How to join the testnet

There’s two ways to run a AElf node: you can either use Docker (recommended method) or run the binaries available on Github. Before you jump into the guides and tutorials you’ll need to install the following tools and frameworks. For most of these dependencies we provide ready-to-use command line instructions. In case of problems or if you have more complex needs, we provide more information in the Environment setup section.

Summary of the steps to set up a node:

  1. Execute the snapshot download script and load the snapshot into the database.

  2. Download our template setting files and docker run script.

  3. Modify the appsettings according to your needs.

  4. Run and check the node.

Minimum Configuration:

  • c5.large instance with 2 vCPU, 4GiB RAM, 800GiB hard drive, and 5 Mbps bandwidth

  • N2 instance with 2 vCPU, 4GiB RAM, 800GiB hard drive, and 5 Mbps bandwidth

Recommended Configuration:

  • c5.xlarge instance with 4 vCPU, 8GiB RAM, 800GiB hard drive, and 100 Mbps bandwidth

  • N2 instance with 4 vCPU, 8GiB RAM, 800GiB hard drive, and 100 Mbps bandwidth

Please note: If you are running Testnet node for the purpose of testing or DApp deployment in the test environment, aelf recommends running SideChain node only. If you want to run multiple nodes on both MainChain and SideChain, it’s suggested to use the same configuration for all your nodes.

Note: any server you use to run a node should be time synced via NTP. Failing to do this will prevent your node from syncing.

Setup the database

We currently support two key-value databases to store our nodes data: Redis and SSDB, but for the testnet we only provide snapshots for SSDB. We will configure two SSDB instances, one for chain database and one for the state database (run these on different machines for better performances).

Import the snapshot data

After you’ve finished setting up the database, download the latest snapshots. The following gives you the template for the download URL,but you have to specify the snapshot date. We recommend you get the latest.

Restore the chain database from snapshot:

>> mkdir snapshot
>> cd snapshot

## fetch the snapshot download script
>> curl -O -s

## execute the script, you can optionally specify a date by appending “yyyymmdd” as parameter
>> sh

## chain database: decompress and load the chain database snapshot
>> tar xvzf aelf-testnet-mainchain-chaindb-*.tar.gz
>> stop your chain database instance (ssdb server)
>> cp -r aelf-testnet-mainchain-chaindb-*/* /path/to/install/chaindb/ssdb/var/
>> start your chain database instance
>> enter ssdb console (ssdb-cli) use the "info" command to confirm that the data has been imported)

## state database : decompress and load the state database
>> tar xvzf aelf-testnet-mainchain-statedb-*.tar.gz
>> stop your state database instance (ssdb server)
>> cp -r aelf-testnet-mainchain-statedb-*/* /path/to/install/statedb/ssdb/var/
>> start your state database instance
>> enter ssdb console (ssdb-cli) use the "info" command to confirm that the data has been imported)

Node configuration

Generating the nodes account

This section explains how to generate an account for the node. First you need to install the aelf-command npm package. Open a terminal and enter the following command to install aelf-command:

>> npm i -g aelf-command

After installing the package, you can use the following command to create an account/key-pair:

>> aelf-command create

The command prompts for a password, enter it and don’t forget it. The output of the command should look something like this:

AElf [Info]: Your wallet info is :
AElf [Info]: Mnemonic            : term jar tourist monitor melody tourist catch sad ankle disagree great adult
AElf [Info]: Private Key         : 34192c729751bd6ac0a5f18926d74255112464b471aec499064d5d1e5b8ff3ce
AElf [Info]: Public Key          : 04904e51a944ab13b031cb4fead8caa6c027b09661dc5550ee258ef5c5e78d949b1082636dc8e27f20bc427b25b99a1cadac483fae35dd6410f347096d65c80402
AElf [Info]: Address             : 29KM437eJRRuTfvhsB8QAsyVvi8mmyN9Wqqame6TsJhrqXbeWd
? Save account info into a file? Yes
? Enter a password: *********
? Confirm password: *********
✔ Account info has been saved to "/usr/local/share/aelf/keys/29KM437eJRRuTfvhsB8QAsyVvi8mmyN9Wqqame6TsJhrqXbeWd.json"

In the next steps of the tutorial you will need the Public Key and the Address for the account you just created. You’ll notice the last line of the commands output will show you the path to the newly created key. The aelf directory is the data directory (datadir) and this is where the node will read the keys from.

Note that a more detailed section about the cli can be found command line interface.

Prepare node configuration

## download the settings template and docker script
>> cd /tmp/ && wget
>> unzip
>> mv aelf-testnet-mainchain /opt/aelf-node

Update the appsetting.json file with your account. This will require the information printed during the creation of the account. Open the appsettings.json file and edit the following sections.

The account/key-pair associated with the node we are going to run:

    "Account": {
        "NodeAccount": "2Ue31YTuB5Szy7cnr3SCEGU2gtGi5uMQBYarYUR5oGin1sys6H",
        "NodeAccountPassword": "********"

You also have to configure the database connection strings (port/db number):

    "ConnectionStrings": {
        "BlockchainDb": "redis://your chain database server ip address:port",
        "StateDb": "redis://your state database server ip address:port"

If you use docker to run the node and it is on the same server as the database, please do not use as the database monitoring ip.

Next add the testnet mainchain nodes as peer (bootnode peers):

    "Network": {
        "BootNodes": [
        "ListeningPort": 6800

Note: if both side nodeVersion>=1.4.0, nodes will connect to each other by grpc stream and will transfer data via grpc stream.

Note: if your infrastructure is behind a firewall you need to open the P2P listening port of the node. You also need to configure your listening ip and port for the side chain connections in appsettings.MainChain.TestNet.json:

    "CrossChain": {
        "Grpc": {
            "LocalServerPort": 5000,

Running a full node with Docker

To run the node with Docker, enter the following commands:

## pull AElf’s image and navigate to the template folder to execute the start script
>> docker pull aelf/node:testnet-v1.6.0
>> cd /opt/aelf-node
>> sh start aelf/node:testnet-v1.6.0

to stop the node you can run:

>> sh stop

Running a full node with the binary release

Most of AElf is developed with dotnet core, so to run the binaries you will need to download and install the .NET Core SDK before you start: Download .NET Core 6.0. For now AElf depends on version 6.0 of the SDK, on the provided link find the download for your platform, and install it.

Get the latest release with the following commands:

>> cd /tmp/ && wget
>> unzip
>> mv aelf /opt/aelf-node/

Enter the configuration folder and run the node:

>> cd /opt/aelf-node
>> dotnet aelf/AElf.Launcher.dll

Running a full node with the source

The most convenient way is to directly use docker or the binary packages, but if you want you can compile from source code. First make sure the code version is consistent (current is release AELF v1.0.0), and secondly make sure to compile on a Ubuntu Linux machine (we recommend Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS) and have dotnet core SDK version 6.0 installed. This is because different platforms or compilers will cause the dll hashes to be inconsistent with the current chain.

Check the node

You now should have a node that’s running, to check this run the following command that will query the node for its current block height:

aelf-command get-blk-height -e http://your node ip address:port

Run side-chains

This section explains how to set up a side-chain node, you will have to repeat these steps for all side chains (currently only one is running):

  1. Fetch the appsettings and the docker run script.

  2. Download and restore the snapshot data with the URLs provided below (steps are the same as in A - Setup the database).

  3. Run the side-chain node.

Running a side chain is very much like running a mainchain node, only configuration will change. Here you can find the instructions for sidechain1:

>> cd /tmp/ && wget
>> unzip
>> mv aelf-testnet-sidechain1 /opt/aelf-node

In order for a sidechain to connect to a mainchain node you need to modify the appsettings.SideChain.TestNet.json with your node information.

    "CrossChain": {
        "Grpc": {
            "ParentChainServerPort": 5000,
            "ParentChainServerIp": "your mainchain ip address",
            "ListeningPort": 5001,
        "ParentChainId": "AELF"

Here you can find the snapshot data for the only current side-chain running, optionally you can specify the date, but we recommend you get the latest:

>> curl -O -s 

Here you can find the list of templates folders (appsettings and docker run script) for the side-chain:


Each side chain has its own P2P network, add the testnet sidechain nodes as peer:

bootnode → ["", "..."]
    "Network": {
        "BootNodes": [
            "Add the right boot node according sidechain"
        "ListeningPort": 6800