Andreas Antonopoulos tells us "Not your keys, not your Bitcoin". Here's another Bitcoin axiom "Your hardware. Your node. Your keys. Your Bitcoin".
In order for your Bitcoin experience to be truly self-sovereign and trustless you should consider running nodes on your own hardware and internet connection. BitcartCC is an excellent way to run both Bitcoin & Lightning nodes. Not only are you validating transactions you also get the ability to accept base layer Bitcoin and second layer Lightning payments. To that end here are instructions to install and host your very own BitcartCC instance.
The process is basically the following:
Purchase and assemble hardware.
Install base Operating System and configure networking.
While it may be possible to install BitcartCC or parts of it's architecture on ARM based single board computers (ie. Raspberry Pi, Odroid, OrangePi or NanoPC) the process may require additional skills and knowledge that are beyond the scope of this tutorial. For the sake of speed, compatibility and ease of installation it is recommended that you use an Intel/AMD based computer with a minimum of 1Gb RAM and a 25 Gb hard drive. The Gigabyte Brix or Intel NUC lines of compact computers are a great place to start. They are basically small, fanless boxes that are built using laptop components.
BitcartCC can be successfully installed on the following hardware. The end result is a small, quiet node that is fast enough to provide the best Bitcoin experience. The total cost of our build is approximatly $225 (including tax and delivery), but you can build a way cheaper BitcartCCBox, just find the components suiting minimal requirements or a little bit higher than that. These are "off the shelf" components that can be purchased from any online retailer (TigerDirect, NewEgg, Amazon, BestBuy etc). You can save little money by cutting the RAM and hard drive size in half.
Gigabyte Brix GB-BXBT-1900
Crucial 8GB DDR3L-1600 SODIMM
WD Blue 1TB Mobile Hard Disk Drive
Other requirements are as follows:
High speed internet connection.
Ability to open ports (80, 443) on your router.
USB Thumb Drive
USB Keyboard, Mouse and Monitor (for initial install only). Can be headless when completed.
Four Port USB Hub
Assuming you purchased the hardware mentioned above, here are the build instructions.
Step 1 - Configure your domain name. It can take several hours for DNS changes to propagate so you should do this step first. Login to your domain registrar and point an A record from your domain to the external IP address of your internet connection. I suggest that you use a subdomain (ie. bitcartcc.yourdomain.com). To find your external IP address Google "whats my ip".
Step 2 - Assemble your BitcartCCBox (BTCCB). If you already have your own Ubuntu Server you can skip to Step 6.
Remove back cover with screwdriver.
Install hard drive using included cage.
Step 3 - Download Ubuntu 18.04 Desktop Image
Step 4 - Download and install Etcher. Etcher is software that is used to flash OS images to SD cards and USB Drives. In this case we will be using Etcher to flash our USB Thumb Drive with the Ubuntu OS.
Step 5 - Connect your USB keyboard, mouse, monitor and thumb drive. Press the power button to boot your BTCCB using the thumb drive. The Ubuntu installation process is pretty simple and easy to follow. Here's a tutorial from the Ubuntu website. Install Ubuntu Desktop
Step 6 - Give your BTCCB a static IP address on your local network. There are a few different ways to do this and you will find a ton of articles online. Here's a pretty simple one to follow How to configure a static IP address on Ubuntu 18.04. To avoid conflicts with other devices on your network you should also set a "reservation" for your BTCCB.
Step 7 - Log into your router and forward ports 80, 443 to your BTCCB's local IP address. Every router is different and you should be able to find instructions for your router by searching for "Port Forward + your router make and model".
Step 8 - Install OpenSSH Server, Fail2ban and GIT. OpenSSH server allows you to connect to your server using SSH clients (ie. Putty) Fail2ban bans IP's that attempt to connect to your server and show malicious signs. GIT allows you to clone and manage repositories on github.com. Open a new terminal window and type the following commands:
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -y openssh-server fail2ban git
Step 9 - Install Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW) and allow only specific ports. UFW is a user-friendly front-end for managing iptables firewall rules and its main goal is to make managing iptables easier or as the name says uncomplicated. Install UFW
sudo apt install ufw
This command allows SSH connections from your LAN only. Replace 192.168.1.0 with your own subnet.
sudo ufw allow from 192.168.1.0/24 to any port 22
These ports need to be accessible from anywhere. The default subnet is 'any' unless you specify one.
sudo ufw allow 80, 443
Verify your configuration.
sudo ufw status
Enable your firewall.
sudo ufw enable
Reboot your BTCCB and disconnect the keyboard, mouse and monitor. You should now be able to connect to your BTCCB from another computer on your LAN via SSH.
Step 10 - Install BitcartCC. From another PC on your network login in to your BTCCB via SSH.
If you are using Windows
download Putty and create a connection to your BTCCB.
If you are using another Linux machine open a new terminal and type in the following. You will be prompted for your password.
ssh user@LANIP (ie. email@example.com)
Run the following commands. Make sure you change the
BITCART_HOST and other HOST and URL parameters to your own domain name.
Login as root
sudo su -
Create a folder for BitcartCC
Clone the bitcart-docker repository
git clone https://github.com/bitcartcc/bitcart-docker
Set your environment variables. Run each command separately.
The last step is to launch the BitcartCC setup script and start BitcartCC.
Step 11 Go to https://admin.bitcartcc.yourdomain.com and confirm that your BitcartCC instance is up and running. Enjoy!
If you don't have the time or patience to build your own BTCCB there are a few merchants who can build one for you.