What’s the difference between a full node, validator node, and archive node?

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What’s the difference between a full node, validator node, and archive node?

Radix nodes synchronized with the Radix Public Network provide various services to the network and its users. The Radix Node software can be configured differently for different purposes. There are three main purposes that people run Radix nodes, and we give each type of node a unique name:

Validator nodes are what most people think of as a node. These are nodes that have registered with the network to gather delegated stake and potentially be selected for inclusion in the validator set that conducts consensus on transactions. If successful, validator nodes may receive emissions via a “validator fee that they can specify. These are the nodes that are listed on the Validator List on the Radix Explorer webpage.

Archive nodes can be thought of as gateways to the Radix Public Public Network for applications and users. Archive nodes don’t just sync the raw network state, as other nodes do, but also heavily index it to be more searchable and useful. This allows archive nodes to offer the Radix JSON-RPC API that allows client software (such as the Radix Desktop Wallet and Radix Explorer) to query information on accounts and transactions, as well as create and submit transactions to the network. These nodes do not receive emissions but are expected to be run by those creating useful applications on the network. The Radix Foundation runs a set of archive nodes to service the wallet and explorer.

Full nodes are the simplest kind of node. They essentially only synchronize with the network and have their own internal “wallet” address that can be controlled via API (other nodes have this as well, but it is not generally used). A developer might choose to run a full node as a totally trustless wallet, like a full node on Bitcoin. But primarily, full nodes are the precursor step to an archive node before the node has registered. Full nodes also receive no emissions.

For more information about Radix nodes and how to operate them, see docs.radixdlt.com.

Further Reading: