1. Library Requirements
  2. Ubuntu
  3. Fedora
  4. FreeBSD
  5. OpenBSD
  6. NixOS
  7. macOS
  8. Android
  9. Raspberry Pi
  10. Armbian
  11. Alpine
  12. Additional steps

Library Requirements

You will need several development libraries:

  • libsqlite3: for database support.
  • libgmp: for secp256k1
  • zlib: for compression routines.

For actually doing development and running the tests, you will also need:

  • pip3: to install python-bitcoinlib
  • valgrind: for extra debugging checks

You will also need a version of bitcoind with segregated witness and estimatesmartfee with ECONOMICAL mode support, such as the 0.16 or above.

To Build on Ubuntu

OS version: Ubuntu 15.10 or above

Get dependencies:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y \
  autoconf automake build-essential git libtool libgmp-dev libsqlite3-dev \
  python3 python3-mako python3-pip net-tools zlib1g-dev libsodium-dev \
pip3 install --user mrkd

If you don’t have Bitcoin installed locally you’ll need to install that as well. It’s now available via snapd.

sudo apt-get install snapd
sudo snap install bitcoin-core
# Snap does some weird things with binary names; you'll
# want to add a link to them so everything works as expected
sudo ln -s /snap/bitcoin-core/current/bin/bitcoin{d,-cli} /usr/local/bin/

Clone lightning:

git clone
cd lightning

For development or running tests, get additional dependencies:

sudo apt-get install -y valgrind libpq-dev shellcheck cppcheck \
  libsecp256k1-dev jq
pip3 install --upgrade pip
pip3 install --user -r requirements.txt

Build lightning:

sudo make install

Running lightning:

bitcoind &
./lightningd/lightningd &
./cli/lightning-cli help

Note: You may need to include testnet=1 in bitcoin.conf

To Build on Fedora

OS version: Fedora 27 or above

Get dependencies:

$ sudo dnf update -y && \
        sudo dnf groupinstall -y \
                'C Development Tools and Libraries' \
                'Development Tools' && \
        sudo dnf install -y \
                clang \
                gettext \
                git \
                gmp-devel \
                libsq3-devel \
                python3-devel \
                python3-pip \
                python3-setuptools \
                net-tools \
                valgrind \
                wget \
                zlib-devel \
				libsodium-devel && \
        sudo dnf clean all

Make sure you have bitcoind available to run

Clone lightning:

$ git clone
$ cd lightning

Build and install lightning:

$lightning> ./configure
$lightning> make
$lightning> sudo make install

Running lightning (mainnet):

$ bitcoind &
$ lightningd --network=bitcoin

Running lightning on testnet:

$ bitcoind -testnet &
$ lightningd --network=testnet

To Build on FreeBSD

OS version: FreeBSD 11.1-RELEASE or above

c-lightning is in the FreeBSD ports, so install it as any other port (dependencies are handled automatically):

# pkg install c-lightning

for a binary, pre-compiled package. If you want to compile locally and fiddle with compile time options:

# cd /usr/ports/net-p2p/c-lightning && make install

mrkd is required to build man pages from markdown files (not done by the port):

# cd /usr/ports/devel/py-pip && make install
$ pip install --user mrkd

See /usr/ports/net-p2p/c-lightning/Makefile for instructions on how to build from an arbitrary git commit, instead of the latest release tag.

Note: Make sure you’ve set an utf-8 locale, e.g. export LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8, otherwise manpage installation may fail.

Running lightning:

Configure bitcoind, if not already: add rpcuser=<foo> and rpcpassword=<bar> to /usr/local/etc/bitcoin.conf, maybe also testnet=1.

Configure lightningd: copy /usr/local/etc/lightningd-bitcoin.conf.sample to /usr/local/etc/lightningd-bitcoin.conf and edit according to your needs.

# service bitcoind start
# service lightningd start
# lightning-cli --rpc-file /var/db/c-lightning/bitcoin/lightning-rpc --lightning-dir=/var/db/c-lightning help

To Build on OpenBSD

OS version: OpenBSD 6.7

Install dependencies:

pkg_add git python gmake py3-pip libtool gmp
pkg_add automake # (select highest version, automake1.16.2 at time of writing)
pkg_add autoconf # (select highest version, autoconf-2.69p2 at time of writing)

Install mako and mrkd otherwise we run into build errors:

pip3.7 install --user mako
pip3.7 install --user mrkd

Add /home/<username>/.local/bin to your path:

export PATH=$PATH:/home/<username>/.local/bin

Needed for configure:


Finally, build c-lightning:


To Build on NixOS

Use nix-shell launch a shell with a full clightning dev environment:

$ nix-shell -Q -p gdb sqlite autoconf git clang libtool gmp sqlite autoconf \
autogen automake libsodium 'python3.withPackages (p: [p.bitcoinlib])' \
valgrind --run make

To Build on macOS

Assuming you have Xcode and Homebrew installed. Install dependencies:

$ brew install autoconf automake libtool python3 gmp gnu-sed gettext libsodium
$ ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/gettext/0.20.1/bin/xgettext /usr/local/opt
$ export PATH="/usr/local/opt:$PATH"

If you need SQLite (or get a SQLite mismatch build error):

$ brew install sqlite
$ export LDFLAGS="-L/usr/local/opt/sqlite/lib"
$ export CPPFLAGS="-I/usr/local/opt/sqlite/include"

Some library paths are different when using homebrew with M1 macs, therefore the following two variables need to be set for M1 machines

$ export CPATH=/opt/homebrew/include
$ export LIBRARY_PATH=/opt/homebrew/lib

If you need Python 3.x for mako (or get a mako build error):

$ brew install pyenv
$ echo -e 'if command -v pyenv 1>/dev/null 2>&1; then\n  eval "$(pyenv init -)"\nfi' >> ~/.bash_profile
$ source ~/.bash_profile
$ pyenv install 3.7.4
$ pip install --upgrade pip

If you don’t have bitcoind installed locally you’ll need to install that as well:

$ brew install berkeley-db4 boost miniupnpc pkg-config libevent
$ git clone
$ cd bitcoin
$ ./
$ ./configure
$ make src/bitcoind src/bitcoin-cli && make install

Clone lightning:

$ git clone
$ cd lightning

Configure Python 3.x & get mako:

$ pyenv local 3.7.4
$ pip install mako

Build lightning:

$ ./configure
$ make

Running lightning:

Note: Edit your ~/Library/Application\ Support/Bitcoin/bitcoin.conf to include rpcuser=<foo> and rpcpassword=<bar> first, you may also need to include testnet=1

bitcoind &
./lightningd/lightningd &
./cli/lightning-cli help

To cross-compile for Android

Make a standalone toolchain as per For c-lightning you must target an API level of 24 or higher.

Depending on your toolchain location and target arch, source env variables such as:

export PATH=$PATH:/path/to/android/toolchain/bin
# Change next line depending on target device arch
export AR=$target_host-ar
export AS=$target_host-clang
export CC=$target_host-clang
export CXX=$target_host-clang++
export LD=$target_host-ld
export STRIP=$target_host-strip

Two makefile targets should not be cross-compiled so we specify a native CC:

make CC=clang clean ccan/tools/configurator/configurator
make clean -C ccan/ccan/cdump/tools \
  && make CC=clang -C ccan/ccan/cdump/tools

Install the qemu-user package. This will allow you to properly configure the build for the target device environment. Build with:

BUILD=x86_64 MAKE_HOST=arm-linux-androideabi \
  make PIE=1 DEVELOPER=0 \
  CONFIGURATOR_CC="arm-linux-androideabi-clang -static"

To cross-compile for Raspberry Pi

Obtain the official Raspberry Pi toolchains. This document assumes compilation will occur towards the Raspberry Pi 3 (arm-linux-gnueabihf as of Mar. 2018).

Depending on your toolchain location and target arch, source env variables will need to be set. They can be set from the command line as such:

export PATH=$PATH:/path/to/arm-linux-gnueabihf/bin
# Change next line depending on specific Raspberry Pi device
export AR=$target_host-ar
export AS=$target_host-as
export CC=$target_host-gcc
export CXX=$target_host-g++
export LD=$target_host-ld
export STRIP=$target_host-strip

Install the qemu-user package. This will allow you to properly configure the build for the target device environment. Config the arm elf interpreter prefix:

export QEMU_LD_PREFIX=/path/to/raspberry/arm-bcm2708/arm-rpi-4.9.3-linux-gnueabihf/arm-linux-gnueabihf/sysroot/

Obtain and install cross-compiled versions of sqlite3, gmp and zlib:

Download and build zlib:

tar xvf zlib-1.2.11.tar.gz
cd zlib-1.2.11
./configure --prefix=$QEMU_LD_PREFIX
make install

Download and build sqlite3:

cd sqlite-src-3260000
./configure --enable-static --disable-readline --disable-threadsafe --disable-load-extension --host=$target_host --prefix=$QEMU_LD_PREFIX
make install

Download and build gmp:

tar xvf gmp-6.1.2.tar.xz
cd gmp-6.1.2
./configure --disable-assembly --host=$target_host --prefix=$QEMU_LD_PREFIX
make install

Then, build c-lightning with the following commands:


To compile for Armbian

For all the other Pi devices out there, consider using Armbian.

You can compile in using the instructions for Ubuntu.

A working example that compiles both bitcoind and c-lightning for Armbian can be found here.

To compile for Alpine

Get dependencies:

apk update
apk add ca-certificates alpine-sdk autoconf automake git libtool \
  gmp-dev sqlite-dev python python3 py3-mako net-tools zlib-dev libsodium gettext

Clone lightning:

git clone
cd lightning
git submodule update --init --recursive

Build and install:

make install

Clean up:

cd .. && rm -rf lightning
apk del ca-certificates alpine-sdk autoconf automake git libtool \
  gmp-dev sqlite python3 py3-mako net-tools zlib-dev libsodium gettext

Additional steps

Go to README for more information how to create an address, add funds, connect to a node, etc.