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Hosting on the Sia Network

Put your spare storage space to work and make some extra money in the process.

Becoming a Host

Hosting is a serious commitment! Become familiar with the requirements.

Last Updated March 4, 2021

A host is someone who sells their spare storage space on the Sia network. In the Sia-UI, hosting is about as simple as selecting your storage location, setting a few prices, and turning on your host by accepting contracts and announcing your host. Anybody can become a host on Sia, but they should first become familiar with the requirements of doing so. Hosting also requires a bit of technical aptitude, as it generally requires the configuration of port forwarding in order to properly function.

Hosts are one of the most important parts of the Sia network because renters need to be able to trust that a host is going to be online and actually have their data intact when a renter needs it. Hosts are held to several standards in order to ensure that the Sia network remains a reliable and high-quality system for renters to purchase storage space. For that reason, basic requirements to becoming a host on Sia include:

If you fail to meet any of these requirements, you may be unable to host, you may not receive any storage contracts from renters, or you may even risk losing your own Siacoins as a penalty. Hosting is a serious commitment! Too many people try to start hosting without completeing understanding what's involved, so we'd strongly recommend you reivew all available information here before making a decision to become a host.

To find out if your particular configuration is recommended for hosting, visit our Host Tools page.

Skynet Registry on Hosts for SkyDB

With the release of Sia v1.5.1, a new feature called the registry was released, which is a separate area of space that hosts can designate to support SkyDB. SkyDB is a simple key-value store which can be used to build basic database operations upon using Skynet. As such, it is ideal if hosts configure their registry storage path on faster storage media if it is available, such as a solid state drive (SSD). As of v1.5.1, the registry must be manually configured and is not configured automatically. See our Guide to Hosting on Sia - Step 3 for more information on configuring the registry on your host. A good default registry size to start with is 4 GB. By default, the registry is placed in your Sia internal data folder along with consensus and other internal Sia data.

Configuring registry storage as a host is optional, but helps to support Skynet operations. There are no storage proofs made for registry items, and there is not really any penalty to losing or deleting registry data as a host, unlike normal renter data which requires a storage proof to be submitted at the end of a storage contract. To compensate for this, Skynet portals and renters pay for registry data storage at a much higher rate than normal Sia renter storage. A registry entry takes up 256 bytes of storage space, but it is paid as if it takes up 64kb, so registry space is paid for at about 250x the rate of your normal host storage. The idea behind this is that because registry entries are so profitable, hosts will not want to remove them even if they are not penalized for doing so.

Host Pricing

Hosts compete with each other by setting their own prices.

One of the most common questions people have when hosting is how to know what they should set their prices to. There are several areas in which hosts can set pricing:

In general, Sia storage for renters is usually priced around the equivalent of $2 per Terabyte per Month. This is on the renter end, though, and since data is uploaded to 3x redundancy, host price settings will generally be about a third of that (about $0.66/TB/Month) because a host will only have 1/3 of a renter's data. Since storage on Sia is priced in Siacoins (SC), you can get a rough idea for a starting point of your storage pricing by dividing $0.66 by the current price of Siacoins. For example, with a current Siacoin price of $0.002, you'd probably want to start with a base storage price around 330 SC/TB/Month. ($0.66 / $0.002 = 330 SC). Current Prices

For all current suggested starting prices for new hosts, visit our Host Tools page.

When setting host prices, start with the current average prices, and you can adjust them later if you find you're not getting many contracts as a host. When you change your prices, it will only affect new contracts. Any contracts you had prior to the price change will still be effective at whatever price was set when the contract was created. For this reason, you can experiment with your prices without worrying about angering any current renters you may have. Also, since the price of Siacoin changes over time, you may need to adjust your host prices every now and then in order to remain competitive as a host.

Host Scoring

Increase your odds of receiving contracts by monitoring your host score.

The Sia network ranks all hosts according to an overall Host Score. This score is based on a number of metrics, listed below. Some items can be directly affected, such as metrics related to pricing - you can lower a price to increase your host score. Other metrics are automatic and involve time or reliability. Becoming familiar with the host metrics means that you can work to optimize your host ranking and be more likely to receive new contracts.

Remember that Sia is a decentralized storage network - the code to evaluate these scoring metrics is contained within each renter's Sia instance. For that reason, each Sia renter you encounter builds their own host score for your host, so your host may be scored differently among different renters. Your host does not have one single overall score across the Sia network, but instead many scores with many renters based on the metrics described below. Any website or service showing your Sia host rank is showing that particular service's view of your host, which may be different from what a renter comes up with. However, with the guidelines below, you can have an idea of how to maximize your potential score in general.

Core Sia Host Scoring Metrics

These are the current specific metrics built into the core Sia protocol which your host is scored by. The different numerical ranges of your host score are somewhat arbitrary, but in general, the higher your host score, the better your host is considered to be and the more competitive you are. Any adjustments to your host score explained below follow this rule - if something lowers your host score, it's not good. If something raises your host score, that's great!

Host Uptime

Host uptime is one of the most important metrics. If you're not online when your renters need their data, you're not doing them very much good. You're allowed a small amount of downtime in order to address minor maintenance issues (restarting for updates, etc) which amounts to approximate 14 hours per month, but in general you should plan for your hosting computer to be turned on and online 24/7. If you can't commit to this, you shouldn't try to host on the Sia network.

Warning: If you go offline for too long (less than 95% uptime) or lose renter data (by deleting it or experiencing a hardware failure), you can lose money by losing your collateral for active contracts. You can also become responsible for SiaFund fees for each contract.

Below are the exact amounts that your score will change based on your uptime percentage. Greater than 98% uptime results in no penalty, which is the 14 hours a month explained above (2% of 720 hours in a month = 14 hours).

Uptime (Greater than or equal to) Multiply Host Score By % Reduction in Score
100% 1.0 None
98% 1.0 None
95% 0.91 -10%
90% 0.51 -50%
85% 0.16 -85%
80% 0.03 -97%
75% 0.005 -99.5%
70% 0.001 -99.9%
50% 0.000002 -99.9998%

You can see that your score decreases rapidly after you have less than 95% uptime.

Storage Pricing

The price you set for your storage as a host is one of the biggest ways you can affect your host score. You want to set a price that's competitive, but that will still result in a reasonable amount of income for the space you offer. In general, the higher you price your storage, the lower your host score will be. Your host score will increase by a factor of 16 every time you cut your storage price in half. Decreasing your storage cost by even a small amount will have an impact on your score.

There are a number of other pricing factors you have to take into consideration as a host:

  • A Contract Fee is a one-time fee a renter pays in order to initiate a storage contract with you. It's intended to cover transaction fees on the Sia network related to the creation of the contract and receiving payments as a host. This is normally set for you automatically, but it can be changed via the Terminal/command line. If you change it, you generally don't want to set this more than about 5 SC, as these costs are very low.
  • Bandwidth Price can be set on a basis of SC per Terabyte transferred to/from your host. One price can be set for both upload and download bandwidth via the Sia-UI, or different upload/download prices can be set individually via the Terminal/command line. It's suggested that you price your upload and download bandwidth in relation to your internet connection capabilities. If you have a fast connection such as gigabit fiber, you can price these items very low because a user transferring several Terabytes doesn't impact you very much. If you have a slow connection or data caps, you may want to consider a higher bandwidth price, though this may deter renters.
  • Fees related to Sector Access and RPC are protections against malicious renters which may be trying to abuse hosts by accessing host resources without paying for uploading or downloading. These fees are capped at 1% of the cost to download a file, but some services which use Sia for storage may ignore your host if you set these fees to anything.

For all current suggested starting prices for new hosts, visit our Host Tools page.


As a host, you're required to put up an amount of Siacoins as collateral. Collateral is a guarantee to your renters that you will be online through the storage contract, and that you'll have their data intact at the end of the contract. As a host, this is why you need Siacoins to start hosting. If you go offline for too long or lose renter data, you risk losing your collateral. See Host Uptime for more details on uptime requirements.

You should normally set your collateral to around 2-3x your base storage price as a starting point in order to maximize your host score in this area. For example, if you've priced your storage at 50 SC/TB, you should set your collateral at 100-150 SC/TB.

  • If you set your collateral too low, your host score will be reduced, because renters will have no reason to trust you as a host if you have little or nothing to lose by going offline.
  • If you set your collateral too high, this can also decrease your host score. Renters pay a fee based on a percentage of your collateral that goes towards SiaFunds - if your collateral is set very high, the fee a renter pays as a result will be very high, which can decrease your host score.

For all current suggested starting prices for new hosts, visit our Host Tools page.

Monitoring Your Collateral

You can get information on your collateral by typing host -v into the Terminal. This will show you a few things:

  • All of your current host settings, as well as details on contracts and expected revenue
  • Locked Collateral - this is the total collateral that's been reserved for contracts that have been created with your host. This amount has been removed from your wallet and is inaccessiable to you.
  • Risked Collateral - this is collateral for data that has actually been uploaded to your host, so you stand to lose it if your host goes offline or loses the data. This amount is a subset of Locked Collateral.
  • Lost Collateral - this is collateral you've lost because you weren't online when a storage proof was due to be submitted, or because you lost a renter's data.

With this information, you can determine how much collateral has been tied up in the process of hosting, and make adjustments to your collateral settings accordingly if necessary.

Storage Remaining

The more free storage space (not total storage space) you have remaining, the less likely you are to form contracts with several renters and then run out of space later, making those contracts useless. The host scoring system takes this into account.

The host scoring formula for scoring your remaining storage used to be based on flat values, such as over 2 TB being good and over 4 TB being great, but now it is based on whether or not your host has enough free storage compared to what the renter needs. Of course, this varies with each renter, and the renter's Sia instance is the one that makes this determination for each renter's needs. So long as you have 1 TB or more free, in general you are not likely to have a lower host score with the majority of Sia renters. The more storage you have free, the better, but if your available storage quantity starts to become low you may want to consider adding more storage. This system also means it is unlikely you will ever fill your storage to 100% capacity, but you may get close to it if you are otherwise a well-ranked host.

Host Age

New hosts are considered less trustworthy by the network because they have no history of being online consistently. A host score penalty is applied to new hosts, and is gradually reduced the older the host becomes. There is nothing you can do to improve this metric except to put your host online and then wait.

The table below shows how host scores are affected based on the host's age. Penalties are measured in blocks, and roughly equated to time in days. After you've been a host for 42 days (6 weeks), there is no penalty.

Host Age (Blocks) Less Than Host Age (Days) Less Than Multiply Host Score By % Reduction in Score
6,000 41 0.5 -50%
4,000 28 0.25 -75%
2,000 14 0.125 -87.5%
1,000 7 0.0625 -93.75%
576 4 0.03125 -96.875%
288 2 0.015625 -98.4375%
144 1 0.0078125 -99.21875%
Interaction Weight

Interaction weight is a metric measured between your host and each renter on the Sia network. For example, if a renter tries to contact your host and you're frequently offline or don't have your wallet unlocked (a pre-requisite to your host being online), your interaction score will decrease with that renter. Again, this score is unique for each renter you encounter - it will be different for each individual renter on the Sia network.

Keeping your host online and your wallet unlocked while hosting will keep this score as high as possible. For instructions on how to automatically unlock your wallet when Sia starts, see this FAQ topic.

Version Adjustment

Your host score is penalized if you're not running the latest version of the Sia-UI client. Sia is constantly under development, and bug fixes and new features are pushed out on a somewhat regular basis. If you're running an older version of the client, your renters may not be able to take advantage of all the latest features of Sia until you upgrade.

As you can see, hosts have several ways in which they compete with other hosts.

Third-Party Host Scoring

Third-party resources and websites can also develop their own methods for scoring hosts based on various metrics. For example, SiaStats has developed a Host Monitor which evaluates hosts on pricing relative to other hosts, and even evaluates host performance regularly by forming contracts with every host it can in order to test bandwidth and latency. These benchmarks are different from the core Sia protocol, but are still useful, and may be used in other third-party Sia tools such as Decentralizer to help select hosts which perform better in the real world.

Monitoring your Host Score

Once you've started hosting, you'll probably want to keep an eye on your host score and see how you might be able to improve your host ranking. SiaHub is a public host database with lots of information on hosts, including estimated host rankings and host scores. You can locate your host by searching for your host's public IP, and then view your stats. You can also browse top hosts and see what settings they're using, which may give you ideas on how to improve your host score. Note that SiaHub stats are only estimates, but they're the best ones available at this time. SiaStats' Host Monitor (linked above) also provides host score information, including your Sia rank based on the core Sia host scoring metrics.

Risks of Hosting on Sia

Hosting on Sia may present some liability risks.

Warning: Operating as a Sia host may expose you to significant legal risk, as described below. This information is not intended to be legal advice, and SiaSetup advises that you consult with a lawyer regarding the legality of hosting data for the Sia network before you commit to becoming a host.

As a Sia host, you are accepting data from anonymous strangers over the Internet. If a renter decides to upload data that is illegal, you may be held liable for storing and serving the data, depending on any applicable laws and jurisdictions you may fall under. This may include pirated content, content which infringes upon a copyright, or other very illegal things that likely do not need to be mentioned here by name.

Normal Sia Data

Data stored by a normal renter on the Sia network is encrypted and split into pieces, so as a host, you only have a small encrypted piece of a file. Therefore, you have a degree of plausible deniability as to the fact that you might currently be hosting any illegal content. However, it is also important to know that it is possible for renters to store data on the Sia network unencrypted, which may weaken such a defense - though as a host, you would still only have a fragment of a file. In any case, you may be subject to takedown requests, search warrants, or other adverse actions from law enforcement or your Internet service provider as a host if it is determined that illegal content is being stored on or retrieved from your host.

Your risk is likely fairly limited when it comes to holding normal Sia data, as the only way to retrieve a renter's data would be using the renter's seed, which would typically occur on the renter's system where the illegal content originated from in the first place. For Sia data stored using normal settings, encryption of the data before it leaves the renter's system also provides a level of protection for hosts. To date, there have been no known examples of a takedown request sent to a host for normal Sia data stored privately in an encrypted fashion.

Skynet Data

As a Sia host, you are also subject to receive data from Skynet uploaders. Skynet files are not encrypted by default, and an entire Skynet file is stored on each host. Because of this, your liability may increase substantially because it would be possible for you to examine the contents of each Skynet file on your host, unlike normal Sia data. If you host illegal Skynet content, an argument could be made that because you are capable of viewing this content, you need to take steps to ensure that illegal content is not stored on your host, just like a standard web host might be required to do. It may be harder to argue that you had no knowledgde of the content you stored as a host, and open you to liability that normal Sia data would not expose you to. Additionally, because Skynet content is designed to be publicly shared via Skylinks, the chances of the illegal content being discovered are much higher, as are the chances that the source of the content will be traced back to your host where it resides.

As of March 2021, there is currently no easy way to examine your host data without manually viewing the contents of your Sia host blob file. There is also currently no way to decline Skynet data as a Sia host. For this reason, you may want to strongly consider whether the potential for significant liability as a host who must accept Skynet uploads is worth it before deciding to become a Sia host.

Still ready to get started as a host on Sia? Check out our step-by-step Guide to Hosting on Sia! We also have several Hosting FAQs.