What is a Monero remote node?
A Remote Monero node is a node in the Monero network that stores a fully-synced blockchain. Users could use this node to interact with the Monero blockchain without having to download the whole blockchain. The Monero blockchain is approximately 70 gigabytes big and grows every day. Not everybody has data storage and equipment to store the entire blockchain. So, to interact with the blockchain (receive and send funds), you need a node that is connected to the network and is fully-synced up.
Why do people use a remote node at all?
Some people would say that everybody should use a local node. However, not all people have the equipment to store the whole blockchain. In addition to that, the node has to run 24/7. So, you can’t just turn it on if you want to receive or send funds. If you turn your node off, it stops to sync the blockchain with the network. If you turn it on again, you have to wait until the blockchain is fully-synced. Some nodes need hours or even days to download the whole blockchain. If you want a local node, you need a computer that runs 24/7 and is constantly connected to the Monero network.
The Monero wallet/GUI recognizes that a remote node could be dangerous, used to scam, or track people. That’s why it will warn you if you want to connect to a remote node.
Monero is by default private and has a unique privacy feature implemented, called RingCT. However, if you use a Monero remote node, there is a chance that the administrator of that node could use certain information to scam/track you.
Risks when you use a Monero remote node
If you connect to a remote node, the operator of this node knows your IP address. To solve this issue, you could use a VPN or the TOR network if you interact with the remote node.
There are some attacking scenarios where the remote host could trace specific transactions. Even if you deny this attack, the information could be logged and analyzed later.
Wallets that connect to a remote service have a chance to become compromised. They are a frequent target for hacking attacks because attackers can steal a lot of funds from these nodes.
It costs money to run a remote host because the node has to be constantly connected to the Monero network. So, many remote hosts could collect information about transactions from Monero users and sell it afterward.
Even if you don’t care about your privacy, the risk is quite significant, which is why numerous services give you a warning if you want to connect to a remote node.
Moneroworld.com states:” Public nodes should be considered a last resort if you can’t get your own node working. “
The only solution to this issue is to run your node where you have full control over it. In addition to that, the chance of getting hacked is fewer than if you use a remote node. Furthermore, you enjoy the full privacy features of the Monero protocol.
What if you don’t have a computer that can run 24/7?
iCryptoNode is a raspberry pi. In other words, a small computer that is inexpensive, and you don’t have to use your equipment if you use the iCryptoNode. This small device consumes only little energy and could store a full Monero blockchain.
In addition to that, it includes VPN support, and you could install TOR if you want to for maximum security. This small computer fits everywhere, and the only thing it needs is an internet connection (Wifi or LAN) and a socket for energy.
It could take some time to set up the node. However, it is an inexpensive solution.
You could also use a VPS (Virtual private server). A provider for this could be Time4VPS, which is an excellent provider with great support and excellent prices. A good Linux VPS costs 10 USD/month. Time4VPS gives you one IPv4 and one IPv6 address for free if you rent a VPS on their platform. This VPS could also be used for a lot of other things. For example, you could host your own VPN on this server. On of the leading software for VPN servers is OpenVPN. It’s free software.
However, I would only recommend this solution to anybody who wants to use this VPS for more than only hosting a Monero node. Over time, this solution is more expensive in comparison with the iCryptoNode. However, this equipment has a better performance and therefore, could be used for more than just hosting a node.
Guide to set up your own OpenVPN server and client:
Why should you host your own VPN?
Because free VPNs could sell user information to third parties. The server and the management of a VPN provider also cost money. Even if you use a paid VPN, you don’t know for sure that they don’t sell information about you. Even if they just log your traffic, hackers could still find a use for this information.
If you can, host your own Monero wallet. It gives you significant advantages and protects your privacy. In addition to that, you have full control over the computer/node. However, hosting your node could be expensive, and the setup could be frustrating. If you manage to solve these issues, you could enjoy the full privacy of the Monero network. In addition to that, you could use a VPS for much more than just a Monero node, for example, your own VPN, where you have full control over the network.