Installation

Core lightning is available on many platforms and environments. Learn how to install on your preferred platform.

Binaries

If you're on Ubuntu, you need to install bitcoind:

sudo apt-get install -y software-properties-common
sudo snap install bitcoin-core
sudo ln -s /snap/bitcoin-core/current/bin/bitcoin{d,-cli} /usr/local/bin/

Then you can fetch a pre-compiled binary from the releases page on GitHub. Core Lightning provides binaries for both Ubuntu and Fedora distributions. Normally these binaries are extracted into /usr/local:

sudo tar -xvf <release>.tar.xz -C /usr/local --strip-components=2

You will need some Python packages if you want to use clnrest. Unfortunately there are some Python packages which are not packaged in Ubuntu, and so you will need to force installation of these (I recommend --user which will install them in your own .local directory, so at least you won't run the risk of breaking Python globally!).

sudo apt-get install python3-json5 python3-flask python3-gunicorn
pip3 install --user flask_restx pyln-client

If you're on a different distribution or OS, you can compile the source by following the instructions from Installing from Source.

Docker

To install the Docker image for the latest stable release:

docker pull elementsproject/lightningd:latest

To install for a specific version, for example, 22.11.1:

docker pull elementsproject/lightningd:v22.11.1

See all of the docker images for Core Lightning on Docker Hub.

Third-party apps

For a GUI experience, you can install and use Core Lightning via a variety of third-party applications such as Ride the Lightning, Umbrel, BTCPayServer, Raspiblitz, Embassy.

Core Lightning is also available on nixOS via the nix-bitcoin project.

Installing from source

To build Core Lightning in a reproducible way, follow the steps at Reproducible builds for Core Lightning.

Library Requirements

You will need several development libraries:

  • libsqlite3: for database support.
  • zlib: for compression routines.

For actually doing development and running the tests, you will also need:

  • pip3: to install python-bitcoinlib
  • valgrind: for extra debugging checks

You will also need a version of bitcoind with segregated witness and estimatesmartfee with ECONOMICAL mode support, such as the 0.16 or above.

To Build on Ubuntu

OS version: Ubuntu 15.10 or above

Get dependencies:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y \
  autoconf automake build-essential git libtool libsqlite3-dev \
  python3 python3-pip net-tools zlib1g-dev libsodium-dev gettext
pip3 install --upgrade pip
pip3 install --user poetry

If you don't have Bitcoin installed locally you'll need to install that as well. It's now available via snapd.

sudo apt-get install snapd
sudo snap install bitcoin-core
# Snap does some weird things with binary names; you'll
# want to add a link to them so everything works as expected
sudo ln -s /snap/bitcoin-core/current/bin/bitcoin{d,-cli} /usr/local/bin/

Clone lightning:

git clone https://github.com/ElementsProject/lightning.git
cd lightning

Checkout a release tag:

git checkout v22.11.1

For development or running tests, get additional dependencies:

sudo apt-get install -y valgrind libpq-dev shellcheck cppcheck \
  libsecp256k1-dev jq lowdown

If you can't install lowdown, a version will be built in-tree.

If you want to build the Rust plugins (currently, cln-grpc):

sudo apt-get install -y cargo rustfmt protobuf-compiler

There are two ways to build core lightning, and this depends on how you want use it.

To build cln to just install a tagged or master version you can use the following commands:

pip3 install --upgrade pip
pip3 install mako
pip3 install -r plugins/clnrest/requirements.txt
./configure
make
sudo make install

πŸ“˜

If you want disable Rust because you do not want use it or simple you do not want the grpc-plugin, you can use ./configure --disable-rust.

To build core lightning for development purpose you can use the following commands:

pip3 install poetry
poetry shell

This will put you in a new shell to enter the following commands:

poetry install
./configure
make
make check VALGRIND=0

Optionally, add -j$(nproc) after make to speed up compilation. (e.g. make -j$(nproc))

Running lightning:

bitcoind &
./lightningd/lightningd &
./cli/lightning-cli help

To Build on Fedora

OS version: Fedora 27 or above

Get dependencies:

$ sudo dnf update -y && \
        sudo dnf groupinstall -y \
                'C Development Tools and Libraries' \
                'Development Tools' && \
        sudo dnf install -y \
                clang \
                gettext \
                git \
                gmp-devel \
                libsq3-devel \
                python3-devel \
                python3-pip \
                python3-setuptools \
                net-tools \
                valgrind \
                wget \
                zlib-devel \
				libsodium-devel && \
        sudo dnf clean all

Make sure you have bitcoind available to run.

Clone lightning:

$ git clone https://github.com/ElementsProject/lightning.git
$ cd lightning

Checkout a release tag:

$ git checkout v22.11.1

Build and install lightning:

$lightning> ./configure
$lightning> make
$lightning> sudo make install

Running lightning (mainnet):

$ bitcoind &
$ lightningd --network=bitcoin

Running lightning on testnet:

$ bitcoind -testnet &
$ lightningd --network=testnet

To Build on FreeBSD

OS version: FreeBSD 11.1-RELEASE or above

pkg install git python py39-pip gmake libtool gmp sqlite3 postgresql13-client gettext autotools
https://github.com/ElementsProject/lightning.git
pip install --upgrade pip
pip3 install mako
./configure
gmake -j$(nproc)
gmake install

Alternatively, Core Lightning is in the FreeBSD ports, so install it as any other port (dependencies are handled automatically):

# pkg install c-lightning

If you want to compile locally and fiddle with compile time options:

# cd /usr/ports/net-p2p/c-lightning && make install

See /usr/ports/net-p2p/c-lightning/Makefile for instructions on how to build from an arbitrary git commit, instead of the latest release tag.

πŸ“˜

Make sure you've set an utf-8 locale, e.g. export LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8, otherwise manpage installation may fail.

Running lightning:

Configure bitcoind, if not already: add rpcuser=<foo> and rpcpassword=<bar> to /usr/local/etc/bitcoin.conf, maybe also testnet=1.

Configure lightningd: copy /usr/local/etc/lightningd-bitcoin.conf.sample to
/usr/local/etc/lightningd-bitcoin.conf and edit according to your needs.

# service bitcoind start
# service lightningd start
# lightning-cli --rpc-file /var/db/c-lightning/bitcoin/lightning-rpc --lightning-dir=/var/db/c-lightning help

To Build on OpenBSD

OS version: OpenBSD 7.3

Install dependencies:

pkg_add git python gmake py3-pip libtool gettext-tools
pkg_add automake # (select highest version, automake1.16.2 at time of writing)
pkg_add autoconf # (select highest version, autoconf-2.69p2 at time of writing)

Install mako otherwise we run into build errors:

pip3.8 install --user poetry
poetry install

Add /home/<username>/.local/bin to your path:

export PATH=$PATH:/home/<username>/.local/bin

Needed for configure:

export AUTOCONF_VERSION=2.69
export AUTOMAKE_VERSION=1.16
./configure

Finally, build c-lightning:

gmake

To Build on NixOS

Use nix-shell launch a shell with a full Core Lightning dev environment:

$ nix-shell -Q -p gdb sqlite autoconf git clang libtool sqlite autoconf \
autogen automake gmp zlib gettext libsodium poetry 'python3.withPackages (p: [p.bitcoinlib])' \
valgrind --run "./configure && poetry shell"
$ poetry install
$ make

To Build on macOS

Assuming you have Xcode and Homebrew installed. Install dependencies:

brew install autoconf automake libtool python3 gnu-sed gettext libsodium
ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/gettext/0.20.1/bin/xgettext /usr/local/opt
export PATH="/usr/local/opt:$PATH"

If you need SQLite (or get a SQLite mismatch build error):

brew install sqlite
export LDFLAGS="-L/usr/local/opt/sqlite/lib"
export CPPFLAGS="-I/usr/local/opt/sqlite/include"

Some library paths are different when using homebrew on Macs with Apple silicon, therefore the following two variables need to be set for Macs with Apple silicon

export CPATH=/opt/homebrew/include
export LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/homebrew/lib

If you need Python 3.x for mako (or get a mako build error):

brew install pyenv
echo -e 'if command -v pyenv 1>/dev/null 2>&1; then\n  eval "$(pyenv init -)"\nfi' >> ~/.bash_profile
source ~/.bash_profile
pyenv install 3.8.10
pip install --upgrade pip
pip install poetry

If you don't have bitcoind installed locally you'll need to install that as well:

brew install berkeley-db4 boost miniupnpc pkg-config libevent
git clone https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin
cd bitcoin
./autogen.sh
./configure
make src/bitcoind src/bitcoin-cli && make install

Clone lightning:

git clone https://github.com/ElementsProject/lightning.git
cd lightning

Checkout a release tag:

git checkout v22.11.1

Build lightning:

poetry install
./configure
poetry run make

Running lightning:

πŸ“˜

Edit your ~/Library/Application\ Support/Bitcoin/bitcoin.confto include rpcuser=<foo> and rpcpassword=<bar> first, you may also need to include testnet=1.

bitcoind &
./lightningd/lightningd &
./cli/lightning-cli help

To install the built binaries into your system, you'll need to run make install:

make install

On a Mac with Apple silicon you may need to use this command instead:

sudo PATH="/usr/local/opt:$PATH"  LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/homebrew/lib CPATH=/opt/homebrew/include make install

To Build on Arch Linux

Install dependencies:

pacman --sync autoconf automake gcc git make python-pip
pip install --user poetry

Clone Core Lightning:

$ git clone https://github.com/ElementsProject/lightning.git
$ cd lightning

Build Core Lightning:

python -m poetry install
./configure
python -m poetry run make

Launch Core Lightning:

./lightningd/lightningd

To cross-compile for Android

Make a standalone toolchain as per https://developer.android.com/ndk/guides/standalone_toolchain.html.
For Core Lightning you must target an API level of 24 or higher.

Depending on your toolchain location and target arch, source env variables such as:

export PATH=$PATH:/path/to/android/toolchain/bin
# Change next line depending on target device arch
target_host=arm-linux-androideabi
export AR=$target_host-ar
export AS=$target_host-clang
export CC=$target_host-clang
export CXX=$target_host-clang++
export LD=$target_host-ld
export STRIP=$target_host-strip

Two makefile targets should not be cross-compiled so we specify a native CC:

make CC=clang clean ccan/tools/configurator/configurator
make clean -C ccan/ccan/cdump/tools \
  && make CC=clang -C ccan/ccan/cdump/tools

Install the qemu-user package.
This will allow you to properly configure the build for the target device environment.
Build with:

BUILD=x86_64 MAKE_HOST=arm-linux-androideabi \
  make PIE=1 \
  CONFIGURATOR_CC="arm-linux-androideabi-clang -static"

To cross-compile for Raspberry Pi

Obtain the official Raspberry Pi toolchains. This document assumes compilation will occur towards the Raspberry Pi 3 (arm-linux-gnueabihf as of Mar. 2018).

Depending on your toolchain location and target arch, source env variables will need to be set. They can be set from the command line as such:

export PATH=$PATH:/path/to/arm-linux-gnueabihf/bin
# Change next line depending on specific Raspberry Pi device
target_host=arm-linux-gnueabihf
export AR=$target_host-ar
export AS=$target_host-as
export CC=$target_host-gcc
export CXX=$target_host-g++
export LD=$target_host-ld
export STRIP=$target_host-strip

Install the qemu-user package. This will allow you to properly configure the
build for the target device environment.
Config the arm elf interpreter prefix:

export QEMU_LD_PREFIX=/path/to/raspberry/arm-bcm2708/arm-rpi-4.9.3-linux-gnueabihf/arm-linux-gnueabihf/sysroot/

Obtain and install cross-compiled versions of sqlite3 and zlib:

Download and build zlib:

wget https://zlib.net/fossils/zlib-1.2.13.tar.gz
tar xvf zlib-1.2.13.tar.gz
cd zlib-1.2.13
./configure --prefix=$QEMU_LD_PREFIX
make
make install

Download and build sqlite3:

wget https://www.sqlite.org/2018/sqlite-src-3260000.zip
unzip sqlite-src-3260000.zip
cd sqlite-src-3260000
./configure --enable-static --disable-readline --disable-threadsafe --disable-load-extension --host=$target_host --prefix=$QEMU_LD_PREFIX
make
make install

Then, build Core Lightning with the following commands:

./configure
make

To compile for Armbian

For all the other Pi devices out there, consider using Armbian.

You can compile in customize-image.sh using the instructions for Ubuntu.

A working example that compiles both bitcoind and Core Lightning for Armbian can
be found here.

To compile for Alpine

Get dependencies:

apk update
apk add --virtual .build-deps ca-certificates alpine-sdk autoconf automake git libtool \
sqlite-dev python3 py3-mako net-tools zlib-dev libsodium gettext

Clone lightning:

git clone https://github.com/ElementsProject/lightning.git
cd lightning
git submodule update --init --recursive

Build and install:

./configure
make
make install

Clean up:

cd .. && rm -rf lightning
apk del .build-deps

Install runtime dependencies:

apk add libgcc libsodium sqlite-libs zlib

What’s Next

Now that you've have installed Core Lightning, head over to "Running your node" to get your node running. If you're looking for additional configuration, see "Configuring your node."