Basics

What is staking

Staking is the process of delegating your SOL tokens to one or more validators, who process transactions and keep the network secure. Validators earn rewards for their services and delegators then get a proportional amount of the rewards less the validator's commission.

In order to delegate your SOL tokens, you need to create a separate stake account and choose a validator to delegate to. You can do it either from command line interface or by using one of the supported wallets.

Staking timeline

After you delegate your SOL tokens, you need to wait until the next epoch for the changes to take effect. Throughout the epoch validator is voting and generates new transactions according to the leader schedule and only after one entire epoch ends, the reward is added to your staking pool and is automatically delegated to the same validator.

Please note that during the pending epoch your tokens cannot be withdrawn.

If you wish to undelegate your tokens from the validator, you need to wait untill the end of the epoch. In this case your last reward will be added to your stake account and will no longer be delegated.

Choosing the right validator

There are a couple of things to consider while choosing the right validator to delegate your stake to. In order to be able to vote properly and create new transactions it needs to have constant high speed network access and good overall performance. Another important thing is the commission validator takes to cover it's costs - the less the better. You should also check if validator is credible and operates in a transparent manner.

Performance - we're gathering some statistical data to determine how well the validator operates within solana network. Root block distance and vote distance show how far behind it is from the top of the blockchain while the skipped slot % measures the percent of the time that a leader fails to produce a block during their allocated slots.

Commission - the important thing to notice here is that commissions can be changed in any moment, so it's crucial to check for particular validators commission change history and see if there's no malicious behaviour there. Some of the validators are offering 0% commission as an introductory offer. It's a good idea to contact them to see when the offer expires and the new rate at that time.

Reliability - if the validator has all the information filled up, has its own website and no malicious behaviour in the past is detected it is more likely that it cares about reliability and thus is more trustworthy.

Data Centers

For the security reasons it is recommended that the validators in solana cluster are spread among as many locations as possible. It reduces the possibility of network collapse in case of a data center breakage. On our data centers page you can examine the validators distribution between data centers and organisations Autonomous System Numbers (ASN).

How Does the Validator Score V1 Work?

We track validator performance over several dimensions and assign a score in the range of (0..2) for each. the scores also correlate with colored icons: is excellent, is OK, and means there is room for improvement. The scored dimensions are:

  1. Root Block Distance
    (2 points) means that the validator median block distance is at, or below, the cluster median.
    (1 point) means that the validator average block distance is at, or below, the cluster average.
    (0 points) means that the validator average is higher than the cluster average.
    The medians and averages are calculated over a trailing 2-day period and do not reset with each epoch.
  2. Vote Distance the scoring rules are the same as Root Block Distance above.
  3. Skipped Slot %
    For this metric, we track a trailing 24-hour moving average of the skip rate. The moving average (MA) is then compared to the cluster median(MA) and cluster average(MA). On the charts, a dotted line shows the spot reading that resets with every epoch. The solid line shows the 24-hour moving average.
    (2 points) means that the validator skipped slot % is at, or below, the cluster median.
    (1 point) means that the skipped slot % is at, or below, the cluster average.
    (0 points) means that the validator average is higher than the cluster average.
    The moving averages reflect the previous 24-hours, and the spot reading resets with each new epoch.
  4. Published Information
    Investors or delegators want to know who is running a node. The Published Information Score measures the contact information that the validator has posted to the blockchain using the `solana validator-info` feature.
    (2 points) means that the validator has published all four data elements (Name, Keybase ID, Website URL, and Details).
    (1 point) means that the validator has published two or three parts.
    (0 points) means that the validator has published only one, or zero, pieces of contact data.
  5. Software Version
    This score is based on the Solana software version currently in use on this node.
    (2 points) means that the validator is using the correct major, minor, & patch versions.
    (1 point) means that the validator is using the correct major, & minor versions (but not patch).
    (0 points) means that the validator is only using the current major version (or less).
    This score is updated as soon as the validator starts voting with a new software update.
  6. Bonus Point
    Security and operations are a critical component of a well-run validator. I am assigning one (1) point when a validator has provided me with a URL to their web page related to security policies. Please be aware that I am not evaluating the content on that web page. I will merely confirm that the web page discusses security or operating procedures before posting the link to this site. Validators that use mods with an unproven effect on consensus are always assigned with bonus point 0.
    (1 point) means that the validator has provided a valid URL.
    (0 points) means that the validator has not published a description of their security policies, or validator uses software modifications.
    Validators, please directly contact Brian Long to provide the URL.
  7. Stake Concentration is a contra-score and will DEDUCT points from a validator's total score:
    (-2 points) means that this validator is one of the top 33% active stake holders.
    The concentration of stake is a bad thing on a decentralized proof-of-stake blockchain. There is no deduction of points, and no icon, if the validator controls less than 3%. If you are an investor who is delegating stake, please consider high performing nodes without high stake concentrations.
  8. Data Center Concentration
    This is another contra-score that will DEDUCT points from validators located in data centers that host a high percentage of other Solana validators. A high data center concentration means that a problem with the hosting provider could take many of the nodes offline.
    (-2 points) means that this validator is in a data center with a very high percent of the active stake.
    (-1 point) means that this validator is in a data center with a high percent of the active stake.
    If you are an investor who is delegating stake, please consider high performing nodes without a high data center concentration.
  9. Authorized Withdrawer Score
    Validator identity matching authorized withdrawer is a serious security risk, eg. if someone hacks into your validator, they can steal from the vote account. Keep the withdraw authority key offline to minimize the risk.
    (-2 points) means that this validator identity is the same as the authorized withdrawer identity.
  10. Consensus Mods Score
    This is another contra-score that will DEDUCT points from validators that appear to use software modifications with an unproven effect on consensus. A validator's most important job is to form an agreement about the validity of the blockchain. If over 34% of validators are using non-standard consensus logic, the cluster can stall if the validators cannot reach a majority consensus. In such an event, the only way to resume is to restart after slashing the stake of the validators with modified software. Stakeholders who delegate to these validators should be aware of a small risk that they can lose funds.
    (-2 points) means that this validator appears to use unproven software modifications. Validators that use mods with an unproven effect on consensus are also assigned with bonus point 0.

The maximum score is currently eleven (11) points:


Dictionary

Commission

Commission is a percentage value set by a validator to determine how much of the rewards earned does it collect in order to incur the costs. It's automatically deducted from your rewards pay outs. It can be set anywhere between 0% and 100% and can be changed in any moment. Click here if you want to know more about current commissions.

Epoch

Time determined by number of slots, for which the leader schedule is valid.

Root Distance

Measures the median & average distance in block height between the validator and the tower's highest block. Smaller numbers mean that the validator is near the top of the tower.

Vote Distance

Is very similar to the Root Block Distance score above. Lower numbers mean that the node is voting near the front of the group.

Skipped Slot %

Measures the percent of the time that a leader fails to produce a block during their allocated slots. A lower number means that the leader is making blocks at a very high rate.

Delinquency

If the validator is not active in the solana network it is considered to be delinquent. Short-time delinquencies are considered acceptable, since it occurs while software updates or temporary internet outages.

Stake Concentration

Solana is a decentralized proof-of-stake blockchain. It is best for the network and for those who uses it, that the total stake is divided among as many validators as possible. Keep this in mind while choosing a validator to delegate to.

Stake Pool

Stake pools are an alternative method of earning staking rewards. This program allows SOL holders to stake and earn rewards without managing stakes. Read more about the program on Solana website.


FAQ

How to become a validator?

Please take a look at this detailed guide on Solana website: https://docs.solana.com/running-validator.

How is my Personal Data protected?

All Consumer Personal Information is encrypted in transit via HTTPS. You can see our secure certificate by clicking the lock icon in your browser location bar. We also encrypt all Personal Information at rest when it is stored within our database.

Why is my validator marked "private"?

It's based on commission rate. 100% commission means that you are not looking for delegations, so we mark you as "private". Private validators are always assigned with total score 0, despite their performance.

Why do I see warning next to my validator?

It informs visitors that your validator identity matches the withdraw authority on your vote account. It is a serious security risk, eg. if someone hacks into your validator, they can steal from the vote account. Keep the withdraw authority key offline to minimize the risk. Once you fix it, the warning will be taken off automatically within few hours.

Why do I see warning next to my validator?

It informs visitors that validator's actions are malicious or harmful to the cluster. Hover your mouse over the warning symbol next to validator's name to see the details. Validators with red warnings are always assigned with total score 0, despite their performance.

How can I change my avatar (validator logo)?

the images come from the validator's Keybase profile. Once you change it on Keybase, we'll update avatar in our system automatically within 24 hours.

Why can't I see my validator on main page?

There are several possible causes.
First, please double check and confirm that you're searching in the correct network.
Then, please make sure your validator is active and voting. Make sure your validator is visible in the output of the following CLI command:

solana validators -u t | grep validator-pubkey

Also confirm that there are some SOL delegated to your validator. We suppress all nodes with zero stake. You should see the node appear on our site as soon as you have some stake. If you fixed all the above and still cannot see your validator, please contact us.

Why do I see old software version of my node?

Software versions are updated once every 24 hours. Please wait 24 hours before checking the validators.app website after software version upgrade. If you still cannot see the new version after this time please contact us.

How do I start investing?

First, you'll need some SOLs. You can buy them on Coinbase. Then send them to your web wallet, such as Phantom or Solflare. For other options check out Solana web wallets or Solana mobile wallets. You are ready to stake! To learn more about staking see Solana staking docs. Then check out our advice on how to choose the right validator.

How to find the best validator?

To find a good validator, please start at the top of the 'Score' view on the home page and click through to see validator details. Then read Choosing Validator section on this page to find out what you should watch out for.

How often can I change the validator? Is there a minimum period?

It usually takes 1 epoch for stake to warm up or cool down. Try to split your stake across several validators. Please also read our advice on how to choose the right validator and check out Solana stake pool program.

How often are the staking rewards paid out?

It usually takes 1 epoch for stake to warm up or cool down. After that, you should see rewards in your wallet. For better results, try to split your stake across several validators. Please also read our advice on how to choose the right validator or check out Solana stake pool program.

Where can I find the APY?

We do not show nodes APY on validators.app. See https://www.stakeview.app for a good look at APY. We do show APY for stake pools hovewer. You can find them on this site.

Can I add a validator to my favourites?

You need to create user account or sign in to your user account first. Then you can create your own watchlist by clicking on star icon next to each validator on the list.