config

This script will help you to generate unified version of configuration file for any network. Here is the usage of the script:

Usage: generate_config [options] <network>


  -h, --help     output usage information
  -V, --version  output the version number

Argument network is required and can by devnet, testnet, mainnet or any other network folder available under ./config directory.

Update Config

This script keep track of all changes introduced in Lisk over time in different versions. If you have one config file in any of specific version and you want to make it compatible with other version of the Lisk, this scripts will do it for you.

Usage: update_config [options] <input_file> <from_version> [to_version]


-h, --help     output usage information
-V, --version  output the version number
--output       Output file path
--diff         Show only difference from default config file.

As you can see from the usage guide, input_file and from_version are required. So if you have a config file, you must be aware to which version of Lisk this belongs. You can skip the to_version argument and it will apply changes up-to latest version of Lisk. If you don't specify --output path the final config json will be printed to console. Option --diff is useful if you just want to know what are the changes in your version compared to default config located in ./config/default/config.json.


This script is really useful in development. It will initialize the components of Lisk and load these into ndoejs REPL.

node scripts/console.js

initApplication: Application initialization inside test environment started...
initApplication: Target database - lisk_dev
initApplication: Rewired modules available
initApplication: Fake onBlockchainReady event called
initApplication: Loading delegates...
initApplication: Delegates loaded from config file - 101
initApplication: Done
lisk-core [lisk_dev] >

Once you get the prompt, you can use modules, helpers, logic, db and config objects and play with these in REPL.



Copyright Β© 2016-2018 Lisk Foundation

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see

This program also incorporates work previously released with lisk 0.9.11 (and earlier) versions under the MIT License. To comply with the requirements of that license, the following permission notice, applicable to those parts of the code only, is included below:

Copyright Β© 2016-2018 Lisk Foundation Copyright Β© 2015 Crypti

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.