Node types

This page provide details on different lotus node types and their use case.

Full node

A Lotus full node is required to interact with the Filecoin blockchain. These nodes are also required when running a storage provider on the Filecoin network.

Usually, the Lotus full nodes are kept small, with regular chain compactions, or by using the SplitStore-feature which discards older chain data. Lotus full nodes are usually synced from snapshots to reduce the time required to get in sync with the Filecoin Network.

Full historical node

A Lotus full historical node differs from a typical Lotus full node in just one aspect. A full historical node is synced from epoch “0” or the “genesis block” of the filecoin blockchain. These nodes require a huge amount of space to store the full chain data, and take a very long time be synced from the beginning.

A Lotus full historical node is useful in very limited cases. Most users that need to extract and inspect pieces of the Filecoin chain, usually uses tools like lily, which allows for structured data extraction into a PostgreSQL/TimescaleDB database or CSV dumps for later query and analysis.

Please do note that historical queries on a Lotus full historical node are slow due to the size of the chain, and can take anywhere between a few minutes to hours to get a response.

Lite client node

Lite nodes are a scaled-down version of a Lotus full node. These nodes require a connection to a Lotus full node to function. Once connected to the Lotus full node, these Lotus Lite client nodes can only perform message signing and deal transactions.

A lite node is useful when there are hardware constraints, as a lite node requires significantly fewer resources than a Lotus full node. Another use case would be to process transactions in parallel with other lite client nodes behind a Lotus full node. This increases the efficiency of the system.

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