Guide to running a star on Urbit

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I have been asked several times about what is necessary to run a star on Urbit.

For those of you who don't know, a star is basically an ISP on the Urbit network that services 65000 planets (addresses). Eventually, stars will provide routing and maintenance and utilities to the planets under them. It is considered good etiquette in Urbit to make sure your star is up and running if you are selling or giving away planets. Otherwise, your planets won't have a great experience getting started and will have to do some troubleshooting to figure out why they are not updating.

However, today, routing is handled by galaxies, and stars simply relay updates.

So the requirements for running a star are not very much. You can run a star on a $10 VPS from Linode or Digital Ocean.

Star Maintenance

There's just not much to do as far as maintenance. Years ago, things were not very stable and I had to restart my star on a regular basis. As of 2020, my stars are very stable. I use Uptime Robot to track uptime, and I'm over 99%.

I don't foresee needing to move to a beefier host until I have thousands of planets running under my star.

There did seem to be a bit of a bug that prevented my stars from passing on updates that I had to work out with support. All in, I probably spent 30 hours maintaining my stars in 2020.

The only other thing I can think of is that every six months or so the storage on my VPS fills up and I have to restart my star from scratch. This is a known issue, and has been vastly improved over the last year. Some fixes are coming soon that will help with log size.

Troubleshooting

Typing +trouble at the dojo prompt will give you the important software version hashes that you need to make sure your star is operating correctly. You should occasionally check and make sure that your %base and %kids hashes match the one at https://www.whatsthelatestbasehash.com/.

If your %base hash is good but your %kids hash is behind, you can run this command to sync them (this will delete anything in the desk that is not in ~zod's %kids desk.If you have anything in there, that you want to keep you should back it up first.)

|merge %kids ~zod %kids, =gem %only-that

If your %home hash doesn't match either, you can do the same with this command:

|merge %home ~zod %kids, =gem %only-that


About the author

Jeremy Tunnell
I study Integral Theory and Zen Buddhism at Integral Zen.

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You can reach Jeremy at [email protected]