Installing a PyAleph node

This tutorial is aimed at people wanting to run an Aleph node with little experience in system administration.

0. Hardware requirements

A Linux server with the following requirements:
  • Ability to install Docker and Docker Compose (eg: recent Debian or Ubuntu)

  • Public IP address

  • The following ports open from the internet: - 4001/tcp - 4001/udp - 4024/tcp - 4025/tcp

  • Shell with sudo access

  • A text editor

1. Software requirements

Install Docker.

On a Debian-based system (Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, …), you can use the following commands:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade
sudo apt install docker-compose
sudo systemctl enable docker && sudo systemctl start docker

Add your user to the Docker group

sudo usermod -a -G docker $(whoami)

Logout, and login again to apply the new group membership.

Optional: Configure a firewall

A firewall can help you protect against unauthorized access on ports that should not be exposed publicly. This guide section shows how to use the UFW simple and popular firewall.

sudo apt install docker-compose gnupg2 pass ufw
sudo ufw allow 22,4001,4024,4025/tcp
sudo ufw allow 4001/udp

2. Configuration

PyAleph requires two configuration items:

  • A configuration file, usually named config.yml

  • A private key to identify the node on the P2P network.

Configuration file

This section describes how to create and customize the PyAleph configuration file. First, download the PyAleph configuration template:

wget ""

Then rename the file to config.yml:

mv sample-config.yml config.yml

Ethereum API URL

Your Aleph node needs to connect to an Ethereum API. If you do not run your own Ethereum node, we suggest you can use Infura or a similar service.

Register on, then create a new Ethereum project. In the settings, get the hosted https:// endpoint URL for your project.

The endpoint should look like:<project-id> for the test network or<project-id> for production.

Edit the config.yml file to add the endpoint URL in the field [ethereum > api_url].

Sentry DNS

Sentry can be used to track errors and receive alerts if an issue occurs on the node.

To enable Sentry, add the corresponding DSN in the configuration.

    dsn: "https://<SECRET_ID>@<SENTRY_HOST>/<PROJECT_ID>"

Node secret keys

An node must have a persistent public-private keypair to authenticate to the network. These keys can be created using the Docker image. We strongly advise to back up your keys once generated.

mkdir keys
docker run --rm --user root --entrypoint "" -v $(pwd)/keys:/opt/pyaleph/keys alephim/pyaleph-node:v0.5.1-rc3 chown aleph:aleph /opt/pyaleph/keys
docker run --rm --entrypoint "" -v $(pwd)/keys:/opt/pyaleph/keys alephim/pyaleph-node:v0.5.1-rc3 pyaleph --gen-keys --key-dir /opt/pyaleph/keys

To check that the generation of the keys succeeded, check the content of your keys directory:

ls keys/
# node-pub.key  node-secret.pkcs8.der

3. Run the node with Docker Compose

Download the Docker Compose file that defines how to run PyAleph, MongoDB and IPFS together.

wget ""

At this stage, you will need your configuration file and your keys. Check the configuration section to see how you can generate them.

Modify the Docker Compose file you just downloaded to update the paths to your configuration file and keys directory. Then start running the node:

docker-compose up -d

4. Check that everything is working well

Check the containers

Check that all the containers have started.

docker-compose ps

You should see the following three containers with a State of “Up”:

docker-compose ps






/sbin/tini – /usr/local/b …

Up>4001/tcp,>4001/udp, 5001/tcp, 8080/tcp, 8081/tcp

nfuser_mongodb_1 mongo …




pyaleph –config /opt/pyal …


Check the metrics

Check that messages are being processed by the node by looking on the metric endpoint, by default .

The number of messages should change when you refresh the page, starting with the variable pyaleph_status_sync_pending_messages_total

This endpoint can be ingested by a monitoring solution such as Prometheus to watch the dynamic of the node starting.

Check the logs

Make sure that no error is displayed in the logs.

You can use docker-compose logs and docker logs for this purpose.

Check IPFS



This web interface is only accessible on localhost in the default Docker Compose configuration. The API running on port 5001 gives complete control over the IPFS daemon without authentication. Never expose this port on the Internet!

Check PyAleph data via MongoDB

MongoDB message counts

docker exec -ti --user mongodb debian_mongodb_1 bash
$ mongo
> use aleph
> show collections
> db.messages.count()
> db.pending_messages.count()
> db.pending_messages.count()

5. Register your node

To get rewards, you will need to register your new node on the account page. To do so, you will need the multiaddress of your node. To retrieve it, run the following command (assuming that NODE_IP_ADDR is the IP address of your node):

curl -s http://NODE_IP_ADDRESS:4024/api/v0/info/public.json | jq -r .node_multi_addresses[0]

Simply copy-paste this address on the account page when registering your node.