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Manage peers

Hyperledger Besu peer-to-peer (P2P) discovery happens periodically based on the number of peers in a network and the node's peer limit.

The frequency of discovery isn't configurable, but you can limit remote connections in public networks and randomly prioritize connections in small, stable networks.


You can use admin_addPeer to attempt a specific connection, but this isn't P2P discovery.

In private networks, we recommend using bootnodes to initially discover peers.

Limit peers

You can limit peers to reduce the bandwidth, CPU time, and disk access Besu uses to manage and respond to peers.

To reduce the maximum number of peers, use the --max-peers option. The default is 25.

Limit remote connections

Prevent eclipse attacks when using --sync-mode and --fast-sync-min-peers on public networks by enabling the remote connection limits.

In private and permissioned networks with only trusted peers, enabling the remote connection limits is unnecessary and might adversely affect the speed at which nodes can join the network. Limiting remote connections can cause a closed group of peers to form when the number of nodes in the network is slightly higher than --max-peers. The nodes in this closed group are all connected to each other and can't accept more connections.


You can use --random-peer-priority-enabled to help prevent closed groups of peers in small, stable networks.

Monitor peer connections

JSON-RPC API methods to monitor peer connections include:

Each peer entry returned by admin_peers includes a protocols section. Use the information in the protocols section to:

  • Determine the health of peers. For example, an external process can use admin_peers and admin_removePeer to disconnect from peers that are stalled at a single difficulty for an extended period of time.

  • Monitor node health. For example, if peers report increasing difficulties but the node is stuck at the same block number, the node may be on a different fork to most peers.

  • Determine which protocol level peers are communicating with. For example, you can see if "version": 65 is being used to reduce transaction sharing traffic.

List node connections

The default logging configuration doesn't list node connection and disconnection messages. To enable listing them, set the --logging option to DEBUG. For more verbosity, set the option to TRACE.

The console logs connection and disconnection events when the log level is DEBUG or higher. If the message Successfully accepted connection from ... displays, connections are getting through the firewalls.

Sample log output
2018-10-16 12:37:35.479-04:00 | nioEventLoopGroup-3-1 | INFO | NettyP2PNetwork | Successfully accepted connection from 0xa979fb575495b8d6db44f750317d0f4622bf4c2aa3365d6af7c284339968eef29b69ad0dce72a4d8db5ebb4968de0e3bec910127f134779fbcb0cb6d3331163c

Disable discovery

To disable P2P discovery, set the --discovery-enabled option to false.

With discovery disabled, peers can't open connections with the node unless they were previously discovered or manually peered (for example, using admin_addPeer). Static nodes can also open connections.


If you encounter issues with peering, see the troubleshoot peering documentation, which helps you identify and resolve common problems that can occur during the peering process.