If I install geth, will it download the entire blockchain?


2 Answers 2


It depends on the synchronization mode you choose. From this answer:

  • "Full" Sync: Gets the block headers, the block bodies, and validate every element from genesis block.

  • Fast Sync: Gets the block headers, the block bodies, it performs no validation until current block - 1024. Then it gets a snap shot state, and goes like a full synchronisation.

  • Light Sync: Gets only the current state. To verify elements, needs to ask to full (archive) nodes for the corresponding tree leave.


No, installing geth does only install the binary go-ethereum client.

The blockchain only gets downloaded if you run geth. By default, the full blockchain gets downloaded if you just run $ geth without parameters. So, it's a 'yes' if that was your question.

You can control the behavior of the synchronization by adding the --fast or the --light flag as explained by Herman Junge.

  • So if I need to call web3.js API, which mode should be enough? Is the light mode enough? Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 19:28

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