Lisk Core from Source Setup


To complete the installation some prerequisites need to be fulfilled. If you have already performed these, please proceed to the Installation chapter.


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 information, see the diagram on the Interact with network page.

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

Network HTTP WebSocket










These are the default ports for connecting with the network. They can be altered later in the config.json file.

Create a new user

To run and manage a Lisk Core node in the future, please create a separate lisk user as described below:

  • Ubuntu

  • MacOS

The lisk user itself does not need any sudo rights to run the Lisk Core.

It is sufficient to create a group docker, and then add the newly created user to that group, in order to enable the user to use Docker, (see:

sudo adduser lisk              (1)
sudo groupadd docker           (2)
sudo usermod -aG docker lisk   (3)
1 create a new user
2 create docker group
3 add the user to docker group

It is not necessarily required to set up a lisk user, especially when you are running a local instance for development purposes.

However, if it is required then it is recommended to create the user using the macOS GUI:

Toolchain components

Used for compiling dependencies.

  • Ubuntu

  • MacOS

sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y libtool automake autoconf curl build-essential python-minimal

Ensure that both XCode and Homebrew are installed.

brew install autoconf automake libtool


Git is used for cloning and updating Lisk.

  • Ubuntu

  • MacOS

sudo apt install -y git
brew install git


To install PostgreSQL please follow the instructions described below.

It is recommended using PostgreSQL with Docker for a quick and straight forward setup of PostgreSQL, and PostgreSQL system-wide for production environments.
  • Postgres system wide

  • Postgres with Docker

See intructions for MacOS below.


Firstly, install postgreSQL on your machine:

sudo apt-get purge -y postgres* (1)
sudo sh -c 'echo "deb $(lsb_release -cs)-pgdg main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pgdg.list'
sudo apt install wget ca-certificates
wget --quiet -O - | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt update
sudo apt install postgresql-10
1 remove all already installed postgres versions

After installation, you should see the Postgres database cluster, by running


Drop the existing database cluster, and replace it with a cluster with the locale en_US.UTF-8:

sudo pg_dropcluster --stop 10 main
sudo pg_createcluster --locale en_US.UTF-8 --start 10 main

Create a new database user called lisk and grant it rights to create databases. Then create the database with the lisk user as owner. In the last step, define the password for the lisk user:

sudo -u postgres -i createuser --createdb lisk
sudo -u postgres -i createdb lisk_<NETWORK> --owner lisk
sudo -u postgres psql -d lisk_<NETWORK> -c "alter user lisk with password 'password';"

<NETWORK> may be main for Mainnet, test for Testnet or dev for Devnet.

Change password to a secure password of your choice. Don’t forget to update this password in the Lisk Core configuration later on.


Install Postgres version 10:

brew install postgresql@10

Execute the following to have PostgreSQL commands (e.g. psql) in your PATH:

echo 'export PATH="/usr/local/opt/postgresql@10/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bash_profile
source ~/.bash_profile

Start PostgreSQL, create the lisk user and the database:

pg_ctl -D /usr/local/var/postgresql@10 start
createuser lisk
createdb --owner=lisk lisk_<NETWORK>
psql --dbname=lisk_<NETWORK> --command="ALTER USER lisk WITH PASSWORD 'password';"

<NETWORK> may be main for Mainnet, test for Testnet or dev for Devnet.

Change password to a secure password of your choice. Don’t forget to update this password in the Lisk Core configuration later on.

Running Postgres inside a Docker container will setup the correct version of Postgres and containerize it away from any existing versions you may have locally on your machine. Chose this setup if you are not familiar with Postgres, or if you run in to issues with a previously installed version of Postgres. To perform the command below successfully, install Docker like described in the Setup page of Lisk Core Docker distribution.

If you have other versions of PostgreSQL installed on your machine, make sure to stop them before starting the docker container.
docker run --name lisk_core_db -p 5432:5432 -e POSTGRES_USER=lisk -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=password -e POSTGRES_DB=lisk_<NETWORK> -d postgres:10

This will install PostgreSQL version 10 (postgres:10) in a container with name lisk_core_db and binds the port 5432 of the container with the same port of the machine. As environment variables we expose POSTGRES_USER=lisk to create the lisk user and POSTGRES_PASSWORD=password to set the password for the lisk user. Finally the environment variable POSTGRES_DB creates the database lisk_<NETWORK> with the lisk user as owner.

The above should be enough to set up the database ready to use with Lisk Core. To manage the Docker container, use the following commands:

docker stop lisk_core_db (1)
docker start lisk_core_db (2)
docker restart lisk_core_db (3)
docker rm lisk_core_db (4)
1 stop the container
2 start the container
3 restart the container
4 remove the container

In case you want to access Postgres inside the container via CLI, run:

docker exec --tty --interactive lisk_core_db psql -h localhost -U lisk -d postgres


Node.js serves as the underlying engine for code execution. There are several different ways and version managers to install Node.JS on your system. We recommend one of the following two:

  • Option A - Node Version Manager

  • Option B - Node.js package

We recommend using a Node version manager such as NVM. NVM is a bash script that enables you to manage multiple active Node.js versions.

  1. Install nvm following the official instructions

  2. Install the correct version of Node.js using NVM:

nvm install 10.15.3

If you do not want to use NVM or other package managers, you can install the Node package globally on your system alternatively:


curl -sL | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs


brew install node@10.15.3

PM2 (optional)

Install PM2 for managing start/stop of the app process in the background:

npm install pm2 -g

Redis (optional)

  • Ubuntu

  • MacOS

sudo apt install redis-server

Start Redis:

sudo service redis-server start

Stop Redis:

sudo service redis-server stop
brew install redis

Start Redis:

brew services start redis

Stop Redis:

brew services stop redis

Lisk does not run on the redis default port of 6379. Instead it is configured to run on port: 6380. Due to this, to run Lisk, you have one of two options:

  • A - Change the Lisk configuration

  • B - Change the Redis launch configuration

In the next installation phase, remember to update the Redis port configuration in config.json.

Update the launch configuration file on your system. Note that there are many ways to do this.

The following is one example:

  1. Stop redis-server

  2. Edit the file redis.conf and change: port 6379 to port 6380

    • Ubuntu/Debian: /etc/redis/redis.conf

    • MacOS: /usr/local/etc/redis.conf

  3. Start redis-server

Now confirm that redis is running on port 6380:

redis-cli -p 6380

And you should get the result PONG.

If you have finished all the above steps successfully, your system is ready for installation of Lisk Core.


This section details how to install Lisk Core from Source. When completed, you will have a functioning node on the Lisk Network. If you are looking to upgrade your current Lisk Core installation, please see Update from Source.

Login as the Lisk user

This user was created in the pre-installation steps. If you are already logged in to this user, please skip this step.

sudo -u lisk -i

Installing Lisk from Source

git clone (1)
cd lisk-core                  (2)
git checkout v2.0.0 -b v2.0.0 (3)
npm ci                        (4)
npm run build                 (5)
1 clone the repository
2 navigate into the lisk-core root folder
3 check out the latest release tag
4 install dependencies
5 compile packages
Please check for latest release on core releases.

To test that Lisk Core is built and configured correctly, issue the following command to connect to the network:

node dist/index.js (1)
LISK_NETWORK=[network] node dist/index.js (2)
node dist/index.js --network [network] (3)
1 Default: connect to Devnet
2 Use environment variables to overwrite config values (recommended)
3 Use flags to overwrite config values

Where [network] might be either devnet (default), alphanet, betanet, testnet or mainnet.

It is recommended to overwrite the config values with environment variables if needed. Useable variables will always start with LISK_ prefix. Alternatively, the user may define a custom config.json, like described in Configuration of Lisk Core . Click here, to see a list of available environment variables

If the process is running correctly, no errors are thrown in the logs. By default, errors will be logged in logs/[network]/lisk.log. Once the process is verified as running correctly, CTRL+C and start the process with pm2. This will fork the process into the background and automatically recover the process if it fails.

pm2 start --name lisk dist/index.js -- --network [network]

Where [network] might be either devnet (default), alphanet, betanet, testnet or mainnet.

If you are not running Lisk locally, you will need to follow the API access guide document to enable access.

That’s it! You are ready to move on to the configuration documentation in case you wish to configure your node further, e.g. if you wish to enable forging.

Post-installation (optional)