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Guide | How to setup a validator for Ethereum staking on Pithos testnet in 10 minutes or less

Become a validator, start staking and help secure Ethereum, a proof-of-stake blockchain. Anyone with 32 ETH can join.

Your Mission

To participate in the public testnet known as Pithos, which is the public's first glimpse in helping Ethereum's journey towards "The Merge", where Ethereum will transition from proof of work to a much more sustainable proof of stake consensus model.
Major props and credits to parithosh for this knowledge share. Without his extensive work and dedication, this guide would not be possible.
The MergETHEREUM Panda
Learn more about the Merge: https://ethmerge.com/

Prerequisites

This guide was tested against Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS client. You'll need a virtual machine or local desktop/server/laptop/RaspberryPi.

Minimum Hardware Requirements

  • Operating system: 64-bit Linux (i.e. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server or Desktop)
  • Processor: Dual core CPU, Intel Core i5–760 or AMD FX-8100 or better
  • Memory: 4GB RAM
  • Storage: 16GB SSD
For examples of actual staking hardware builds, check out RocketPool's hardware guide.
Pro Staking Tip: Highly recommend you begin with a brand new instance of an OS, VM, and/or machine. Avoid headaches by NOT reusing testnet keys, wallets, or databases for your validator.

How to participate with Pithos

At present, only the consensus beacon client and execution client are available now. Consensus layer's validator client are coming soon.

1. Install dependencies and updates

Install packages and update OS
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y
sudo apt-get install git ufw curl -y
Install Docker
curl -fsSL https://get.docker.com -o get-docker.sh
sudo sh get-docker.sh
sudo usermod -aG docker $USER
Install Docker Compose
sudo curl -L "https://github.com/docker/compose/releases/download/1.29.2/docker-compose-$(uname -s)-$(uname -m)" -o /usr/local/bin/docker-compose
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/docker-compose
Verify docker and docker-compose installed properly.
docker --version
docker-compose --version
Sample output of known working versions.
Docker version 20.10.9, build c2ea9bc
docker-compose version 1.29.2, build 5becea4c
Reboot your machine to complete docker installation.
sudo reboot

2. Configure Firewall

Initialize the firewall with Ethereum's p2p ports and ssh.
More comprehensive staking validator node security best practices also available.
# By default, deny all incoming and outgoing traffic
sudo ufw default deny incoming
sudo ufw default allow outgoing
# Allow SSH access
sudo ufw allow ssh
# Allow execution client port
sudo ufw allow 30303/tcp
# Allow consensus client port
sudo ufw allow 9000/tcp
sudo ufw allow 9000/udp
# Enable UFW
sudo ufw enable
Confirm the settings are in effect.
sudo ufw status numbered
Example output:
Status: active
To Action From
-- ------ ----
[ 1] 9000/udp ALLOW IN Anywhere
[ 2] 22/tcp ALLOW IN Anywhere
[ 3] 30303/tcp ALLOW IN Anywhere
[ 4] 9000/tcp ALLOW IN Anywhere
[ 5] 9000/udp (v6) ALLOW IN Anywhere (v6)
[ 6] 22/tcp (v6) ALLOW IN Anywhere (v6)
[ 7] 30303/tcp (v6) ALLOW IN Anywhere (v6)
[ 8] 9000/tcp (v6) ALLOW IN Anywhere (v6)
For optimal connectivity, ensure Port Forwarding is setup for your router.

3. Setup Pithos ansible files

#Setup git directory
mkdir ~/git
cd ~/git
#Clone the repository
git clone https://github.com/parithosh/consensus-deployment-ansible
#Change directories
cd ~/git/consensus-deployment-ansible/scripts/quick-run/
#Create the required directories for persistent data
mkdir -p execution_data beacon_data

4. Set IP Address

Set your public IP address into the pithos.vars file. Ensure your IP address is correct by cross checking with https://www.whatismyip.com.
IP_ADDRESS=$(curl ifconfig.me)
echo My IP address: $IP_ADDRESS
sed -i -e "s/<ENTER-IP-ADDRESS-HERE>/$IP_ADDRESS/g" ~/git/consensus-deployment-ansible/scripts/quick-run/pithos.vars

5. Run the execution and consensus clients

Choose and start up your execution client.
Geth
Besu
docker-compose --env-file pithos.vars -f docker-compose.geth.yml up -d
docker-compose --env-file pithos.vars -f docker-compose.besu.yml up -d
Choose and start up your consensus client.
Lodestar
Teku
Lighthouse
docker-compose --env-file pithos.vars -f docker-compose.lodestar.yml up -d
docker-compose --env-file pithos.vars -f docker-compose.teku.yml up -d
docker-compose --env-file pithos.vars -f docker-compose.lighthouse.yml up -d
Check your logs to confirm that the execution and consensus clients are up and syncing.
Geth
Besu
docker logs geth -f --tail=20
docker logs besu -f --tail=20
Lodestar
Teku
Lighthouse
docker logs lodestar_beacon -f --tail=20
docker logs teku_beacon -f --tail=20
docker logs lighthouse_beacon -f --tail=20
Syncing is complete when your slot number matches that of a block explorers. Check https://pithos-explorer.ethdevops.io/
Since the network is relatively new, syncing both the execution and consensus layers should take a few minutes or so.
Congrats on setting up your Pithos staking node!
Note: Validator Deposits not yet available. Deposits for general public should be available in a week.
If you haven't already, learn to setup a Validator for Ethereum Staking.

Additional Information

Stopping the execution and consensus clients

To stop the clients, run
Geth
Besu
docker-compose -f docker-compose.geth.yml down
docker-compose -f docker-compose.besu.yml down
Lodestar
Teku
Lighthouse
docker-compose -f docker-compose.lodestar.yml down
docker-compose -f docker-compose.teku.yml down
docker-compose -f docker-compose.lighthouse.yml down

Troubleshooting

View the current running docker processes.
docker ps
Example output:
CONTAINER ID IMAGE COMMAND CREATED STATUS PORTS NAMES
592fd5931a1b parithoshj/geth:merge-ac736f9 "geth --datadir=/exe…" 1 hours ago Up 1 hours geth
Notice the column under NAMES. In this example, it's geth.
We can shutdown and clean the container by calling geth's yml filename (e.g docker-compose.geth.yml). Update this filename for your specific execution or consensus client.
docker-compose -f docker-compose.geth.yml down --remove-orphans

Change Ports

Scenario: The default ports 30303 and 9000 are already in use and you need to change ports.
Edit the appropriate docker .yml file. e.g. docker-compose.geth.yml
Add this to the command line.
--port <your port#>
Update UFW firewalls and/or port forwarding rules accordingly.

Reference Material