Setting Up an External Passive Relay Node

This quick start guide walks through setting up an external relay node with the help of CNTOOLs.

Major credits and appreciation to the fine folks at Cardano Community Guild Operators for creating and maintaining CNtool, a most helpful swiss army knife for pool operators. You MUST be familiar with how ADA staking works and possess fundamental Linux system administration skills before continuing this guide.

Relay nodes do not have any keys, so they cannot produce blocks. Instead, relays act as proxies between the core network nodes and the Internet, establishing a security perimeter around the core, block-producing network nodes. Since external nodes cannot communicate with block-producing nodes directly, relay nodes ensure that the integrity of the core nodes and the blockchain remains intact, even if one or more relays become compromised.

๐ŸŒœ Prerequisites

  • A different server/VM (not located on the same machine as your block-producer node)

๐Ÿ›ธ Running the Script

Installs prerequisite dependencies and creates folder structure.

sudo apt-get install curl net-tools
mkdir "$HOME/tmp";cd "$HOME/tmp"
# Install curl
# CentOS / RedHat - sudo dnf -y install curl
# Ubuntu / Debian - sudo apt -y install curl
curl -sS -o
chmod 755

# Ensure you can run sudo commands with your user before execution
# You can check the syntax for using command below:
# ./ -h
# Usage: [-o] [-s] [-i] [-g] [-p]
# Install pre-requisites for building cardano node and using cntools
# -o    Do *NOT* overwrite existing genesis, topology.json and files (Default: will overwrite)
# -s    Skip installing OS level dependencies (Default: will check and install any missing OS level prerequisites)
# -i    Interactive mode (Default: silent mode)
# -g    Connect to guild network instead of public network (Default: connect to public cardano network)
# -p    Copy Transitional Praos config as default instead of Combinator networks (Default: copies combinator network)

# You can use one of the options above, if you'd like to defer from defaults (below).
# Running without any parameters will run script in silent mode with OS Dependencies, and overwriting existing files.


Reload environment variables.

. "${HOME}/.bashrc"

Familiarize yourself with the folder structure created by CNtools.

๐Ÿคนโ€โ™€๏ธ Building the Cardano Node and Command Line Interface

To clone the git repository, type:

cd ~/git
git clone
cd cardano-node

To compile binaries, type the following commands where <NodeVersion> is the node version number or branch that you want to build:

git fetch --tags --all
git pull
# For example, to build node version 1.26.2 type git checkout 1.26.2
git checkout <NodeVersion>


To install the compiled binaries, type:

sudo cp $HOME/.cabal/bin/cardano* /usr/local/bin

To verify that the correct Cardano node and command line versions are installed, type:

cardano-node version
cardano-cli version

โš’๏ธ Using systemd Services

Using systemd services to run your Cardano nodes offers the following benefits:

  • Auto-start your node when the computer reboots due to maintenance, power outage, etc.

  • Automatically restart crashed node processes.

  • Maximize your stake pool up-time and performance.

sudo bash -c "cat << 'EOF' > /etc/systemd/system/cnode.service
Description=Cardano Node

ExecStart=/bin/bash -l -c \"exec $CNODE_HOME/scripts/\"
ExecStop=/bin/bash -l -c \"exec kill -2 \$(ps -ef | grep [c]ardano-node.*.${CNODE_HOME} | tr -s ' ' | cut -d ' ' -f2)\"


sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable cnode.service

Nice work. Your node is now managed by the reliability and robustness of systemd. Below are some commands for using systemd.

โœ… Example systemd Commands

To confirm that the node service is active, type:

sudo systemctl is-active cnode

To display the status of the node service, type:

sudo systemctl status cnode

To restart the node service, type:

sudo systemctl reload-or-restart cnode

To stop the node service, type:

sudo systemctl stop cnode

๐Ÿšง Filtering Logs

To filter logs, type:

journalctl --unit=cnode --since=yesterday


journalctl --unit=cnode --since=today


journalctl --unit=cnode --since='2020-07-29 00:00:00' --until='2020-07-29 12:00:00'

๐Ÿš€ Starting the Relay Node

Pro tip: ๐ŸŽ‡ Speed this step up by copying the db folder from another node you control.

To start the relay node, type:

sudo systemctl start cnode

To install Guild LiveView, type:

cd $CNODE_HOME/scripts
curl -s -o
curl -s -o env
chmod 755

To run Guild Liveview, type:


Sample output of Guild Live View

For more information, refer to the official Guild Live View docs.

๐Ÿ›‘ Configuring and Reviewing the Relay Node Topology File

Modify the CUSTOM_PEERS section of the script to configure your relay node's connections to your other relays and block producer node. Refer to the official documentation for more info.

nano $CNODE_HOME/scripts/

Deploy the scripts with to setup and schedule the execution. This will handle automatically sending updates to the Topology Updater API as well as fetching new peers whenever the node is restarted.


Review your topology.json and check that it looks correct. Your new relay node's topology should contain your block producer node, your other relay nodes, and other public buddy relay nodes.

cat $CNODE_HOME/files/topology.json

๐Ÿ”ฅ Configuring Port Forwarding and/or Firewall

Specific to your networking setup or cloud provider settings, ensure your relay node's port 6000 is open and reachable.

โœจ Port Forwarding Tip: Check that your relay port 6000 is open with or .

Additionally, if you have prometheus-node-exporter installed for providing Grafana statistics, then you need to open ports 9100 and 12798. Do not forget to update prometheus.yml on your prometheus server (aka relaynode1). Restart the prometheus service so that the new relay node appears in your dashboard.

๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ’ป Configuring Topology for Existing Nodes

Finally, add your NEW relay node IP/port information to your EXISTING block producer and/or relay node's topology file. Modify the CUSTOM_PEERS section of the script.

For your block producer node, you'll want to manually add the new relay node information to your topology.json file.

Example snippet to add to your block producer's topology file. Add a comma to separate the nodes where appropriate.

    "addr": "<relay node public ip address>",
    "port": 6000,
    "valency": 1

For relay nodes, manage your topology file or modify the CUSTOM_PEERS section of the script.

๐Ÿ”„ Restarting Nodes

To refresh topology configurations for a node, you need to restart the node.

To restart nodes:

  1. Type:

sudo systemctl reload-or-restart cnode
  1. Repeat step 1 for each node having updated topology configurations.

๐ŸŽŠ Testing the Connection

On the Guild LiveView screen, press P to view the peer list. You should see the connection to other node's IP address.

โœจ Congrats on the new relay node.

๐Ÿ”ฅ Critical Security Reminder: Relay nodes must not contain any operational certifications, vrf, skey or cold` ``` keys.

Congrats on completing the guide. โœจ

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