Ethereum Nodes and Clients – Detailed Guide

In this Ethereum tutorial, we will learn about the Ethereum Nodes and Clients. Also, we will cover different types of Ethereum nodes. Moreover, we will illustrate the following set of topics.

  • What is an Ethereum Node
  • Types of Ethereum Nodes
  • What is an Etherum Client
  • Types of Ethereum Clients
  • Most common Ethereum Clients
  • Advantages of running an Ethereum node
  • Difference between Ethereum Node and Client

What is an Ethereum Node

In generic terms, a node is a connection point that unites or connects various branches. Thus, any device that links to a network is referred to as a node and the same is the case with Ethereum.

An Ethereum node can be defined as a machine that participates in the network and also stores a copy of the blockchain. The Ethereum blockchain is a network of computers that are connected and are receiving and transferring data to other computers.

A node in the Ethereum network receives data and transmits it to the network, ensuring that all nodes are up to date at all times. In Ethereum, there are three separate varieties of nodes that each client can run, depending on individual requirements.

  • Light nodes
  • Full nodes
  • Archive nodes

Now, let’s discuss these types of Ethereum nodes in more detail.

Check out, What is Ethereum Network

Types of Ethereum Nodes

Now, if we want to create our own Ethereum node, we have to be aware that there are various sorts of nodes. Moreover, each of these types consumes data differently. Let’s understand these different types of Ethereum nodes in brief.

Types Of Ethereum Nodes
Types Of Ethereum Nodes

1. Full nodes in Ethereum

A full node in Ethereum is a type of Ethereum node that holds full blockchain data. Moreover, a full node also takes part in the validation process of a block, which involves verifying all of the network’s states & blocks.

Also, a full node is also capable of directly communicating with a smart contract and even deploy it directly into the primary Ethereum blockchain.

Tyoes Of Nodes in Ethereum
Different Ethereum Nodes

Read What is Mining in Ethereum and How does Ethereum Mining Works

2. Light nodes in Ethereum

Now, retrieving the entire data might be complex and time-consuming, lasting up to several days for synchronization. Moreover, the node must be managed, upgraded, and kept available. And to overcome this issue, we can utilize Light nodes in Ethereum

A light node Ethereum does not hold the complete blockchain. Instead, it holds only header chain data and receives extra data only when it is requested. An Ethereum light node can validate data, but they don’t engage fully in the validation process of a block.

An Ethereum light node is helpful for low-end devices that can’t afford a large set of data.

3. Archive nodes

Archive nodes in Ethereum are similar to full nodes as they also record the entire information. And additionally, it creates a blockchain state archive. Although if a client’s synchronization is complete, archive nodes will save previous data.

Besides, light and full nodes do not maintain all historical data like archive nodes.

However, Ethereum archive nodes are less appealing to normal users as they take data in terabytes. But, it can be beneficial for services such as wallet suppliers, and, chain analytics, and block explorer.

Read How to Setup Private Ethereum Blockchain on Windows

Advantages of running an Ethereum node

Now, what is the main reason to run an Ethereum node? The main reason behind it is the various set of advantages. So, in this section, let’s look at some of the main advantages of running an Ethereum node.

  • By running an Ethereum node, we can utilize Ethereum in a private, self-contained, and trustless manner.
  • By running an Ethereum node, we can independently verify transactions and blocks for compliance with the consensus mechanism. With this, we don’t have to rely on or trust any other nodes in the network.
  • Using an Ethereum node also facilitates more security to our decentralized applications. Moreover, we can use wallets like, MyEtherWallet and MetaMask to configure with our local node.
  • With the help of an Ethereum node, we can create our RPC endpoints. Moreover, we can either utilize Inter-process Communications (IPC) to link with a node or rebuild it such that software is loaded as a plugin.

Also, read, Ethereum Ecosystem

What is an Etherum Client

In generic terms, a client is a software program that we download on the computer, and it allows us to interact with other services. For instance, consider Gmail as a client that enables us to send and receive emails.

Similarly, an Ethereum client enables Ethereum nodes to access smart contracts and blocks from the main Ethereum chain. Now, an Ethereum client allows developers to connect with the Ethereum network and nodes.

The Ethereum Foundation has a variety of clients implemented on various programming languages. Here is the list of some well-known Ethereum clients.

Client NameDevelopersProgramming Language
GethEthereum FoundationGo
TrinityEthereum FoundationPython
OpenEthereumParity TechnologiesRust
Turbo-Geth (Erigon)LedgerwatchGo

Nowadays, many distinct clients are available because Ethereum has facilitated a standard behavior that an Ethereum client has to follow.

Read What is Ethereum Classic

Types of Ethereum Clients

Similar to Ethereum nodes, there are multiple varieties of Ethereum Clients. Let’s discuss them in this section.

  • Full Clients:
    • It is a type of Ethereum client that stores the full blockchain data.
    • Moreover, these clients can implement all network functionalities like mining, smart contract execution, validating block headers, and transactions.
  • Light Clients:
    • A light client have a limited range of features compared to full clients.
    • Unlike full clients, a light client does not stores the entire Ethereum blockchain, allowing for faster performance and more data storage space.
  • Remote Clients:
    • A remote client, which is quite similar to a light client, is the third form of client.
    • The primary distinction is that a remote client in Ethereum does not validate any transaction or any block headers, nor does it maintains data.
    • However, remote clients rely entirely either on a light or full client to interact with the Ethereum network.
Ethereum Nodes and Clients
Ethereum Nodes and Clients

Read Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

Difference between Ethereum Node and Client

Although the phrases “Ethereum client” and “Ethereum node” are sometimes used interchangeably. Moreover, many people consider these phrases the same. But, there is some distinction between them.

The Node and Client phrases are utilized interchangeably as they both work in conjunction. But, both client and node operate independently in order to connect to the Ethereum network.

Consider clients & nodes in the context of a computer connecting to the internet. Consider the Ethereum node just like a operating system, such as Windows, and the Ethereum client is the machine.

The client machine allows a user to connect to the operating node, enabling us to connect to the internet.

Read Introduction to Solidity

Most common Ethereum Clients

In this section, we will cover two mostly used Ethereum Clients. The first most common Ethereum client is Geth. And the second most common Ethereum client is Parity. Additionally, we will understand about MetaMask that is a remote client for Ethereum.

Geth is the Ethereum Foundation’s active Go language implementation, and it is therefore regarded as the standard Ethereum client. Every Ethereum-based blockchain will, in most cases, have its own implementation of Geth.

Parity is another Ethereum client and it also acts as a DApp browser implementation. It was created in Rust programming language with the goal of creating a modular, safe, and scalable Ethereum client.

Parity was created by Parity Tech, a firm based in the United Kingdom. Moreover, it is licensed under the GPLv3 free software license.

MetaMask is a wallet, RPC client, and minimal contract explorer that runs in your browser. We can easily run MetaMask on any machine that has Chrome, Brave, Opera, and even Firefox web browser.

MetaMask is a remote client that utilizes a light client to interact with the blockchain. Moreover, it facilitates adequate security and transaction assurance.

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So, in this tutorial, we have learned about the Ethereum Nodes and Clients. Also, we have covered different types of Ethereum nodes. Moreover, we have illustrated the following set of topics.

  • What is an Ethereum Node
  • Types of Ethereum Nodes
  • What is an Etherum Client
  • Types of Ethereum Clients
  • Most common Ethereum Clients
  • Advantages of running an Ethereum node
  • Difference between Ethereum Node and Client