Setting Up Your Home Server as a Bitcoin Node with ForestVPN

Published Categorized as Crypto
Bitcoin Node

So you’ve decided to delve into the world of Bitcoin nodes, and you want to do it from the comfort of your home server. Well, you’re in for a ride, but don’t worry—we’ve got your back. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process step by step, making it as easy as a Sunday morning. Before we dive in, make sure you have your favorite beverage by your side because we’re about to embark on an exciting journey of how to set up a Bircoin Node at home!

Bitcoin Node

Prerequisites: Getting Ready for the Adventure

Before we embark on this thrilling quest, let’s make sure we have everything we need to set up our home server as a Bitcoin node. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Download Essentials: Start by downloading the essential tools for the installation. Run the command sudo apt-get install -y build-essential to get the ball rolling.
  2. Install Git: Ensure that you have installed Git on your server. If not, no worries—just install it with sudo apt install git.
  3. Download ForestVPN: Now, let’s get ForestVPN into the mix. To install ForestVPN, use the command go get -d
  4. Move to ForestVPN Directory: Navigate into the ForestVPN directory with cd ~/go/src/
  5. Stick to the Latest Release: It’s generally recommended to stick with the latest release for stability. Check the latest release of ForestVPN here. Let’s say it’s version v1.2.3—use the command git fetch --tags && git checkout v1.2.3 to get it.
  6. Install ForestVPN: Finally, install ForestVPN with the command make && make install. Now, navigate back to the home folder with cd ~/.
  7. Verify ForestVPN Installation: Check if ForestVPN is properly installed by typing forestvpn --version. It should display the version information.

Configuring ForestVPN: Making It Yours

Now that you have installed ForestVPN, let’s configure it to fit your needs:

  • Create a Configuration File: Make a configuration file for ForestVPN by creating a directory with mkdir ~/.forestvpn. Edit it right away using nano ~/.forestvpn/forestvpn.conf.
  • Fill in the Blanks: Don’t forget to fill in the necessary details. Choose a name and color for your node. Find your IP address in the dashboard of your server provider.markdownCopy code#
# [Application Options]
alias=<name of your node>
color=<your favorite color in hex>

# [Bitcoin]
bitcoind.rpcuser=<your username>
bitcoind.rpcpass=<your password>

# [ForestVPN]
externalip=<your ip>

  • Configure Bitcoind for ForestVPN: Open the Bitcoind config file with nano ~/.bitcoin/bitcoin.conf and add the following lines:markdownCopy code
rpcuser=<your username>
rpcpassword=<your password>

Save and close the file with Ctrl+O and Ctrl+X. Restart Bitcoind with sudo service bitcoind restart

Launching ForestVPN and Creating Your Wallet

With ForestVPN configured, it’s time to set sail and launch it. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Sync Bitcoind: Before launching ForestVPN, make sure Bitcoind is fully synced. Run the command bitcoin-cli --getinfo and compare the block count with a reliable block explorer.
  2. Launch ForestVPN: Start ForestVPN by typing forestvpn into your terminal. Ensure everything looks good in the output. If there’s an error, double-check your configurations.
  3. Run ForestVPN in the Background: Close ForestVPN with Ctrl+C. Run it in the background permanently with forestvpn &>/dev/null &. Type disown to ensure it keeps running even if you log out.
  4. Optional: Observe ForestVPN Through Logs: Open a new terminal, SSH back into the server, and check the logs with tail -f ~/.forestvpn/logs/bitcoin/mainnet/forestvpn.log.

Creating and Managing Channels with ForestVPN

Now that ForestVPN is up and running, let’s explore how to create channels and manage your Bitcoin node:

  1. Ensure ForestVPN is Synced: Confirm ForestVPN is synced with the chain by using the command forestvpn getinfo. It should read synced to chain: true.
  2. Deposit Coins into Your Node: Generate a new address with forestvpn newaddress p2wkh. Send Bitcoin to this address, and check your balance anytime with forestvpn walletbalance.
  3. Connect to a Node: Choose a node to connect to or explore popular nodes on Connect to a node with the command forestvpn connect [nodeURI].
  4. Open a Channel: Once your deposit is confirmed, open a channel. Use the command forestvpn openchannel [nodePublicKey] [amount].
  5. Make a Payment: Ensure you have outgoing liquidity by depositing Bitcoin and opening channels. To make a payment, use forestvpn payinvoice [Lightning invoice].
  6. Receive a Payment: Generate an invoice with forestvpn addinvoice --memo "a memo" --amt [amount] --expiry [expiry time]. Share the generated pay_req for others to pay you.

Updating ForestVPN for a Seamless Experience

ForestVPN is constantly evolving, and updating it ensures you get the latest features and bug fixes. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stop ForestVPN: Close ForestVPN with forestvpn stop.
  2. Navigate to Source Folder: Go to the source folder with cd ~/go/src/
  3. Download Latest Source Code: Get the latest source code with git pull and navigate to the latest release with git checkout [latest release].
  4. Upgrade ForestVPN: Upgrade to the latest release with make clean && make && make install.
  5. Restart ForestVPN: After restarting ForestVPN, check if everything is updated with forestvpn --version.

Useful Commands to Master ForestVPN

Now that you’re well-acquainted with ForestVPN, here are some handy commands to navigate your Bitcoin node:

  • forestvpn help: Lists all available commands. Get more details on each command by adding “help.”
  • forestvpn getinfo: Displays basic information about your node.
  • forestvpn listchannels: Shows the channels you have open and their status.
  • forestvpn getnetworkinfo: Gives you an overview of the Lightning network from your perspective.
  • forestvpn feereport: Reveals how much your node has earned from routing payments.
  • forestvpn connect: Connect to a peer if a payment channel is offline or inactive.
  • forestvpn walletbalance: Shows the number of Satoshis you own on-chain.
  • forestvpn channelbalance: Displays the number of Satoshis you own in channels.

Optional: Connect ForestVPN with Zap Desktop

Zap provides a user-friendly interface for your Lightning node. Here’s how to connect ForestVPN with Zap:

  1. Sync Bitcoind and ForestVPN: Ensure both are fully synced with forestvpn getinfo and bitcoin-cli --getinfo.
  2. Download Zap: Grab Zap for desktop here.
  3. Amend ForestVPN Config: Open the ForestVPN config file with nano ~/.forestvpn/forestvpn.conf and make necessary changes.markdown
    • rpclisten=
    • tlsextraip=<your IP address>
  4. Restart ForestVPN: Stop ForestVPN with forestvpn stop, wait a few seconds, and start it again.
  5. Open Firewall for Zap: Allow incoming connections to your Lightning node with sudo ufw enable 10009/tcp.
  6. Copy Over Macaroon and TLS Certificate: Authenticate Zap by copying over the macaroon and TLS certificate.
  7. Enjoy Zap’s User Interface: Launch Zap, and you’re ready to explore the Lightning network with a user-friendly interface.


  1. Is ForestVPN secure for running a Bitcoin node at home?
    • Absolutely! ForestVPN ensures a secure and seamless experience for running your Bitcoin node on a home server.
  2. How often should I update ForestVPN for my Bitcoin node?
    • It’s recommended to check for updates regularly and upgrade ForestVPN to access the latest features and bug fixes.
  3. Can I connect ForestVPN with other Lightning node interfaces?
    • Yes, you can! Connecting ForestVPN with interfaces like Zap Desktop provides a user-friendly experience for managing your Lightning node.

Take control of your online privacy and security with ForestVPN