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Lisk Core Docker Setup


This document will detail how to prepare a system to run Lisk Core as a Docker-based container. To run Lisk in Docker a user must first install the Docker Engine. Additionally, it is recommended to install Docker Compose for convenience.

Determine if your platform can run Docker.

Supported Platforms

Please refer to

Mac OS X

Please refer to
Please note that Docker for Mac already includes Docker Compose.
Install make using XCode


Please refer to
Please note that Docker for Windows includes Docker Compose.


Please refer to

To install Docker Compose, please refer to

Important: Configure Docker, so it can be run without sudo rights:

Install make using your package manager. For example, use apt-get if running Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install curl make

Open the necessary ports

Mandatory: Always open the WebSocket port of your desired network, to enable communication with other peer nodes.

Optional: Open the corresponding HTTP port for your network, to make your node's API reachable.

For more info, see the diagram on the Interact with the network page.

To connect to the desired network with Lisk Core, please ensure that the corresponding ports are open:

Network HTTP WebSocket
Mainnet 8000 8001
Testnet 7000 7001
Devnet 4000 5000

These are the default ports for connecting with the network, these can be altered later in .env.

Create a new user

To run and manage a Lisk Core node in the future, please create a separate 'lisk' user like so:


The lisk user itself does not need any sudo rights to run Lisk Core. It is sufficient to create a group docker and add the newly created user to that group, to enable the user to use Docker (see:

sudo adduser lisk              # create a new user
sudo groupadd docker           # create docker group
sudo usermod -aG docker lisk   # add the user to docker group


Get configuration and Makefile

Clone the Lisk Repository.

sudo -u lisk -i                                    # switch to lisk user
git clone  # clone the repository
cd lisk-core/docker                                # navigate into docker directory

It contains a directory docker with the following files:

  • .env.development
  • .env.mainnet
  • .env.testnet
  • docker-compose.make.yml: used by make coldstart.
  • docker-compose.override.yml: use this file to overwrite LISK_ variables (empty by default).
  • docker-compose.redis.yml: enable cache (optional).
  • docker-compose.yml
  • Makefile

The .env-files are templates with network specific environment variables.

Set environment variables

To connect to the Lisk network, the environment variables need to be set accordingly.

Before setting the variables, you may want to edit them in the respective .env.{network} file.

It is recommended to change the password for the database, which is stored in ENV_LISK_DB_PASSWORD.

To install a specific version of Lisk Core, set the ENV_LISK_VERSION to the respective version.

After adjusting them, copy the environment variables to a file called .env:

cp .env.{network} .env

Where {network} stands for the Lisk network you want to connect to.

Coldstart application

Option 1: Makefile

We recommend using the Makefile.
Makefile provides a convenient way to sync your node from snapshot:

make coldstart  # will download and restore from a recent blockchain snapshot for you

Note: If you want to synchronize your node starting form the genesis block, it might take a significant amount of time until your local node will be fully syncronized with the blockchain network.
We recommend to use "make coldstart" in case you want/need your node ready to use quickly.

make  # will sync from genesis block on first startup

Option 2: docker-compose

docker-compose up -d # initialize Lisk Core
docker-compose ps    # see the status of Lisk Core
docker-compose logs  # see logs


As final step, verify your node is connected and in sync with the network, e.g. by asking about your nodes' status by using the API:

docker-compose exec lisk curl http://localhost:<PORT>/api/node/status --header "accept: application/json"

Where <PORT> is the network specific httpPort of your node.

The result should look like this:

  "meta": {},
  "data": {
    "broadhash": "ca930994bc1a6a92a47afb7310e3d9903f5e98ce56a6c5fdf444ba34f24c1543",
    "consensus": 94,
    "currentTime": 1558358294074,
    "secondsSinceEpoch": 94249094,
    "height": 8306047,
    "loaded": true,
    "networkHeight": 8306047,
    "syncing": false,
    "transactions": {
      "confirmed": 928836,
      "unconfirmed": 0,
      "unprocessed": 0,
      "unsigned": 0,
      "total": 928836
  "links": {}

When your node is synced, the values of networkHeight and height should be (nearly) equal.

To fully verify that your node is in sync with the network, go to the Lisk Explorer(Mainnet) or Lisk Explorer(Testnet) and compare the Network height in the explorer with the height of your node.
Again, they should be (nearly) equal.

If needed, use the different Explorer tools for further verification, like comparing the last forged blocks on the chain.

From this point, your node should be fully functional.

As next step, check out Docker Administration to learn how to manage your Node.

Post-installation (optional)


You may want to set up a service for Lisk Core, that takes care of restarting it automatically after server restarts:

# /etc/systemd/system/docker-compose-lisk.service
Description=Docker Compose Application Service
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/docker-compose up

Note for delegates: You still need to enable forging manually after a restart of Lisk Core.

To enable the service, run:

systemctl enable docker-compose-lisk

Check the service by running:

systemctl status docker-compose-lisk.service # display the status of the service
sudo journalctl -u docker-compose-lisk.service # display the logs of the service

What's next?