Category Archives: Bitcoin

Installing Bitcoin Core on Headless Debian 8

This past week I took a few hours to get a Bitcoin full node running on my Debian server. As a believer in the Bitcoin project I’m more than happy to host a full node on my media server.


From your home directory clone the bitcoin project. I used the 0.11 branch.

git clone -b 0.11

Following the directions from the github readme I configured and compiled.

I installed the necessary tools and libraries to compile the code.

sudo apt-get install build-essential libtool autotools-dev automake pkg-config libssl-dev libevent-dev bsdmainutils libboost-system-dev libboost-filesystem-dev libboost-chrono-dev libboost-program-options-dev libboost-test-dev libboost-thread-dev

Then I got the build environment set up.


Since I didn’t need wallet functionality, I didn’t need to install Berkeley DB. I also enabled hardening because, well because why not right? Extra security!

./configure --disable-wallet --enable-hardening

After the configuration was complete I compiled. I noticed make was only utilizing one core and was taking a long time to run. I reran with make configured to utilize 9 (n + 1) cores.

make -j9

Since I’m on Debian I wanted to package the code up so I could install it via dpkg. CheckInstall puts the code into a .deb file that dpkg can then install. This will allow for future uninstall or upgrades to go smoothly, and is better than blindly placing files into the system.

sudo checkinstall

Next I needed to create a configuration file for bitcoind to use. I created a new bitcoin.conf file in ~/.bitcoin/ and placed the following text in it.

# server=1 tells Bitcoin-Qt and bitcoind to accept JSON-RPC commands

# You must set rpcuser and rpcpassword to secure the JSON-RPC api


I created a .service file for Debian so the application would autostart. I created a “bitcoinuser” user and “bitcoin” group for the process to run under.

Description=Bitcoin's distributed currency daemon


ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/bitcoind -daemon -conf=/home/bitcoinuser/.bitcoin/bitcoin.conf -datadir=/home/bitcoinuser/.bitcoin/



I placed it in /lib/systemd/system/bitcoind.service

After creating, I updated the system to pick up the changes.

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Then I could issue nice commands to handle everything for me like

sudo service bitcoind start

Remote Status

I wanted to be able to monitor the status of bitcoind remotely via the web, which requires bitcoind to listen to JSON-RPC commands. Craig Watson has a nice PHP project to do just this. I cloned his github repo and installed it into Apache. It needed a small amount of configuration, mainly setting the RPC username and password (that I assigned in the bitcoin.conf file previously), as well as configuring what information I wanted displayed on the main page. After installing the website and configuring Apache with the new route I got a nice screen.


It’s Working!

It took around 24 hours for it to download the entire blockchain (around 55GB at time of writing), quite surprising with the fast connection the server has.