Skip to main content

NEAR Validator Bootcamp πŸš€

Validator Onboarding FAQ's​

What’s the current protocol upgrade that will increase the number of validators on Mainnet?

The next upgrade to increase the number of mainnet validators will introduce Chunk-Only Producers, and is currently slated for Q3 2022. To find out more about how to become a Chunk-Only Producer, please head to and register.

How do I join NEAR as a validator on the Mainnet? What steps do I need to take?

  1. Find out more about how to become a validator, head to
  2. Join the Open Shards Alliance Server to find out more on how to run nodes and participate on the guildnet.

What are the future plans for NEAR Protocol?

Learn about the protocol roadmap here


Blockchain Technology​

Blockchain is a new technology originally developed by Bitcoin. The term most often used to describe blockchain technology is a β€œpublic ledger”. An easy way to describe it, is that it’s similar to your banking statement that keeps track of balances, debits, and credits, with several key differences:

  • Limitless – Transactions can be added as long as the network is up and running
  • Unchangeable – Immutable once written (validated), it can not be modified
  • Decentralized – Maintained by individual nodes called validators worldwide
  • Verifiable – Transactions are verified via consensus by decentralized validators via a Proof of Stake (POS) or Proof of Work (POW) algorithm

Smart Contracts​

Not all blockchains are equal. While some only allow the processing of transactions (balances, debits, and credits), blockchains like NEAR and Ethereum offer another layer of functionality that enables programs to run on the blockchain known as smart contracts.

An easy way to think about it is that β€œsmart contract” enabled blockchains are like supercomputers. They allow for users and developers to pay a fee to use CPU/Memory (resources), and Disk (storage) on a global scale.

However, it does not make sense to store everything on the blockchain as it would be too expensive. Web front-ends (HTML, CSS, and JS) are served from web hosting, Github, or Skynet, and images are often stored on InterPlanetary File Systems (IPFS) like Filecoin or Arweave.


As the founding blockchains, Bitcoin and Ethereum, began to grow, limitations presented themselves. They could only manage to process a specific number of transactions in a block/space of time. This created severe bottlenecks with processing, wait times, and also significantly increased the transaction fee required to have transactions processed.

Sharding is a technological advancement that allows blockchains to scale and to provide more throughput, while decreasing wait times and keeping transaction fees low. It accomplishes this by creating additional shards as the use of the network grows.

About NEAR​

NEAR Protocol was designed with a best-of-breed approach in mind. It focuses on fixing the bottlenecks of the earlier blockchains while also enhancing the user experience to enable broader adoption of blockchain technology by existing Web2 users and developers. NEAR is a sharded Proof of Stake (POS) blockchain.

Key Features​

  • Award-Winning Team – Top Programmers in the world
  • Proof of Stake (POS)
  • Unlimited Shards
  • User Experience (UX)
  • Developer Experience (DX)
  • Rainbow Bridge to ETH – Bridge assets to and from ETH
  • Aurora – Run native ETH apps built-in solidity

Technology Stack​

  • Rust – Primary Smart Contract Language
  • Assembly Script – Alternant Smart Contract Language (similar to TypeScript)
  • NodeJS – Tooling
  • Javascript / React / Angular – Frontends


NEAR-CLI is a command-line interface that communicates with the NEAR blockchain via remote procedure calls (RPC):

  • Setup and Installation NEAR CLI
  • View Validator Stats

Note: For security reasons, it is recommended that NEAR-CLI be installed on a different computer than your validator node and that no full access keys be kept on your validator node.


First, let's make sure the Debian machine is up-to-date.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Install developer tools, Node.js, and npm​

First, we will start with installing Node.js and npm:

curl -sL | sudo -E bash -  
sudo apt install build-essential nodejs

Check Node.js and npm version:

node -v


npm -v


Install NEAR-CLI​

Here's the Github Repository for NEAR CLI.: To install NEAR-CLI, unless you are logged in as root, which is not recommended you will need to use sudo to install NEAR-CLI so that the near binary is saved to /usr/local/bin

sudo npm install -g near-cli

Validator Stats​

Now that NEAR-CLI is installed, let's test out the CLI and use the following commands to interact with the blockchain as well as to view validator stats. There are three reports used to monitor validator status:


The environment will need to be set each time a new shell is launched to select the correct network.


  • GuildNet
  • TestNet
  • MainNet


export NEAR_ENV=<network> (use guildnet / testnet / mainnet)

A proposal by a validator indicates they would like to enter the validator set, in order for a proposal to be accepted it must meet the minimum seat price.


near proposals
Validators Current​

This shows a list of active validators in the current epoch, the number of blocks produced, number of blocks expected, and online rate. Used to monitor if a validator is having issues.


near validators current
Validators Next​

This shows validators whose proposal was accepted one epoch ago, and that will enter the validator set in the next epoch.


near validators next


In this lesson you will learn about:

  • Setting up a Node
  • Difference between MainNet and TestNet
  • Compiling Nearcore for MainNet
  • Genesis file (genesis.json)
  • Config file (config.json)

Server Requirements​

For Block Producing Validators, please refer to the Validator Hardware For Chunk-Only Producers (an upcoming role on NEAR), please see the hardware requirement below:

HardwareChunk-Only Producer Specifications
CPU4-Core CPU with AVX support
Storage500GB SSD

Install required software & set the configuration​


Before you start, you may want to confirm that your machine has the right CPU features. For more hardware specific information, please take a look of the Hardware requirement.

lscpu | grep -P '(?=.*avx )(?=.*sse4.2 )(?=.*cx16 )(?=.*popcnt )' > /dev/null \
&& echo "Supported" \
|| echo "Not supported"


Next, let's make sure the Debian machine is up-to-date.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Install developer tools:​

sudo apt install -y git binutils-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev zlib1g-dev libdw-dev libiberty-dev cmake gcc g++ python protobuf-compiler libssl-dev pkg-config clang llvm cargo

Install Python pip:​

sudo apt install python3-pip

Set the configuration:​

USER_BASE_BIN=$(python3 -m site --user-base)/bin

Install Building env​

sudo apt install clang build-essential make

Install Rust & Cargo​

curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSf | sh

You will see the following:


Press 1 and press enter.

Source the environment​

source $HOME/.cargo/env

Clone nearcore project from GitHub​

First, clone the nearcore repository.

git clone
cd nearcore
git fetch origin --tags

Checkout to the branch you need. Latest unstable release is recommended if you are running on testnet and latest stable version is recommended if you are running on mainnet. Please check the releases page on GitHub.

git checkout tags/<version> -b mynode

Compile nearcore binary​

In the nearcore folder run the following commands:

make neard

The binary path is target/release/neard. If you are seeing issues, it is possible that cargo command is not found. Make sure sudo apt install cargo. Compiling nearcore binary may take a little while.

Initialize working directory​

In order to work properly, the NEAR node requires a working directory and a couple of configuration files. Generate the initial required working directory by running:

./target/release/neard --home ~/.near init --chain-id <network> --download-genesis


This command will create the directory structure and will generate config.json, node_key.json, and genesis.json on the network you have passed. The genesis file for testnet is big (6GB +) so this command will be running for a while and no progress will be shown.

  • config.json - Configuration parameters which are responsive for how the node will work. The config.json contains needed information for a node to run on the network, how to communicate with peers, and how to reach consensus. Although some options are configurable. In general validators have opted to use the default config.json provided.
  • genesis.json - A file with all the data the network started with at genesis. This contains initial accounts, contracts, access keys, and other records which represents the initial state of the blockchain. The genesis.json file is a snapshot of the network state at a point in time. In contacts accounts, balances, active validators, and other information about the network. On MainNet, it is the state of what the network looked like at launch. On testnet or guildnet, it can include a more intermediate state if the network was hard-forked at one point.
  • node_key.json - A file which contains a public and private key for the node. Also includes an optional account_id parameter which is required to run a validator node (not covered in this doc).
  • data/ - A folder in which a NEAR node will write it's state.

Replace the config.json​

From the generated config.json, there two parameters to modify:

  • boot_nodes: If you had not specify the boot nodes to use during init in Step 3, the generated config.json shows an empty array, so we will need to replace it with a full one specifying the boot nodes.
  • tracked_shards: In the generated config.json, this field is an empty empty. You will have to replace it to "tracked_shards": [0]
rm ~/.near/config.json
wget -O ~/.near/config.json<network>/config.json

Get data backup​

The node is ready to be started. However, you must first sync up with the network. This means your node needs to download all the headers and blocks that other nodes in the network already have.

First, please install AWS CLI:

sudo apt-get install awscli -y

Then, download the snapshot using the AWS CLI:

aws s3 --no-sign-request cp s3://near-protocol-public/backups/<testnet|mainnet>/rpc/latest .
LATEST=$(cat latest)
aws s3 --no-sign-request cp --no-sign-request --recursive s3://near-protocol-public/backups/<testnet|mainnet>/rpc/$LATEST ~/.near/data

NOTE: The .tar file is around 147GB (and will grow) so make sure you have enough disk space to unpack inside the data folder.

Run the node​

To start your node simply run the following command:

cd nearcore
./target/release/neard --home ~/.near run

img The node is now running you can see log outputs in your console. Your node should be find peers, download headers to 100%, and then download blocks.

Using NearUp​

You can set up a node using neard on Mainnet and Testnet. On Guildnet, you have the option to use NearUp to set the node. However, NearUp is not recommended or supported for Mainnet or Testnet. We recommend that you use neard consistently on Guildnet, Testnet, and Mainnet.

However, if you choose to use NearUp, NearUp will download the necessary binaries and files to get up and running. You just need to provide the network to run and the staking pool id.

  • Install NearUp:
pip3 install --user nearup
  • Install latest NearUp Version:
pip3 install --user --upgrade nearup

Create a wallet​

Authorize Wallet Locally​

A full access key needs to be installed locally to be able transactions via NEAR-CLI.

For Guildnet

export NEAR_ENV=testnet
  • You need to run this command:
near login

Note: This command launches a web browser allowing for the authorization of a full access key to be copied locally.

1 – Copy the link in your browser


2 – Grant Access to Near CLI


3 – After Grant, you will see a page like this, go back to console


4 – Enter your wallet and press Enter


For Guildnet

  • Download the latest genesis and config files:
cd ~/.near/guildnet
wget -c
wget -c
  • Launch this command so set the Near guildnet Environment:
export NEAR_ENV=guildnet

You can also run this command to set the Near guildnet Environment persistent:

echo 'export NEAR_ENV=guildnet' >> ~/.bashrc
  • Running command is:
nearup run $NEAR_ENV --account-id <staking pool id>

Where AccountId is xx.stake.guildnet, xx is your pool name for example bootcamp.stake.guildnet

For Testnet

  • Download the latest genesis, config files:
cd ~/.near/testnet
wget -c
wget -c
  • Download the latest snapshot:
mkdir ~/.near/testnet/data
cd ~/.near/testnet
wget -c -O - | tar -xf -
  • Launch this command so set the Near testnet Environment:
export NEAR_ENV=testnet
  • You can also run this command to set the Near testnet Environment persistent:
echo 'export NEAR_ENV=testnet' >> ~/.bashrc
  • Running command is:
nearup run $NEAR_ENV --account-id <staking pool id>

Where AccountId is xx.pool.f863973.m0, xx is your pool name for example bootcamp.pool.f863973.m0

On the first run, NEARUp will ask you to enter a staking pool id, provide the staking pool id set up previously in the form {pool id}.{staking pool factory}

Note: This is the Chicken and the Egg. You have not created the staking pool, but need to provide the name.

Check the validator_key.json​

  • Run the following command:

For Guildnet

cat ~/.near/guildnet/validator_key.json

For Testnet

cat ~/.near/testnet/validator_key.json

Note: If a validator_key.json is not present, follow these steps to create one

Create a validator_key.json for Guildnet

  • Generate the Key file:
near generate-key <pool_id>
  • Copy the file generated to Guildnet folder:

Make sure to replace YOUR_WALLET by your accountId

cp ~/.near-credentials/guildnet/<YOUR_WALLET>.json ~/.near/guildnet/validator_key.json
  • Edit β€œaccount_id” => xx.stake.guildnet, where xx is your PoolName

  • Change private_key to secret_key

Note: The account_id must match the staking pool contract name or you will not be able to sign blocks.\

File content must be in the following pattern:

"account_id": "xx.stake.guildnet",
"public_key": "ed25519:HeaBJ3xLgvZacQWmEctTeUqyfSU4SDEnEwckWxd92W2G",
"secret_key": "ed25519:****"

Create a validator_key.json for Testnet

  • Generate the Key file:
near generate-key <pool_id>
  • Copy the file generated to Testnet folder: Make sure to replace YOUR_WALLET by your accountId
cp ~/.near-credentials/testnet/YOUR_WALLET.json ~/.near/testnet/validator_key.json
  • Edit β€œaccount_id” => xx.pool.f863973.m0, where xx is your PoolName
  • Change private_key to secret_key

Note: The account_id must match the staking pool contract name or you will not be able to sign blocks.\

File content must be in the following pattern:

"account_id": "xx.stake.guildnet",
"public_key": "ed25519:HeaBJ3xLgvZacQWmEctTeUqyfSU4SDEnEwckWxd92W2G",
"secret_key": "ed25519:****"

Step 8 – Check all files were generated​

Command for Guildnet

ls ~/.near/guildnet

Command for Testnet

ls ~/.near/testnet

You should have: validator_key.json node_key.json config.json data genesis.json

Setup using NEARCore (MainNet)


Step 1 – Installation required software & set the configuration​

  • Before you start, you might want to ensure your system is up to date.
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y
  • Install Python
sudo apt install python3 git curl
  • Install Building env
sudo apt install clang build-essential make
  • Install Rust & Cargo
curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSf | sh

Press 1 and press enter img

  • Source the environment
source $HOME/.cargo/env
  • Clone the NEARCore Repo
git clone
cd nearcore
make release
  • Install Nodejs and NPM
curl -sL | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt install build-essential nodejs
  • Install Near CLI

Once NodeJs and NPM are installed you can now install NEAR-Cli.

Unless you are logged in as root, which is not recommended you will need to use sudo to install NEAR-Cli so that the near binary to /usr/local/bin

sudo npm install -g near-cli
  • Launch this command so set the Near Mainnet Environment:
export NEAR_ENV=mainnet
  • You can also run this command to set the Near testnet Environment persistent:
echo 'export NEAR_ENV=mainnet' >> ~/.bashrc

Step 2 – Create a wallet​


Step 3 – Authorize Wallet Locally​

A full access key needs to be installed locally to be able transactions via NEAR-Cli.

  • You need to run this command:
near login

Note: This command launches a web browser allowing for the authorization of a full access key to be copied locally.

1 – Copy the link in your browser


2 – Grant Access to Near CLI


3 – After Grant, you will see a page like this, go back to console


4 – Enter your wallet and press Enter


Step 4 – Initialize & Start the Node​

  • Download the latest genesis, config files:
mkdir ~/.near
cd ~/.near
wget -c
wget -c
target/release/neard init --chain-id="mainnet" --account-id=<staking pool id>
Create validator_key.json​
  • Generate the Key file:
near generate-key <pool_id>
  • Copy the file generated to Mainnet folder.Make sure to replace YOUR_WALLET by your accountId
cp ~/.near-credentials/YOUR_WALLET.json ~/.near/mainnet/validator_key.json
  • Edit β€œaccount_id” => xx.poolv1.near, where xx is your PoolName
  • Change β€œprivate_key” to β€œsecret_key”

    Note: The account_id must match the staking pool contract name or you will not be able to sign blocks. File content must be something like : { "account_id": "xx.poolv1.near", "public_key": "ed25519:HeaBJ3xLgvZacQWmEctTeUqyfSU4SDEnEwckWxd92W2G", "secret_key": "ed25519:****" }

near generate-key <your_accountId>
vi ~/.near/{your_accountId}.json

Rename "private_key" to "secret_key", then move the file to ~/.near.

mv the file to ~/.near

Update "account_id" to be the staking_pool_id

Note: The account_id must match the staking pool contract name or you will not be able to sign blocks.

  • Start the Node
target/release/neard run
  • Setup Systemd Command:
sudo vi /etc/systemd/system/neard.service


Description=NEARd Daemon Service

ExecStart=/home/<USER>/nearcore/target/release/neard run


Note: Change USER to your paths


sudo systemctl enable neard


sudo systemctl start neard

If you need to make a change to service because of an error in the file. It has to be reloaded:

sudo systemctl reload neard
Watch logs​


journalctl -n 100 -f -u neard

Make log output in pretty print


sudo apt install ccze

View Logs with color


journalctl -n 100 -f -u neard | ccze -A

Becoming a Validator​

In order to become a validator and enter the validator set, a minimum set of success criteria must be met.

  • The node must be fully synced
  • The validator_key.json must be in place
  • The contract must be initialized with the public_key in validator_key.json
  • The account_id must be set to the staking pool contract id
  • There must be enough delegations to meet the minimum seat price. See the seat price here.
  • A proposal must be submitted by pinging the contract
  • Once a proposal is accepted a validator must wait 2-3 epoch to enter the validator set
  • Once in the validator set the validator must produce great than 90% of assigned blocks

Check running status of validator node. If β€œValidator” is showing up, your pool is selected in the current validators list.

Submitting Pool Information (Mainnet Only)​

Adding pool information helps delegators and also helps with outreach for upgrades and other important announcements: The available fields to add are:

The identifying information that we ask the validators:to provide are:

  • Name
  • Description
  • URL
  • Country and country code
  • Email (for support)
  • Telegram, Discord, or Twitter


near call name.near update_field '{"pool_id": "<pool_id>.poolv1.near", "name": "url", "value": ""}' --accountId=<accountId>.near  --gas=200000000000000
near call name.near update_field '{"pool_id": "<pool_id>.poolv1.near", "name": "twitter", "value": "<twitter>"}' --accountId=<account id>.near  --gas=200000000000000
near view name.near get_all_fields '{"from_index": 0, "limit": 3}'
near view name.near get_fields_by_pool '{"pool_id": "<pool_id>.poolv1.near"}'


NEAR uses a staking pool factory with a whitelisted staking contract to ensure delegators’ funds are safe. In order to run a validator on NEAR, a staking pool must be deployed to a NEAR account and integrated into a NEAR validator node. Delegators must use a UI or the command line to stake to the pool. A staking pool is a smart contract that is deployed to a NEAR account.

Deploy a Staking Pool Contract​

Deploy a Staking Pool​

Calls the staking pool factory, creates a new staking pool with the specified name, and deploys it to the indicated accountId.

For Guildnet

near call stake.guildnet create_staking_pool '{"staking_pool_id": "<pool id>", "owner_id": "<accountId>", "stake_public_key": "<public key>", "reward_fee_fraction": {"numerator": 5, "denominator": 100}}' --accountId="<accountId>" --amount=30 --gas=300000000000000

For Testnet

near call pool.f863973.m0 create_staking_pool '{"staking_pool_id": "<pool id>", "owner_id": "<accountId>", "stake_public_key": "<public key>", "reward_fee_fraction": {"numerator": 5, "denominator": 100}}' --accountId="<accountId>" --amount=30 --gas=300000000000000

For Mainnet

near call poolv1.near create_staking_pool '{"staking_pool_id": "<pool id>", "owner_id": "<accountId>", "stake_public_key": "<public key>", "reward_fee_fraction": {"numerator": 5, "denominator": 100}}' --accountId="<accountId>" --amount=30 --gas=300000000000000

From the example above, you need to replace:

  • Pool ID: Staking pool name, the factory automatically adds its name to this parameter, creating {pool_id}.{staking_pool_factory} Examples:
  • nearkat.stake.guildnet for guildnet
  • nearkat.pool.f863973.m0 for testnet
  • nearkat.poolv1.near for mainnet
  • Owner ID: The NEAR account that will manage the staking pool. Usually your main NEAR account.
  • Public Key: The public key in your validator_key.json file.
  • 5: The fee the pool will charge (e.g. in this case 5 over 100 is 5% of fees).
  • Account Id: The NEAR account deploying the staking pool.

Be sure to have at least 30 NEAR available, it is the minimum required for storage.

To change the pool parameters, such as changing the amount of commission charged to 1% in the example below, use this command:

near call <pool_name> update_reward_fee_fraction '{"reward_fee_fraction": {"numerator": 1, "denominator": 100}}' --accountId <account_id> --gas=300000000000000

You will see something like this:


If there is a β€œTrue” at the End. Your pool is created.

You have now configure your Staking pool.

For Guildnet & Testnet You can go to OSA Discord to ask for some guildnet or testnet token to be a validator,

Configure your staking pool contract​


  • Pool Name – pool_id.staking_pool_factory
  • Owner Id
  • Public Key
  • Reward Fraction
  • Account Id
near call <pool name> new '{"owner_id": "<owner id>", "<public key>": "<public key>", "reward_fee_fraction": {"numerator": <reward fraction>, "denominator": 100}}' --accountId <accountId>

Manage your staking pool contract​

HINT: Copy/Paste everything after this line into a text editor and use search and replace. Once your pool is deployed, you can issue the commands below:

Retrieve the owner ID of the staking pool​


near view {pool_id}.{staking_pool_factory} get_owner_id '{}'
Issue this command to retrieve the public key the network has for your validator​


near view {pool_id}.{staking_pool_factory} get_staking_key '{}'
If the public key does not match you can update the staking key like this (replace the pubkey below with the key in your validator.json file)​
near call {pool_id}.{staking_pool_factory} update_staking_key '{"stake_public_key": "<public key>"}' --accountId <accountId>

Working with Staking Pools​

NOTE: Your validator must be fully synced before issuing a proposal or depositing funds.


In order to get a validator seat you must first submit a proposal with an appropriate amount of stake. Proposals are sent for epoch +2. Meaning if you send a proposal now, if approved, you would get the seat in 3 epochs. You should submit a proposal every epoch to ensure your seat. To send a proposal we use the ping command. A proposal is also sent if a stake or unstake command is sent to the staking pool contract.

To note, a ping also updates the staking balances for your delegators. A ping should be issued each epoch to keep reported rewards current on the pool contract. You could set up a ping using a cron job or use Cron Cat.

Staking Pools Factories for each network:

  • GuildNet: stake.guildnet
  • TestNet: pool.f863973.m0
  • MainNet: poolv1.near


Deposit and Stake NEAR​


near call <staking_pool_id> deposit_and_stake --amount <amount> --accountId <accountId> --gas=300000000000000

Unstake NEAR​

Amount in yoctoNEAR.

Run the following command to unstake:

near call <staking_pool_id> unstake '{"amount": "<amount yoctoNEAR>"}' --accountId <accountId> --gas=300000000000000

To unstake all you can run this one:

near call <staking_pool_id> unstake_all --accountId <accountId> --gas=300000000000000


Unstaking takes 2-3 epochs to complete, after that period you can withdraw in YoctoNEAR from pool.


near call <staking_pool_id> withdraw '{"amount": "<amount yoctoNEAR>"}' --accountId <accountId> --gas=300000000000000

Command to withdraw all:

near call <staking_pool_id> withdraw_all --accountId <accountId> --gas=300000000000000


A ping issues a new proposal and updates the staking balances for your delegators. A ping should be issued each epoch to keep reported rewards current.


near call <staking_pool_id> ping '{}' --accountId <accountId> --gas=300000000000000

Balances Total Balance Command:

near view <staking_pool_id> get_account_total_balance '{"account_id": "<accountId>"}' --gas=300000000000000

Staked Balance​


near view <staking_pool_id> get_account_staked_balance '{"account_id": "<accountId>"}'

Unstaked Balance​


near view <staking_pool_id> get_account_unstaked_balance '{"account_id": "<accountId>"}'

Available for Withdrawal​

You can only withdraw funds from a contract if they are unlocked.


near view <staking_pool_id> is_account_unstaked_balance_available '{"account_id": "<accountId>"}'

Pause / Resume Staking​



near call <staking_pool_id> pause_staking '{}' --accountId <accountId>


near call <staking_pool_id> resume_staking '{}' --accountId <accountId>


Log Files​

The log file is stored either in the ~/.nearup/logs directory or in systemd depending on your setup.

NEARUp Command:

nearup logs --follow

Systemd Command:

journalctl -n 100 -f -u neard | ccze -A

Log file sample:

Validator | 1 validator

INFO stats: #85079829 H1GUabkB7TW2K2yhZqZ7G47gnpS7ESqicDMNyb9EE6tf Validator 73 validators 30 peers ⬇ 506.1kiB/s ⬆ 428.3kiB/s 1.20 bps 62.08 Tgas/s CPU: 23%, Mem: 7.4 GiB
  • Validator: A β€œValidator” will indicate you are an active validator
  • 73 validators: Total 73 validators on the network
  • 30 peers: You current have 30 peers. You need at least 3 peers to reach consensus and start validating
  • #46199418: block – Look to ensure blocks are moving


Any node within the network offers RPC services on port 3030 as long as the port is open in the nodes firewall. The NEAR-CLI uses RPC calls behind the scenes. Common uses for RPC are to check on validator stats, node version and to see delegator stake, although it can be used to interact with the blockchain, accounts and contracts overall.

Find many commands and how to use them in more detail here:


sudo apt install curl jq
Common Commands:​
Check your node version:​


curl -s | jq .version
Check Delegators and Stake​


near view <your pool>.stake.guildnet get_accounts '{"from_index": 0, "limit": 10}' --accountId <accountId>.guildnet
Check Reason Validator Kicked​


curl -s -d '{"jsonrpc": "2.0", "method": "validators", "id": "dontcare", "params": [null]}' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' | jq -c ".result.prev_epoch_kickout[] | select(.account_id | contains ("<POOL_ID>"))" | jq .reason
Check Blocks Produced / Expected​


curl -s -d '{"jsonrpc": "2.0", "method": "validators", "id": "dontcare", "params": [null]}' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' http://localhost:3030/ | jq -c ".result.current_validators[] | select(.account_id | contains ("POOL_ID"))"


Monitoring disk, CPU, memory, network io, missed blocks, and peers is critically important to a healthy node. Prometheus and Granfana combined provide monitoring and visual reporting tools. Please note that Prometheus is best set up on another machine due the storage requirement for logs.



sudo apt-get update


sudo apt-get install prometheus prometheus-node-exporter prometheus-pushgateway

Check that Prometheus was installed and is in your path.

prometheus --version

Start Services​


sudo systemctl status prometheus


sudo systemctl status prometheus-node-exporter


sudo vi /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml

Update the targets and save​

targets: [β€˜localhost:9093’, β€˜localhost:3030’]

Reference the rules file​

Load rules once and periodically evaluate them according to the global 'evaluation_interval'.


- "rules.yml"

Setup Postfix email​


sudo apt-get install mailutils

Setup Responses​

  • internet site
  • enter a domain name (Used for the from email address)


sudo vi /etc/postfix/

Update and save the config file​

  • inet_interfaces = all to inet_interfaces = localhost
  • inet_protocols = all to inet_protocols = ipv4

Restart postfix​


sudo service postfix restart

Add the hostname used with Postfix​


sudo vi /etc/hostname


sudo nano /etc/hosts

Send a test email​

echo "This is the body of the email" | mail -s "This is the subject line"

Update rules.yml​


sudo vi /etc/prometheus/rules.yml
- name: near
- alert: InstanceDown
expr: up == 0
for: 1m
severity: "critical"
summary: "Endpoint {{ $labels.instance }} down"
description: "{{ $labels.instance }} of job {{ $labels.job }} "
- alert: NearVersionBuildNotMatched
expr: near_version_build{instance="", job="near"} != near_dev_version_build{instance="", job="near"}
for: 5m
severity: critical
summary: "Near Node Version needs updated."
description: "Your version is out of date and you risk getting kicked."
- alert: StakeBelowSeatPrice
expr: abs((near_current_stake / near_seat_price) * 100) < 100
for: 2m
severity: critical
description: 'Pool is below the current seat price'

Restart services​


sudo systemctl restart prometheus


sudo systemctl status prometheus
sudo systemctl status prometheus


Download and add the package​


wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add -


sudo add-apt-repository "deb stable main"


sudo apt-get install grafana

Setup Rules​


sudo vi /etc/prometheus/rules.yml
- job_name: validator
- static_configs:
- targets: ['localhost:9093']

Update alert manager​


sudo vi /etc/init.d/prometheus-alertmanager

Set the command-line arguments​


sudo vi /etc/default/prometheus-alertmanager

Start & Reload services​


sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable grafana-server.service
sudo systemctl start grafana-server
sudo service grafana-server status

Install additional plugins​

sudo grafana-cli plugins install simpod-json-datasource
sudo grafana-cli plugins install ryantxu-ajax-panel

Restart service and update password​

service grafana-server restart
sudo grafana-cli admin reset-admin-password admin

Open Ports to specific IP​


sudo iptables -L


sudo iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 3000 -s -j ACCEPT
sudo netfilter-persistent save
sudo netfilter-persistent reload

Create Dashboard​

  • Add datasource Prometheus
  • Add Notification channel email
  • Config grafana email


sudo vi /etc/grafana/grafana.ini
enabled = true
host = localhost:25
skip_verify = true
from_address =
from_name = Validator

Restart service​

service grafana-server restart

Watch logs​

sudo tail -f /var/log/grafana/grafana.log

Install Prometheus Exporter​


sudo apt install golang-go
git clone
cd near-prometheus-exporter/
go build -a -installsuffix cgo -ldflags="-w -s" -o main .

Start exporter​


./main -accountId <contract account id>
netstat -an | grep 9333

Update Prometheus​


sudo vi /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml
- job_name: near-node
scrape_interval: 15s
- targets: ['<NODE_IP_ADDRESS>:3030']

Update AlertManager​

sudo vi /etc/prometheus/alertmanager.yml
postqueue -p
amtool alert
promtool check rules /etc/prometheus/rules.yml
promtool check config /etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml
amtool check-config /etc/prometheus/alertmanager.yml
cd near-prometheus-exporter/
mv main near-exporter
sudo vi /lib/systemd/system/near-exporter.service

Description=NEAR Prometheus Exporter





ExecStart=/opt/near-prometheus-exporter/near-exporter $ARGS

ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID




Update exporter​


sudo vi /etc/default/near-exporter

# Set the command-line arguments to pass to the server.

# Set you contract name

ARGS="-accountId yournode"

Copy config and start service​


sudo cp /lib/systemd/system/near-exporter.service /etc/systemd/system/near-exporter.service
sudo chmod 644 /etc/systemd/system/near-exporter.service
sudo systemctl start near-exporter
sudo systemctl status near-exporter
ps -elf | grep near-exporter
netstat -an | grep 9333
sudo systemctl enable near-exporter


In this lesson you will learn about:

  • Keys
  • Common Errors


NEAR uses cryptographic keys to secure accounts and validators, each key has a public and matching private key pair.

Find more detailed information about NEAR and keys:

Validator Keys:​

To manage and sign transactions a node_key and validator_key.

Node Key:​

Used to communicate with other peers and is primarily responsible for syncing the blockchain.


Common Issue:

In a failure situation, both the node_key and validator_key must be copied over

Validator Key:​

Used to sign and validate blocks.


Common Issues:

  1. The validator key used to initialize the staking contract is not the one listed in validator_key.json
  2. The account Id submitted when NEARUp was initialized is not the same as the one in validator_key.json

Common Errors & Solutions​

Submitting a proposal before the validator is synced​

A validator must be fully synced before submitting a proposal to enter the validator set. If you are not fully synced and you entered the validator set your log will be filled with errors.

Resolution Wait until 4 epochs until you have been kicked from the validator set. Delete the data directory and resync. Be sure to be fully synced before staking actions or pings go to your pool.

1. Stop the node
2. rm -Rf ~/.near/<NETWORK_ID>/data
3. Start the node

Starting the node when another instance is running​

On occasion, a process will get disconnected from the shell or NEARUp. The common error seen when trying to start the node will be:

Err value: Os { code: 98, kind: AddrInUse, message: "Address already in use" }',

Resolution Find the pid of the running process

ps -elf | grep neard

Kill the hung pid

kill -9 <PID>

Running out of Disk space​

If you find no space left on device errors in the validator log files then you likely ran out of disk space.

1. Stop the node
2. Failover to a backup node
3. Cleanup files or resize disk
4. Fail back over.

Not enough stake to obtain a validator seat​

You can check that your validator proposal was accepted by checking

near proposals

Not producing blocks​

Your validator is producing zero blocks in near validators current.

This is due the staking pool contract and the validator_key.json have different public keys or the account_id in validator_key.json not being the staking pool contract id.

Get the staking pool key

near view <POOL_ID> get_staking_key '{}'

Get the key in validator_key.json

cat ~/.near/<network>/validator_key.json | grep public_key

Note: Both keys must match. If they do not update the staking pool key and wait 2 epochs before pinging.

Update staking pool key

near call <POOL_ID> update_staking_key '{"stake_public_key": "<PUBLIC_KEY>"}' --accountId <ACCOUNT_ID>

Check the account_id is set to the staking pool contract

vi ~/.near/<network>/validator_key.json
"account_id" = <staking pool id>

Note: if it does now match the staking pool id upate it and restart your node.

Not producing enough blocks or chunks​

Missing blocks or chunks is the primary reason a validator is kicked from the validator pool. You can check the number of blocks expected/missed via NEAR-Cli and RPC.


near validators current | grep <pool id>


curl -s -d '{"jsonrpc": "2.0", "method": "validators", "id": "dontcare", "params": [null]}' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' http://localhost:3030/ | jq -c ".result.current_validators[] | select(.account_id | contains ("<POOL_ID>"))"

Check the reason kicked

curl -s -d '{"jsonrpc": "2.0", "method": "validators", "id": "dontcare", "params": [null]}' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' | jq -c ".result.prev_epoch_kickout[] | select(.account_id | contains ("<POOL_ID>"))" | jq .reason

Not exporting the correct environment​

Be sure that you are using the correct environment each time you run NEAR-Cli

export NEAR_ENV=<mainnet,testnet,guildnet>

Incompatible CPU without AVX support​

One cause of missed blocks and nodes falling out of sync is running on a CPU without AVX support. AVX support is required, but not always used depending on the complexity of the transaction.

Not running on SSD drives​

NEAR Requires a 1 second block time and HDD disks are just not fast enough. SDD drives are required and SSD NVME drives are recommended.

Inconsistent Internet connection​

NEAR requires a 1 second block time, so any latency from your internet provider can cause you to miss blocks.

Inability to gain enough peers for consensus​

If you are unable to gain any peers a restart can help. In some rare cases the boot_nodes in config.json can be empty.

Logs like that :

INFO stats: #42376888 Waiting for peers 0/0/40 peers ⬇ 0 B/s ⬆ 0 B/s 0.00 bps 0 gas/s CPU: 2%, Mem: 91.3 MiB

Resolution Download the latest config.json file and restart:


It is an unspoken requirement to maintain a secondary node in a different location in the event of a hardware or network failure on your primary node.

You will need to set up a standard node (without a validator key) and a different node_key. The node will be set up using the normal process see Setup a Validator Node.

Note: The backup node must track the same shard in the config.json as the primary node, to be used as a failover node. Please confirm the backp node has the the same config.json as the primary node.


Failing Over​

To failover you must copy the node_key.json and the validatory_key.json to the secondary node and restart.

1. Copy over node_key.json
2. Copy over validator_key.json
4. Stop the node primary node
3. Stop the secondary node
4. Restart the secondary node

When failing back over to the primary simply move the secondary node_key.json into place and restart the services in reverse order.

Got a question?

Ask it on StackOverflow!