I'd like to run a headless bitcoind instance on a server, in order to contribute to the network. Are there any specific configuration options that are recommended for that purpose?

My intention was primarily to make the network more secure by providing one more "good" node, though since I'm not familiar with some of the maybe more subtle aspects of the protocol, I'd welcome advice on other ways a single node would or could contribute.

I was not necessarily planning to run a miner.

  • 1
    Other than to make an attack more difficult, does this benefit the network at all? – Stephen Gornick Dec 26 '12 at 5:50
  • I think you need to more clearly define what you mean by "contribute to the network". Do you want to 1.) mine, thereby contributing to the processing of transactions, even if you ultimately won't partake of much reward (unless your headless server has a decent Radeon graphics card), or 2.) simply act as a relay node? – Colin Dean Dec 26 '12 at 8:47
  • I updated the question. – miracle2k Dec 26 '12 at 10:15

Generally speaking if you want to contribute you have two options:

Become a blockchain peer

The Bitcoin network requires the full chain to be available for download. If not enough peers allow the full chain to be downloaded, this is a risk to the network. This isn't CPU intensive but puts a small load on your network IO as a configurable number of peers download the data.

Namely you can run bitcoind and allow inbound access to port 8333. This will allow people to download the blockchain. If you see options to run as a "server" know this runs something different on port 8332 and is considered "sensitive" and should be secured.

I like to visually check on on the process so here is the command I run:

  • bitcoind -debug -logtimestamps -printtodebugger -printtoconsole

If your computer can handle it, edit the bitcoin.conf file (location is platform specific) to allow more people to simultaneously connect. Edit maxconnections= to whatever you think is best.


There isn't much use in mining unless you have a FPGA, or ASIC for Bitcoin. These rigs are more specialized and competitive. Take a look at www.butterflylabs.com for an ASIC miner that can plug into your USB port

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    Under no circumstance should you ever enable the built-in miner, except for reference or testing purposes. It is not maintained, not optimized, does not support pools, GPUs or FPGAs. It solely runs on your CPU, and even for just that there is better software available. – Pieter Wuille Dec 26 '12 at 16:26
  • @PieterWuille I use it on the Test network, and asked several questions regarding the same here. Is there a better app for bitcoin test network mining? – halfbit Dec 26 '12 at 17:07

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