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Install Bee

It is easy to set up a Bee light node on small and inexpensive computers, such as a Raspberry Pi 4, spare hardware you have lying around, or even a cheap cloud hosted VPS (we recommend small, independent providers and colocations). When running a full node however, it's important to meet the minimum required specifications.

Full Nodes

Minimum recommended specificati ons for each full node:

  • Dual core, recent generation, 2ghz processor
  • 8gb RAM
  • 30gb SSD
  • Stable internet connection

HDD drives are very strongly discouraged for full nodes due to their low speeds.

Note that there are additional hardware requirements if you choose to run your own Gnosis Chain node in order to provide your Bee node(s) with the required RPC endpoint. See configuration step for more details.

In order to test whether a set of hardware specs is sufficient for running a full node and participating in the storage incentives redistribution, see this guide.

Light and UltraLight Nodes

The minimum required hardware specifications for light and ultralight nodes are very low, and can be run on practically any commercially available computer or microcomputer such as a Raspberry Pi.

Note on Startup Methods


The bee start startup method may not be used interchangeably with running Bee as a service using systemctl or brew services.

It is strongly advised to use run Bee using a service manager such as systemctl.

Bee will be set up to run as a service automatically as part of the installation process if using one of the official Debian or RPM packages.

Bee may be operated either by using the bee start command within a terminal session or by running Bee as a service in the background using systemctl (Linux) and brew services (MacOS) commands.

While the Bee service does use the bee start command under the hood, there are two important differences between these modes of operation in practice:

  1. When starting a node by directly using bee start after starting up a terminal session, the Bee node process is bound to that terminal session. When the session ends due to closing the terminal window or logging out from a remote ssh session, the node will stop running. When running bee as a service on the other hand, the node can continue to operate in the background even after the terminal session ends.

  2. When running a Bee node using the bee start command, a separate instance of Bee using different default locations for the config and data folders from the Bee service is used. The bee start command uses ~/.bee.yaml as the default config directory and ~/.bee as the default data directory, while systemctl uses /etc/bee/bee.yaml as the default config directory and /var/lib/bee as the default data directory. See the configuration page for more details.

In general bee start may not be the best option for most users - especially if operating a full node.

Installation Steps

  1. Install Bee
  2. Configure Bee
  3. Find Bee Address
  4. Fund node (Not required for ultra-light nodes)
  5. Wait for Initialisation
  6. Check Bee Status
  7. Back Up Keys
  8. Deposit Stake (Full node only, optional)

1. Install Bee

Package manager install

Bee is available for Linux in .rpm and .deb package format for a variety of system architectures, and is available for MacOS through Homebrew. See the releases page of the Bee repo for all available packages. One of the advantages of this method is that it automatically sets up Bee to run as a service as a part of the install process.

Get GPG key:

curl -fsSL | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /usr/share/keyrings/ethersphere-apt-keyring.gpg

Set up repo inside apt-get sources:

echo \
"deb [arch=$(dpkg --print-architecture) signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/ethersphere-apt-keyring.gpg] \
* *" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ethersphere.list > /dev/null

Install package:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install bee

You should see the following output to your terminal after a successful install:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
Reading state information... Done
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 37 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B/27.2 MB of archives.
After this operation, 50.8 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Selecting previously unselected package bee.
(Reading database ... 82381 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../archives/bee_2.1.0_amd64.deb ...
Unpacking bee (2.1.0) ...
Setting up bee (2.1.0) ...

Logs: journalctl -f -u bee.service
Config: /etc/bee/bee.yaml

Bee requires a Gnosis Chain RPC endpoint to function. By default this is expected to be found at ws://localhost:8546.

Please see for more details on how to configure your node.

After you finish configuration run 'sudo bee-get-addr' and fund your node with XDAI, and also XBZZ if so desired.

Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/ → /lib/systemd/system/bee.service.

Shell script install

The Bee install shell script for Linux automatically detects its execution environment and installs the latest stable version of Bee.


Note that this install method copies precompiled binaries directly to the /usr/local/bin directory, so Bee installed through this method cannot be managed or uninstalled with package managers such as dpkg and rpm.

Also note that unlike the package install method, this install method will not set up Bee to run as a service (such as with systemctl or brew services).

Use either of the following commands to run the script and install Bee:


wget -q -O - | TAG=v2.1.0 bash


curl -s | TAG=v2.1.0 bash

Build from source

If neither of the above methods works for your system, you can see our guide for building directly from source.

2. Configure Bee

Bee is a versatile piece of software with diverse use cases. Before starting Bee for the first time you will need to configure it to suit your needs. The installation script should have generated a config file at /etc/bee/bee.yaml populated by the default configuration for the Bee service. See the configuration section for more details.

Check that the file was successfully generated and contains the default configuration:

 test -f /etc/bee/bee.yaml && echo "$FILE exists."
cat /etc/bee/bee.yaml

The output should match the default bee.yaml values.

If your bee.yaml file is missing, create a new one and fill it in with the default configuration copied from the Ethswarm GitHub Bee repo.

sudo touch /etc/bee/bee.yaml
sudo vi /etc/bee/bee.yaml

Set node type

Full Node, Light Node, Ultra-light Node

See the quick start guide if you're not sure which type of node to run.

To run Bee as a full node both full-node and swap-enable must be set to true, and a valid and stable Gnosis Chain RPC endpoint must be specified with blockchain-rpc-endpoint.

## bee.yaml
full-node: true

To run Bee as a light node full-node must be set to false and swap-enable must both be set to true, and a valid and stable Gnosis Chain RPC endpoint must be specified with blockchain-rpc-endpoint.

## bee.yaml
full-node: false

To run Bee as an ultra-light node full-node and swap-enable must both be set to false. No Gnosis Chain endpoint is required, and blockchain-rpc-endpoint can be left to its default value of an empty string.

## bee.yaml
full-node: false
swap-enable: false

Set blockchain RPC endpoint

Full and light Bee nodes require a Gnosis Chain RPC endpoint so they can interact with and deploy their chequebook contract, see the latest view of the current postage stamp batches, and interact with and top-up postage stamp batches. A blockchain RPC endpoint is not required for nodes running in ultra-light mode.

We strongly recommend you run your own Gnosis Chain node if you are planning to run a full node, and especially if you plan to run a hive of nodes.

If you do not wish to run your own Gnosis Chain node and are willing to trust a third party, you may also consider using an RPC endpoint provider such as GetBlock.

For running a light node or for testing out a single full node you may also consider using one of the free public RPC endpoints listed in the Gnosis Chain documentation. However the providers of these endpoints make no SLA or availability guarantees, and is therefore not recommended for full node operators.

To set your RPC endpoint provider, specify it in configuration for the blockchain-rpc-endpoint value, which is set to an empty string by default.

## bee.yaml

Configure Swap Initial Deposit (Optional)

When running your Bee node with SWAP enabled for the first time, your Bee node will deploy a 'chequebook' contract using the canonical factory contract which is deployed by Swarm. A factory is used to ensure every node is using legitimate and verifiable chequebook contracts. Once the chequebook is deployed, Bee will (optionally) deposit a certain amount of xBZZ in the chequebook contract so that it can pay other nodes in return for their services. The amount of xBZZ transferred to the chequebook is set by the swap-initial-deposit configuration setting (it may be left at the default value of zero or commented out).

NAT address

Swarm is all about sharing and storing chunks of data. To enable other Bees (also known as peers) to connect to your Bee, you must broadcast your public IP address in order to ensure that Bee is reachable on the correct p2p port (default 1634). We recommend that you manually configure your external IP and check connectivity to ensure your Bee is able to receive connections from other peers.

First determine your public IP address:


Then configure your node, including your p2p port (default 1634).

## bee.yaml
nat-addr: ""

ENS Resolution (Optional)

The ENS domain resolution system is used to host websites on Bee, and in order to use this your Bee must be connected to a mainnet Ethereum blockchain node. We recommend you run your own ethereum node. An option for resource restricted devices is geth+nimbus and a guide can be found here. Other options include dappnode, nicenode, stereum and avado.

If you do not wish to run your own Ethereum node you may use a blockchain API service provider such as Infura. After signing up for Infura's API service, simply set your --resolver-options to

## bee.yaml
resolver-options: ["<<your-api-key>>"]

Set Target Neighborhood (Optional)

When setting up a new Bee node, a randomly generated overlay address will determine the node's neighborhood. By using the target-neighborhood config option, however, an overlay address will be generated which falls within a specific neighborhood. There are two good reasons for doing this. First, by choosing a lesser populated neighborhood, a node's chances of winning rewards can be increased. Second, choosing to set up a node in a less populated neighborhood will strengthen the resiliency of the Swarm network. Therefore it is recommended to use the target-neighborhood option.

To use this option, it's first necessary to identify potential target neighborhoods. A convenient tool for finding underpopulated neighborhoods is available at the Swarmscan website. This tool returns the leading binary bits of target neighborhoods in order of least populated to most. Simply copy the leading bits from one of the least populated neighborhoods (for example, 0010100001) and use it to set target-neighborhood. After doing so, an overlay address within that neighborhood will be generated when starting Bee for the first time.

## bee.yaml
target-neighborhood: "0010100001"

There is also a Swarmscan API endpoint which you can use to get a suggested neighborhood programmatically:


A suggested neighborhood will be returned:


See the staking section for more information.

3. Find Bee address

As part of the process of starting a Bee full node or light node the node must issue a Gnosis Chain transaction which is paid for using xDAI. We therefore need to find our node's Gnosis Chain address. We can find it by reading it directly from our key file:

sudo cat /var/lib/bee/keys/swarm.key

Output from cat /var/lib/bee/keys/swarm.key:


The address field contains the Gnosis Chain address of the node, simply add the 0x prefix.


Do not share the contents of your swarm.key or any other keys with anyone, this example is for a throwaway account.

4. Fund Node


We recommend not holding a high value of xBZZ or xDAI in your nodes' wallet. Please consider regularly removing accumulated funds.

Before funding your node, you first need to get some xDAI. You can send it either from your own Gnosis Chain compatible wallet such as Metamask, or from a centralized exchange which supports xDAI withdrawals to Gnosis Chain. If you already have some DAI on Ethereum, you can use the Gnosis Chain Bridge to mint xDAI on Gnosis Chain.

Once you have some xDAI ready, you're ready to fund your Bee node. Send at least 1 xDAI to the address you found in the previous step to fund your node. You can optionally also send some xBZZ to your node which you can use to pay for storage on Swarm.

While depositing xBZZ is optional, node operators who intend to download or upload large amounts of data on Swarm may wish to deposit some xBZZ in order to pay for SWAP settlements. See the section on node funding for more information.

For nodes which stake xBZZ and participate in the storage incentives system, very small amounts of xDAI will be used regularly to pay for staking related transactions on Gnosis Chain, so xDAI may need to be periodically topped up. See the staking section for more information.

After sending xDAI and optionally xBZZ to the Gnosis Chain address collected in the previous step, restart the node:


sudo systemctl restart bee

5. Wait for Initialisation

When first started in full or light mode, Bee must deploy a chequebook to the Gnosis Chain blockchain, and sync the postage stamp batch store so that it can check chunks for validity when storing or forwarding them. This can take a while, so please be patient! Once this is complete, you will see Bee starting to add peers and connect to the network.

You can keep an eye on progress by watching the logs while this is taking place.


sudo journalctl --lines=100 --follow --unit bee

If all goes well, you will see your node automatically begin to connect to other Bee nodes all over the world.

INFO[2020-08-29T11:55:16Z] greeting <Hi I am a very buzzy bee bzzzz bzzz bzz. 🐝> from peer: b6ae5b22d4dc93ce5ee46a9799ef5975d436eb63a4b085bfc104fcdcbda3b82c

Now your node will begin to request chunks of data that fall within your radius of responsibilty - data that you will then serve to other p2p clients running in the swarm. Your node will then begin to respond to requests for these chunks from other peers.


In Swarm, storing, serving and forwarding chunks of data to other nodes can earn you rewards! Follow this guide to learn how to regularly cash out cheques other nodes send you in return for your services so that you can get your xBZZ!

Your Bee client has now generated an elliptic curve key pair similar to an Ethereum wallet. These are stored in your data directory, in the keys folder.

Keep Your Keys and Password Safe!

Your keys and password are very important, back up these files and store them in a secure place that only you have access to. With great privacy comes great responsibility - while no-one will ever be able to guess your key - you will not be able to recover them if you lose them either, so be sure to look after them well and keep secure backups.

6. Check if Bee is Working

First check that the correct version of Bee is installed:

bee version

Once the Bee node has been funded, the chequebook deployed, and postage stamp batch store synced, its HTTP API will start listening at localhost:1633.

To check everything is working as expected, send a GET request to localhost port 1633.

curl localhost:1633
Ethereum Swarm Bee

Great! Our API is listening!

Next, let's see if we have connected with any peers by querying the API which listens at port 1633 by default (localhost:1633).


Here we are using the jq utility to parse our javascript. Use your package manager to install jq, or simply remove everything after and including the first | to view the raw json without it.

curl -s localhost:1633/peers | jq ".peers | length"

Perfect! We are accumulating peers, this means you are connected to the network, and ready to start using Bee to upload and download content or host and browse websites hosted on the Swarm network.

Welcome to the swarm! 🐝 🐝 🐝 🐝 🐝

7. Back Up Keys

Once your node is up and running, make sure to back up your keys.

8. Deposit Stake (Optional)

While depositing stake is not required to run a Bee node, it is required in order for a node to receive rewards for sharing storage with the network. You will need to deposit xBZZ to the staking contract for your node. To do this, send a minimum of 10 xBZZ to your nodes' wallet and run:

curl -XPOST localhost:1633/stake/100000000000000000

This will initiate a transaction on-chain which deposits the specified amount of xBZZ into the staking contract.

Storage incentive rewards are only available for full nodes which are providing storage capacity to the network.

Note that SWAP rewards are available to all full and light nodes, regardless of whether or not they stake xBZZ in order to participate in the storage incentives system.

Getting help

The CLI has documentation built-in. Running bee gives you an entry point to the documentation. Running bee start -h or bee start --help will tell you how you can configure your Bee node via the command line arguments.

You may also check out the configuration guide, or simply run your Bee terminal command with the --help flag, eg. bee start --help or bee --help.

Next Steps to Consider

Access the Swarm

If you'd like to start uploading or downloading files to Swarm, start here.

Explore the API

The Bee API is the primary method for interacting with Bee and getting information about Bee. After installing Bee and getting it up and running, it's a good idea to start getting familiar with the API.

Run a hive!

If you would like to run a hive of many Bees, check out the hive operators section for information on how to operate and monitor many Bees at once.

Start building DAPPs on Swarm

If you would like to start building decentralised applications on Swarm, check out our section for developing with Bee.