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Managing a Node

In this section, you can find an overview of the key concepts that you should consider during your node's maintenance cycle.


Hornet uses embedded database engine that stores its data in a directory on file system. You can manage the location using the config.json file, under the db section, with the path key:

"db": {    "engine": "rocksdb",    "path": "mainnetdb",    "autoRevalidation": false  }

By convention, you should name that directory after the network type: mainnet or testnet.

Another important directory is the snapshots directory. You can control the snapshots in the snapshots section of the config.json file, specifically the fullPath and deltaPath keys:

"snapshots": {    "interval": 50,    "fullPath": "snapshots/mainnet/full_snapshot.bin",    "deltaPath": "snapshots/mainnet/delta_snapshot.bin",    "deltaSizeThresholdPercentage": 50.0,    "downloadURLs": [      {        "full": "",        "delta": ""      },      {        "full": "",        "delta": ""      }    ]

You should apply the same convention as with the database engine, and name the directories after the network type: mainnet or testnet.

Here is the full overview of all files and directories that are leveraged by the Hornet:

.โ”œโ”€โ”€ config.jsonโ”œโ”€โ”€ hornet              <EXECUTABLE>โ”œโ”€โ”€ p2pstoreโ”‚ย ย  โ”œโ”€โ”€ [...files]โ”œโ”€โ”€ snapshots           <SNAPSHOT DIR>โ”‚ย ย  โ””โ”€โ”€ testnetโ”‚ย ย      โ”œโ”€โ”€ delta_snapshot.binโ”‚ย ย      โ””โ”€โ”€ full_snapshot.binโ””โ”€โ”€ testnetdb           <DB DIR>    โ”œโ”€โ”€ [...db files]


Hornet can be extended by plugins. You can control plugins using the node section in the config.json file, specifically disablePlugins and enablePlugins keys:

"node": {    "alias": "Mainnet",    "profile": "auto",    "disablePlugins": [],    "enablePlugins": []  },

You can also control plugins using the Dashboard/web interface.


Hornet integrates a lightweight spamming plugin that spams the network with messages. The IOTA network is based on Directed Acyclic Graph. Therefore, new incoming messages are connected to previous messages (tips). It is healthy for the network to maintain some level of message rate.

The Spammer plugin allows your node to send a number of data messages at regular interval. You can set the interval with the mpsRateLimit key, which is the number of messages per second (TPS) that the plugin should try to send.

For example, value "mpsRateLimit": 0.1 would mean to send 1 message every 10 seconds.

To enable this plugin, you will need to change the default configuration, as it is disabled by default.

 "spammer": {    "message": "IOTA - A new dawn",    "index": "HORNET Spammer",    "indexSemiLazy": "HORNET Spammer Semi-Lazy",    "cpuMaxUsage": 0.8,    "mpsRateLimit": 0.0,    "workers": 0,    "autostart": false  }

This plugin can be also leveraged during a spamming event during which the community tests the throughput of the network.


Your node's ledger accumulates many messages, which uses a significant disk capacity over time. This section discusses how to configure local snapshots to prune old transactions from your node's database and create backup snapshot files.

 "snapshots": {    "interval": 50,    "fullPath": "snapshots/mainnet/full_snapshot.bin",    "deltaPath": "snapshots/mainnet/delta_snapshot.bin",    "deltaSizeThresholdPercentage": 50.0,    "downloadURLs": [      {        "full": "",        "delta": ""      },      {        "full": "",        "delta": ""      }    ]  },  "pruning": {    "milestones": {      "enabled": false,      "maxMilestonesToKeep": 60480    },    "size": {      "enabled": true,      "targetSize": "30GB",      "thresholdPercentage": 10.0,      "cooldownTime": "5m"    },    "pruneReceipts": false  },

Snapshot Pruning#

During a snapshot, Hornet may delete messages from the ledger if they were confirmed by an old milestone. In other words, the term pruning means the deletion of the old history from the node database.

  • If you want to enable pruning, you should set the pruning.milestones.enabled or pruning.size.enabled keys to enabled.
  • The pruning.milestones.maxMilestonesToKeep defines how far back from the current confirmed milestone should be pruned.
  • The pruning.size.targetSize defines the maximum database size. Old data will be pruned.

There are two types of snapshots:

Delta snapshots#

A delta snapshot points to a specific full snapshot, meaning a delta snapshot consists of the changes since the last full snapshot.

Full snapshots#

The full snapshot includes the whole ledger state to a specific milestone, and a solid entry point.

How to Work With Snapshots#

If you are running a Hornet node for the first time, you will need to start it with a full-snapshot. Hornet downloads it for you automatically from trusted sources.

Additionally, you can start Hornet with a specific delta snapshot using the Hornet tools:

hornet tool
  • snap-gen Generates an initial snapshot for a private network.
  • snap-merge Merges a full and delta snapshot into an updated full snapshot.
  • snap-info Outputs information about a snapshot file.