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Run a Nwaku Node

Nwaku is a lightweight and robust Nim client for running a Waku node, equipped with tools to monitor and maintain a running node. Nwaku is highly configurable, enabling operators to select the protocols they want to support based on their needs, motivations, and available resources.

This guide provides detailed steps to download, build, configure, and connect a nwaku node to the Waku Network. It also includes interacting with the node and finding its addresses.


We recommend running a nwaku node with at least 2GB of RAM, especially if you have WSS enabled. If running just a Relay node, 0.5GB of RAM is sufficient.

Get the node binary

To run a node, you must have the nwaku binary. Nwaku provides multiple options for running a node:

Docker ComposeRun a nwaku node with Docker ComposeRun Nwaku with Docker Compose
Docker ContainerRun a nwaku node in a Docker ContainerRun Nwaku in a Docker Container

We recommend using Docker Compose to run a node because it's the simplest and fastest way to configure and run one.

Download the binary

Precompiled BinaryDownload a precompiled binary of the nwaku nodeDownload Nwaku Binary
Nightly ReleaseTry the latest nwaku updates without compiling the binariesDownload Nightly Release

Build the binary

Build from SourceBuild the node from the nwaku source codeBuild Nwaku from Source

You can run the nwaku binaries and Docker images on cloud service providers like Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and DigitalOcean.

Run the node

Once you have gotten the nwaku binary, run it using the default configuration:

# Run with default configuration

# See available command line options
./build/wakunode2 --help

To learn how to customise the configuration of a nwaku node, have a look at the Node Configuration Methods and Node Configuration Examples guides.

Bootstrap the node

To join the Waku Network, nodes must bootstrap for an entry point before discovering more peers. Nwaku provides multiple peer discovery mechanisms:

Static PeersConfigure the bootstrap nodes that nwaku should establish connections upon startupConfigure Static Peers
DNS DiscoveryEnable nwaku to bootstrap nodes using the DNS Discovery mechanismConfigure DNS Discovery
Discv5Enable nwaku to discover peers using the Discv5 mechanismConfigure Discv5
Peer ExchangeEnable Peer Exchange protocol for light nodes to request peers from your nwaku nodeConfigure Peer Exchange

You can configure a nwaku node to use multiple peer discovery mechanisms simultaneously.

Interact with the node

You can interact with a running nwaku node through the REST API, such as querying the node information using the Get node info endpoint:

curl --location '' \
--header 'Accept: application/json'

The listenAddresses field stores the node's listening addresses, while the enrUri field stores the discoverable ENR URI for peer discovery.


We suggest configuring WebSocket transport for your node to enable support and serving of browser peers using @waku/sdk.

Find the node addresses

You can find the addresses of a running node through its logs or by calling the Get node info endpoint of the REST API.


When starting the node, nwaku will display all the public listening and discovery addresses at the INFO log level.

Listening addresses

Look for the log entry that begins with Listening on, for example:

Nwaku Log Output
INF 2023-06-15 16:09:54.448+01:00 Listening on                               topics="waku node" tid=1623445 file=waku_node.nim:922 full=[/ip4/][/ip4/]
# Listening TCP transport address

# Listening WebSocket address

Discoverable ENR addresses

A nwaku node can encode its addressing information in an Ethereum Node Record (ENR) following the WAKU2-ENR specification, primarily for peer discovery.

ENR for DNS discovery

Look for the log entry that begins with DNS: discoverable ENR, for example:

Nwaku Log Output
INF 2023-06-15 16:09:54.448+01:00 DNS: discoverable ENR                      topics="waku node" tid=1623445 file=waku_node.nim:923 enr=enr:-Iu4QBKYj8Ovxwz4fIalxZ_1a8dOCU2WC-1LQrcBCCb4Np93f9-UuSZXn3vagJL1S3k3hwRYfOp3JSbW7_VqwtqMIeMBgmlkgnY0gmlwhAAAAACJc2VjcDI1NmsxoQOrmyV59dAzY4ZKrvrj32VOoZbLby8dCKFnXnqhIdQ0NYN0Y3CC6mCFd2FrdTIB
# ENR the node addresses are encoded in

ENR for Discv5

Look for the log entry that begins with Discv5: discoverable ENR, for example:

Nwaku Log Output
INF 2023-06-15 16:09:54.448+01:00 Discv5: discoverable ENR                   topics="waku node" tid=1623445 file=waku_node.nim:924 enr=enr:-IO4QDxToTg86pPCK2KvMeVCXC2ADVZWrxXSvNZeaoa0JhShbM5qed69RQz1s1mWEEqJ3aoklo_7EU9iIBcPMVeKlCQBgmlkgnY0iXNlY3AyNTZrMaEDdBHK1Gx6y_zv5DVw5Qb3DtSOMmVHTZO1WSORrF2loL2DdWRwgiMohXdha3UyAw
# ENR the node addresses are encoded in

You have successfully started, configured, and connected a nwaku node to the Waku Network. Have a look at the Node Configuration Examples guide to learn how to configure nwaku for different use cases.