Deploy a Testnet

Now that we’ve seen how ABCI works, and even played with a few applications on a single validator node, it’s time to deploy a test network to four validator nodes.

Manual Deployments

It’s relatively easy to setup a Tendermint cluster manually. The only requirements for a particular Tendermint node are a private key for the validator, stored as priv_validator.json, a node key, stored as node_key.json and a list of the public keys of all validators, stored as genesis.json. These files should be stored in ~/.tendermint/config, or wherever the $TMHOME variable might be set to.

Here are the steps to setting up a testnet manually:

  1. Provision nodes on your cloud provider of choice
  2. Install Tendermint and the application of interest on all nodes
  3. Generate a private key and a node key for each validator using tendermint init
  4. Compile a list of public keys for each validator into a genesis.json file and replace the existing file with it.
  5. Run tendermint node --proxy_app=kvstore --p2p.persistent_peers=< peer addresses > on each node, where < peer addresses > is a comma separated list of the IP:PORT combination for each node. The default port for Tendermint is 26656. Thus, if the IP addresses of your nodes were,,,, the command would look like:
tendermint node --proxy_app=kvstore --p2p.persistent_peers=96663a3dd0d7b9d17d4c8211b191af259621c693@, 429fcf25974313b95673f58d77eacdd434402665@, 0491d373a8e0fcf1023aaf18c51d6a1d0d4f31bd@, f9baeaa15fedf5e1ef7448dd60f46c01f1a9e9c4@

After a few seconds, all the nodes should connect to each other and start making blocks! For more information, see the Tendermint Networks section of the guide to using Tendermint.

But wait! Steps 3 and 4 are quite manual. Instead, use this script, which does the heavy lifting for you. And it gets better.

Instead of the previously linked script to initialize the files required for a testnet, we have the tendermint testnet command. By default, running tendermint testnet will create all the required files, just like the script. Of course, you’ll still need to manually edit some fields in the config.toml. Alternatively, see the available flags to auto-populate the config.toml with the fields that would otherwise be passed in via flags when running tendermint node. As you might imagine, this command is useful for manual or automated deployments.

Automated Deployments

The easiest and fastest way to get a testnet up in less than 5 minutes.


With docker and docker-compose installed, run the command:

make localnet-start

from the root of the tendermint repository. This will spin up a 4-node local testnet. Review the target in the Makefile to debug any problems.


See the next section for details.