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Supported Platforms

  • Ubuntu 16.04 (LTS) x86_64
  • Ubuntu 18.04 (LTS) x86_64
  • MacOS 10.13 (High Sierra)
  • MacOS 10.14 (Mojave)


The following dependencies need to be installed in order to run applications created with the Lisk SDK:

Dependencies Version
Node.js 10.15.3
PostgreSQL 10+
Redis (optional) 5+
Python 2


Create a new user

To install the required prerequisites, it is necessary to have a user with sudo rights on the server.
The lisk user itself does not need any sudo rights to run the node.

To run and manage a node in the future, please create a separate lisk user. E.g. execute:

sudo adduser lisk

It is not essentially needed to set up a lisk user, especially when you are running a local instance for development purposes.
If you still want to do it, we recommend to create the user using the macOS GUI:

Toolchain components

Used for compiling dependencies.

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

Ensure that both XCode and Homebrew are installed.

brew install autoconf automake libtool


To install Postgres follow the intructions descibed below, depending on the operating system your machine is running on.

Two different ways of installing Docker on your system are described below.
If you run into issues when trying to set up PostgreSQL on your machine, try to install it inside of a docker container.

We recommend using Postgres with Docker for a quick and straight forward setup of Postgres.

Option A. Postgres with Docker

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.

Install Docker

To perform the command below successfully, install Docker first:

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

Start the Docker container

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_sdk_db -p 5432:5432 -e POSTGRES_USER=lisk -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=password -e POSTGRES_DB=lisk_dev -d postgres:10

This will install PostgreSQL version 10 (postgres:10) in a container with name lisk_sdk_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_dev with the lisk user as owner.

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

docker stop lisk_sdk_db # stop the container
docker start lisk_sdk_db # start the container
docker restart lisk_sdk_db # restart the container
docker rm lisk_sdk_db # remove the container

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

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

Option B. Postgres system-wide

An alternative way to install Postgres on the system without Docker.


Firstly, install postgreSQL on your machine:

sudo apt-get purge -y postgres* # remove all already installed postgres versions
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

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 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 SDK 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 Postgres, 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 SDK configuration later on.


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

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 these instructions
  2. Install the correct version of Node.js using NVM:
    nvm install 10.15.3

Option B: Node.js package

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


To install the alpha version of the NPM package lisk-sdk, run:

npm install --save lisk-sdk # add --save flag to save it to package.json

What's next?