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Advanced use and manual setup

Client choice - manual setup

You can refer back to the Overview to get a sense of how the validator client, consensus client and execution client are connected to each other, and which role each plays.

Please choose:

  • The consensus client you wish to run
    • Lodestar
    • Nimbus
    • Teku
    • Lighthouse
    • Prysm
  • Your execution client you wish to run
    • Nethermind
    • Besu
    • Geth - this client has a super-majority. Choosing another is safer.
    • Reth (beta)
    • Erigon
  • Whether to run a grafana dashboard for monitoring

First, copy the environment file.
cp default.env .env

This file is called .env (dot env), and that name has to be exact. docker compose will otherwise show errors about not being able to find a docker-compose.yml file, which this project does not use.

Then, adjust the contents of .env. On Ubuntu Linux, you can run nano .env.

  • Set the COMPOSE_FILE entry depending on the client you are going to run, and with which options. See below for available compose files. Think of this as blocks you combine: One consensus client, optionally one execution client, optionally reporting, optionally a reverse proxy for https:// access to reporting.
  • Set the NETWORK variable to either "mainnet" or a test network such as "goerli"
  • Set the GRAFFITI string if you want a specific string.
  • If you are going to run a validator client only, without a consensus client, set CL_NODE to the URL of your Ethereum PoS beacon, and choose one of the CLIENT-vc-only.yml entries in COMPOSE_FILE.
  • If you are going to send statistics to https://beaconcha.in, set BEACON_STATS_API to your API key
  • If you want to sync the consensus client quickly, set RAPID_SYNC_URL to a checkpoint provider such as checkpointz
  • Adjust ports if you are going to need custom ports instead of the defaults. These are the ports exposed to the host, and for the P2P ports to the Internet via your firewall/router.

Compose files

The main concept to understand is that all files in COMPOSE_FILE inside .env are combined in order, and Docker Compose will then act on the resulting config. It can be viewed with docker compose config.

Set the COMPOSE_FILE string depending on which client you are going to use. Add optional services with : between the file names.

Choose one consensus client:

  • teku.yml - Teku
  • lighthouse.yml - Lighthouse
  • lodestar.yml - Lodestar
  • nimbus.yml - Nimbus
  • prysm.yml - Prysm

Choose one execution client:

  • nethermind.yml - nethermind execution client
  • besu.yml - besu execution client
  • reth.yml - reth execution client
  • erigon.yml - erigon execution client
  • geth.yml - geth execution client

Optionally, enable MEV boost:

  • mev-boost.yml - add the mev-boost sidecar

Optionally, choose a reporting package:

  • grafana.yml - Enable local Grafana dashboards

  • grafana-cloud.yml - Run a local Prometheus with support for remote-write to Grafana Cloud

  • grafana-shared.yml - to map the local Grafana port (default: 3000) to the host. This is not encrypted and should not be exposed to the Internet. Used in addition to grafana.yml, not instead. Using encryption instead via traefik-*.yml is recommended.

  • prysm-web-shared.yml - to map the Prysm web port (default: 3500) to the host. This is not encrypted and should not be exposed to the Internet. Using encryption instead via traefik-*.yml is recommended.

  • siren.yml - Lighthouse's Siren UI

See Prysm Web for notes on using the Prysm Web UI

Optionally, add ethdo for beacon chain queries:

  • ethdo.yml - add Attestant's ethdo tool for querying your consensus layer aka beacon node

Optionally, make the staking-deposit-cli available:

  • deposit-cli.yml - Used to generate mnemonics and signing keys. Consider running key generation offline, instead, and copying the generated keystore-m files into this tool.

Optionally, add encryption to the Grafana and/or Prysm Web pages:

  • traefik-cf.yml - use encrypting secure web proxy and use CloudFlare for DNS management
  • traefik-aws.yml - use encrypting secure web proxy and use AWS Route53 for DNS management
  • el-traefik.yml, cl-traefik.yml, ee-traefik.yml - advanced use, use traefik for access to execution RPC, consensus REST and execution engine RPC API ports respectively. Be very cautious with these, always firewall that access to trusted source IPs.

With these, you wouldn't use the -shared.yml files. Please see Secure Web Proxy Instructions for setup instructions for either option.

For example, Teku with Besu: COMPOSE_FILE=teku.yml:besu.yml

Sharing RPC and REST ports

These are largely for running RPC nodes, instead of validator nodes. Most users will not require them.

The SHARE_IP variable in .env can be used to restrict these shares to 127.0.0.1, for local use or for use with an SSH tunnel.

  • el-shared.yml - as an insecure alternative to traefik-*.yml, makes the RPC and WS ports of the execution client available from the host. To be used alongside one of the execution client yml files. Not encrypted, do not expose to Internet.

  • cl-shared.yml - as an insecure alternative to traefik-*.yml, makes the REST port of the consensus client available from the host. To be used alongside one of the consensus client yml files. Not encrypted, do not expose to Internet.

  • ee-shared.yml - as an insecure alternative to traefik-*.yml, makes the engine API port of the execution client available from the host. To be used alongside one of the execution client yml files. Not encrypted, do not expose to Internet.

  • CLIENT-cl-only.yml - for running a distributed consensus client and validator client setup.

  • CLIENT-vc-only.yml - the other side of the distributed client setup.

MEV Boost

Your Consensus Layer client connects to the mev-boost container. If you are running a CL in Eth Docker, then in .env you'd add mev-boost.yml to COMPOSE_FILE, set MEV_BOOST=true and set MEV_RELAYS to the relays you wish to use.

If you are running a validator client only, such as with a RocketPool "reverse hybrid" setup, then all you need to do is to set MEV_BOOST=true in .env. mev-boost.yml and MEV_RELAYS are not needed and won't be used if they are set, as they are relevant only where the Consensus Layer client runs. See the Overview drawing for how thesei components communicate.

Specialty yml files

Eth Docker supports some specialty use cases. These are the corresponding yml files.

  • ext-network.yml - Connect to another Docker network, for example for reverse hybrid with RocketPool or connecting to a central traefik/prometheus.
  • v6-network.yml - part of enabling IPv6 support
  • central-metrics.yml - Scrape metrics from a central prometheus
  • nimbus-stats.yml - Send Nimbus stats to beaconcha.in app
  • prysm-stats.yml - Send Prysm stats to beaconcha.in app
  • ssv.yml - Run an SSV DVT node

Multiple nodes on one host

In this setup, clients are isolated from each other. Each run their own validator client, and if an execution client is in use, their own execution client. This is perfect for running a single client, or multiple isolated clients each in their own directory.

If you want to run multiple isolated clients, just clone this project into a new directory for each. This is great for running testnet and mainnet in parallel, for example.

Prysm or Lighthouse Slasher

Running slasher is an optional setting in .env, and helps secure the chain. There are no additional earnings from running a slasher: Whistleblower rewards are not implemented, and may not ever be implemented.

Slasher can be a huge resource hog during times of no chain finality, which can manifest as massive RAM usage. Please make sure you understand the risks of this, especially if you want high uptime for your Ethereum staking full node. Slasher places significant stress on the consensus client when the chain has no finality, and might be the reason why your validators are underperforming if your consensus client is under this much stress.

To run a slasher, add the relevant command(s) to CL_EXTRAS in your .env file.

Build the client

Build all required images. ./ethd update