Configuring Hedera JSON-RPC Relay endpoints

How to configure a JSON-RPC endpoint that enables the communication between EVM-compatible developer tools using the Hedera JSON-RPC Relay

Hedera JSON-RPC Relay is a server run by you on your own computer - decentralization for the win!

As such, it:

  • Is free to use on Hedera Previewnet and Hedera Testnet

  • Does not have any sign-up requirements

  • Does not have any rate limits

  • Requires several additional steps required to set it up, plus developer/command line skills

While this combination may be considered less user-friendly, it offers the highest levels of reliability among RPC endpoints.

This also makes the Hedera JSON-RPC Relay a good alternative for local development and testing; and also a potential option for contributing infrastructure to the Hedera ecosystem.

To connect to Hedera networks via your own instance of Hedera JSON-RPC Relay, use this URL when initializing the wallet/ web3 provider instance:


(1) The RPC endpoint URL, including the port number 7546, is the same for whichever network you intend to connect to: Hedera Previewnet, Hedera Testnet, and Hedera Mainnet. The selection of network depends upon the configuration file, which we will create in subsequent steps.

(2) The hedera-json-rpc-relay server is designed to be able to be deployed in your own cloud instances. For non-production use cases, a Docker compose file is provided. For production use cases Kubernetes Helm charts are provided. However, both the Docker and Kubernetes options are beyond the scope of this tutorial. This tutorial focuses on simply configuring and running the server directly.

To get this service running, you will need to do the following pre-requisite steps:

(1) Clone the git project:

git clone -b main --single-branch
Alternative with git and SSH

If you have configured SSH to work with git, you may wish use this command instead:

git clone -b main --single-branch

(2) Enter the directory that you have cloned, and install dependencies. It is recommended that you have NodeJS version 18 or later for this.

cd hedera-json-rpc-relay
npm install

(3) Link dependencies within its sub-packages.

npm run setup

(4) Create or edit a file named .env in the root directory of this project, with the following fields set:

The following steps require that you already have an account on the Hedera network that you are connecting to. This account should be funded with some HBAR.

If you have yet to set one up, for Testnet you may use the Hedera Faucet. See Hedera Faucet instructions.

For either Previewnet or Testnet you may use the Hedera Portal. See Hedera Developer Portal Profile instructions.

Note that setting up a Mainnet account and funding it is out of scope for this article.

(5a) Copy your account ID value into the .env file in the OPERATOR_ID_MAIN field.

(5b) Copy your account's private key into the .env file in the OPERATOR_KEY_MAIN field.

For example, if your account ID is 0.0.12345, your private key is 0xa1b2c3, and you are connecting to Testnet, the .env file should look like the following.

"Operator" and "payer account" concepts

Like other EVM-compatible networks, transactions must be paid for in the native currency. This is true for Hedera as well, where all transactions are paid for, denominated in HBAR.

Unlike other EVM-compatible networks, when an EVM transaction is submitted on a Hedera network, that transaction can be paid for by a different "payer account". The hedera-json-rpc-relay takes care of this automatically for you, wrapping the transaction. This is why there is a need for an OPERATOR_ID_MAIN and OPERATOR_KEY_MAIN, as this is the "payer account".

This effectively means that running and instance of hedera-json-rpc-relay on Hedera Mainnet is not free. On other Hedera networks, e.g. Hedera Testnet, where HBAR are obtained for free, it is effectively free. Apart from HBAR costs, the relay service is indeed free to use, and you are really limited only by your own hardware.

(6) Run npm run start to start the RPC relay server.

Now you have an instance of Hedera JSON-RPC Relay running locally, and you are ready to send RPC requests to your selected Hedera network!

Full reference configuration options for Hedera JSON-RPC Relay: docs/

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