What if I can't stay online as a host? What if it's not my fault (hardware failure, power outage, etc)?
You need to stay online over 95% of the time in order to not risk losing your collateral. Unfortunately, Sia is biased towards putting the blame on hosts for any sort of downtime, no matter the reason. Because the platform is decentralized, Sia has no way of knowing if you're down temporarily or if you've decided to delete your renter's data and go offline permanently. You can't exactly email somebody and say "I'll be back tomorrow!", and they can override the system.
Hosting is a big commitment, because you're saying that you'll keep your hosting computer online for the entire contract period. If you're concerned that you won't be able to do that, you might consider other mitigating items like an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) for your computer, or a mirrored hard drive setup to protect against data loss. The alternative, of course, is to not be a host at all. If you have unreliable internet, for example, hosting may not be a great idea.
To find out if your particular configuration is recommended for hosting, visit our Suggested Host Settings page.
Can I keep my wallet unlocked or unlock it automatically? Why would I want to do that?
Yes, if you have Sia 1.3.1+ installed. When your wallet is locked, your host isn't online, so if your computer restarts and you don't notice right away, you could be saddled with several hours of downtime (or more, depending on how often you check your host computer), and risk losing your collateral for any active contracts you have.
There are three steps involved in making your wallet auto-unlock and getting Sia to start automatically.
- Save your Sia wallet password in a system environment variable called
- Linux, Mac, Windows: How do I set an environment variable?
Warning: Because system environment variables are accessible to any program on your computer, it's recommended that if your wallet password is the same as your wallet seed, you first change your wallet password to something unique. You can do this by clicking Change Password on the Wallet tab. If someone acquires your wallet seed, they can load your wallet on another computer and take control of it, so it's a bad idea to keep your wallet seed in an environment variable.
- Linux: Here is a guide for GUI use on Ubuntu, and Here is a guide for most Linux distros. Add your Sia path accordingly.
- Mac: Here is a guide to add Startup items. Add Sia accordingly.
- Windows: Here is a guide to add programs to your Startup folder. Add Sia accordingly.
- Linux: Here is a guide to enable automatic login.
- Mac: Here is a guide to enable automatic login.
- Windows: Here is a guide to enable automatic login.
After all of the above steps have been completed, restart your computer and make sure your account logs in automatically, Sia starts, and your wallet is unlocked.
When my computer restarts, my host goes offline because Sia doesn't start or my wallet is locked.
See the topic above regarding unlocking your wallet automatically - it has steps to keep your wallet unlocked and ensure Sia starts when your computer starts or restarts.
Sia says "Host Unreachable" a few minutes after it starts.
The most likely scenario is that you don't have Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) available on your network, which automatically forwards required ports for you. To check if Sia's ports are forwarded correctly, open Sia, wait a few minutes, and then visit a site like CanYouSeeMe.org and test ports 9981 and 9982. If you don't get a "Success" message, the ports are blocked and your Sia host will not show as online.
Troubleshooting requires a little bit of work, and basic understanding of router and firewall configuration will be useful. If you're on a work, school, or public network, you may be out of luck because you will likely not have control over the network settings that are required to forward ports. You can check the other steps related to computer firewall settings if you have access to those.
If your port check doesn't come back successful:
- Visit PortForward.com's Router List and find your router, and then router model in the list. Ignore any ads for their PortForward software or network utilities, unless you're feeling adventurous and also feel like parting with some money. If you don't know your router model, it's usually on a sticker on the bottom or back of the router. Follow all directions, including any regarding a Static IP address, and forward the ports 9981 and 9982 to your hosting computer's IP as instructed.
- Restart Sia and/or your hosting computer. Use CanYouSeeMe.org again to check the ports. If they're now open and Sia says "Host Online" for more than 5 minues or so, you're all set. If not...
- Check for any firewall or antivirus software on your computer that might be blocking ports or Sia. For example, Windows has Windows Firewall activated by default. It's impossible to write one single guide for all network security software out there, so we'd suggest doing some Google-Fu for your operating system + opening ports, as well as opening ports through your network security software like Norton if applicable. Remember, the ports you need to open are 9981 and 9982 inbound.
- Repeat step 2 to test your ports after making adjustments with your firewall and network security software, if applicable.
If the above steps don't fix your problem with blocked ports, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) could also be blocking these ports, though an ISP blocking the ports Sia uses is unlikely. You can try asking for help in the communities listed in our External Links, like Reddit or Discord.
If your original port check came back successful:
Sometimes Sia gets stuck on a stale public IP address, and tries to announce your host under an old IP address if your public IP has changed, which is fairly common with home internet service. This behavior was observed in Sia 1.3.0 and may have since been resolved. To check this:
- Visit a site like WhatIsMyIP.com to see what your public IP address is.
- Open your
\Sia-UI\sia\host\host.jsonfile in your Sia data directory with a text editor and look for a line that says "autoaddress", and compare the IP you found in the previous step with the one listed there. If they're not the same, Sia is stuck on an old IP address. Try restarting your computer and/or Sia a time or two to see if Sia will pick up on your current IP. You can also try reannouncing your host, or manually announcing your current IP address.
In Sia v1.3.1, users have reported that the above steps usually fix the issue if port checks are succeeding.
Income and Deductions
What sort of income can I expect when hosting?
Our Suggested Host Settings page has network averages for host pricing and suggested starting values for new hosts. You can use these as a rough estimate of what you might be able to earn on Sia. You can also use a website like SiaHub to view other hosts and see what sort of income they're earning. Once you become a host, the Sia-UI will also provide you with an "expected" income amount for your current contracts.
In general, hosting is not currently very profitable because there are many more hosts than there are renters looking to rent space. Most hosts earn a few Siacoins a day.
What is Proof of Burn? What does that mean to me as a host?
Proof of Burn is a feature to help ensure that hosts cannot perform a Sybil attack. It requires hosts to burn (destroy) a small amount of their income, currently about 4%, to prove they are real. Proof of Burn has not yet been implemented in Sia, but will be in the future. Read more about it on the About Sia page.
Why do I see a bunch of small (or sometimes large) transactions taken from my wallet while hosting?
As you form contracts with renters, your collateral is removed from your wallet in small amounts at a time. This collateral is locked up until the contract is completed, so as a host, you will see a number of transactions removing coins from your wallet. This is expected behavior - in the future, the UI may make this information more user-friendly.
Is there a way to see how much collateral I have locked up?
host into the Terminal, and Sia will tell you how much collateral is locked and how much is risked. Your locked collateral will be returned to you when the related contract expires. If you go offline as a host, you only stand to lose the "risked" collateral.
Please note that the information provided below is for general reference only. It is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any legal concerns, please consult an appropriately qualified attorney or other legal counsel.
As a host, am I liable for data a renter uploads? What if they upload something illegal?
Very unlikely. As a host, you only receive part of an encrypted file. You have no way of knowing what data you store, how much, or really anything about the data whatsoever, which effectively shields you from liability. The only thing Sia stores on your host machine's shared folder is a single large data file consisting of a blob of all your renter's encrypted data. There is no way for you to tell what is in the file or which pieces belong to who.
What if I receive a takedown request for data I'm hosting via Sia?
This would be a very unlikely scenario, because currently files are reconstructed by the renter's client and an outside party would have no way to know that you're hosting one particular renter's file any more than you would. There is no sort of file sharing currently implemented in Sia, so this is not currently a concern.
Don't see your question answered? Let us know and we'll see if we can add it to the FAQ.