Easiest Bitcoin Lightning Guide!

I wanted to write a guide about how to set up LND testnet and mainnet on macOS or Windows desktop or laptop.

If you get stuck at any point in this guide (or after!) please contact me support@lightningpowerusers.zendesk.com so that I can help you out. If any of this is not clear, please let me know so that I can improve it.

This setup process will get easier and easier as each step gets automated one way or another. I’ll keep this guide updated as things change.


Until neutrino matures on to mainnet “real” Bitcoin, we’ll have to do a full sync of the Bitcoin blockchain, which means your computer will have to download and store 250+ GB of data from the internet. If you have a fairly recent computer (i5+ processor, 8+ GB of RAM), your internet speed will be the bottleneck in this process, not your computer. Here is a helpful chart to see how long it will take for you to download. To keep it under 3 days, you’ll want an 8+ Mb/second connection. If you are on Google Fiber, it’ll only take you 30 minutes. Yes, this is a big reason why there’s a lot of controversy about the block weight limit!


  1. ~250 GB of download bandwidth (unless you have already synced Bitcoin). This may be greater than your ISP data cap.
  2. Windows or macOS (Linux if you are comfortable with the command line)
  3. ~10 GB of disk space (>300 GB if you want the Bitcoin transaction index, makes for a faster LND)


Bitcoin is an experiment. The Lightning Network is an experiment. Please understand that you may have a permanent loss of value from experimenting with these systems. This is risky business!

Lightning Power Node Launcher

Download the latest release of the Lightning Power Node Launcher: https://github.com/PierreRochard/node-launcher/releases

Open the app or exe file you downloaded

Check the Bitcoin Data Directory

If you have already synced Bitcoin, the Node Launcher’s default data directory will use the synced data.

Check if there is the pruning warning

Pruning saves hard drive space, but is not “officially” supported by LND wallet. It does work though!

So if you are tight on hard drive space, you can ignore this warning.

Pruning is automatically turned on if free space on the selected drive is < 150 GB.

If you have a secondary hard drive with >300 GB of free space, I would recommend creating a “bitcoin” folder inside of it and selecting that directory.

Also, keep in mind that hard drive performance can be a bottleneck if you have a very fast internet connection, so in that case favor a big SSD over a big spinning-plate hard drive.

Here I have selected a secondary hard drive with >300 GB free, the pruning warning is gone

Click on Launch Bitcoin

Bitcoin Core Full Node

Launch LND

Make sure the last message in the LND output window matches this:

Click on the Create button

Enter your new LND wallet password. The LND wallet password is used to unlock your LND wallet

Enter your new LND seed password. The LND seed password is used to encrypt your 24 word mnemonic seed. You will lose your coins if you lose this password! Leave it blank if you want your mnemonic seed to be unencrypted

Print your 24 word mnemonic

At this point you may get an error in the LND output saying “[WRN] LNWL: Unable to synchronize wallet to chain: Post dial tcp connect: operation timed out”

Try closing LND, launching it again, and unlocking the wallet. I’m working on a better solution!

If it works, the LND output should start saying “Caught up to height”

Let your node sync (both Bitcoin and LND at the same time), this could take a long time if you have a slow internet connection!

Wait for LND to finish catching up. When it is caught up you’ll start seeing fast scrolling of LN activity like below

Now go set up Zap Desktop! 👇

Get in touch: support@lightningpowerusers.zendesk.com