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How to install a Bitcoin Core full node on a x86_64 machine using Docker


Don't just copy and paste. Understand what you are doing.

Note: We can't change ownership of files if directory is mounted from a vfat filesystem. You will have to use root user instead of bitcoinuser or set all files in .bitcoin directory to world-writable.

Log in (user debian:debian in this document), create bitcoinuser

sudo useradd bitcoinuser

Mounting... if you want to use an external drive/stick for the blockchain

If you're stuck with a ntfs external drive...

sudo apt-get install ntfs-3g
sudo blkid
/dev/sda1: LABEL="My Passport" UUID="3C02BB6502BB2336" TYPE="ntfs" PARTLABEL="My Passport" PARTUUID="3e1d9372-dada-4a7f-9542-ea32591373fd"
mkdir -m 2770 -p ~/btcdata
sudo mount -t ntfs-3g -o rw,uid=$(id -u bitcoinuser),gid=$(id -g debian),umask=007 /dev/sda1 ~/btcdata

If you're stuck with a fat drive...

Adapt the docs and Dockerfiles so that Docker user root will be used. Too bad for you.

(if not using existing files): Create bitcoin working directory

mkdir -m 2770 -p ~/btcdata

Apply permissions to bitcoin working directory

(this cannot be done on a vfat mounted filesystem)

sudo chown -R bitcoinuser:debian ~/btcdata

(if using existing files): Recursively apply permissions to existing files

(this cannot be done on a vfat mounted filesystem)

sudo find ~/btcdata -type f -exec chmod g+rw {} \; ; sudo find ~/btcdata -type d -exec chmod g+rwx {} \;

Create bitcoin.conf in ~/btcdata/ with following content:

(replacing rpcusername, rpcpassword, and others by your actual values)


Build docker image

(replacing Bitcoin Core version by the one you want)

docker build -t btcnode .

Run docker container

docker run --rm -d --name btcnode -p 18333:18333 -p 18332:18332 -p 29000:29000 -v /home/pi/btcdata:/.bitcoin btcnode `id -u bitcoinuser`:`id -g bitcoinuser` bitcoind

If needed, re-apply permissions to newly created files

sudo find ~/btcdata -type f -exec chmod g+rw {} \; ; sudo find ~/btcdata -type d -exec chmod g+rwx {} \;

Show logs or info

With printtoconsole=1 in bitcoin.conf:

docker logs -f btcnode

Without printtoconsole=1 in bitcoin.conf:

sudo tail -f ~/btcdata/testnet3/debug.log

Invoking bitcoin-cli…

docker exec -it btcnode bitcoin-cli -datadir=/.bitcoin stop

Installing and using LVM to combine several storage devices into one big volume

A full archival (transactions indexed) Mainnet Bitcoin node needs a lot of disk space. I have a bunch of old USB flash drives… I’d like to combine them all in one big disk and use that virtual disk for my node. Sounds like a fun hacky step!

Install lvm2 (Logical Volume Manager)

sudo apt-get install lvm2

Get USB device IDs:

sudo blkid

Create physical volumes for those devices

sudo pvcreate /dev/sda1
sudo pvcreate /dev/sdb1
sudo pvs

Create a virtual group and put physical volumes in it

sudo vgcreate btcVG /dev/sda1
sudo vgextend btcVG /dev/sdb1
sudo vgdisplay

Create logical volume within the group, using all space, and format it

sudo lvcreate -n btcLV -l 100%FREE btcVG
sudo mkfs -t ext4 /dev/mapper/btcVG-btcLV

If uncleanly unmounted (“can't read superblock” message on mount), try

sudo fsck /dev/btcVG/btcLV

Mount new volume for our .bitcoin directory

sudo mount /dev/btcVG/btcLV ~/btcdata
sudo lvdisplay

Adding the mounting instruction in fstab is a good idea

echo '/dev/btcVG/btcLV /home/debian/btcdata' | sudo tee --append /etc/fstab > /dev/null

Adding more space (because the blockchain increases over time)...

sudo pvcreate /dev/sdc1
sudo vgextend btcVG /dev/sdc1
sudo lvextend /dev/btcVG/btcLV /dev/sdc1
sudo e2fsck -f /dev/btcVG/btcLV
sudo resize2fs /dev/btcVG/btcLV