# Lightning Network and BTCPay

After deploying BTCPay Server, you may want to experiment with an innovative second-layer payment system built on top of Bitcoin protocol - the Lightning Network (opens new window).

This guide will show you how to set up your Lightning Network node in BTCPay and guide you through the basics.


Before you proceed, please understand that the Lightning Network is still in the experimental stage. Using the Lightning Network can put your money at risk. Do not use more than you can afford to lose.

Take time to familiarize yourself with the risks associated with using the Lightning Network. Your keys are in a hot-wallet. Some implementations do not have a backup for lightning keys in BTCPay. This means:

  1. If you erase your BTCPay Server or your machine crashes - you lose all the funds.
  2. If your server gets hacked - a hacker can take all of your funds by accessing your keys.

While the keys from your Lightning Network don't have a backup and someone can steal them theoretically, your on-chain Bitcoin funds are safe and are never uploaded on the server.

As the technology matures and develops, things like a proper backup will be easier to implement in BTCPay. As of v1.0.3.138 (opens new window), LND is the only lightning network implementation that allows for lightning seed backups with BTCPay Server.

BTCPay currently offers three implementations of the Lightning Network:

# Choosing the Lightning Network implementation

First, read here about using pruned Bitcoin nodes with lightning network implementations before deploying.

On the installation, you'll have the option to choose the implementation.

For web-interface installations, you can simply select the implementation from the drop-down menu. For other docker (opens new window) based deployment methods you need to:

sudo su -
cd btcpayserver-docker
export BTCPAYGEN_LIGHTNING="implementationgoeshere"
. ./btcpay-setup.sh -i

For c-lightning use export BTCPAYGEN_LIGHTNING="clightning"

For LND use export BTCPAYGEN_LIGHTNING="lnd"

For eclair use export BTCPAYGEN_LIGHTNING="eclair"

For eclair it also requires export BTCPAYGEN_ADDITIONAL_FRAGMENTS="opt-txindex"

Finally, to begin using Lightning, your blockchain needs to be fully synced.

# Connecting your internal Lightning Node in BTCPay

Regardless of the implementation (c-lightning or LND) you've decided to use, the process of connecting your internal Lightning Node in BTCPay Server is the same.

  1. If you do not have a store, create one.
  2. Store > Settings > Lightning > Modify
  3. Select "Use internal node"
  4. Click "Save"
  5. See "BTC Lightning node updated" message
  6. Make sure it is enabled

Your blockchain needs to be fully synced before you try to connect your internal Lightning Node, otherwise the connection will fail.

BTCPay Server Lightning Network Setup 1
BTCPay Server Lightning Network Setup 2

To ensure that your Lightning node is connected and accessible for use in your store's invoices, try to test your Lightning connection by clicking the "Public Node Info" link. Verify that a successful connection is displayed. If your internal node connection fails, make sure you have a Lightning implementation enabled on your server.

If you are unable to connect to your Lightning node, try restarting your server or reviewing our troubleshooting guide. You will not be able to accept lightning payments in your store until your test connection shows as successful.

# Connecting an external Lightning Node in BTCPay

If you would like to provide your own Lightning node connection string, select the "Use custom node" option. If you aren't sure of which settings to use, there are some examples provided on this page to help guide you. This is typically used to connect an external Lightning node to a BTCPay Server.

BTCPay Server Lightning Network Setup Custom

# Getting Started with BTCPay and LND

The easiest way to use LND implementation with BTCPay is to use Ride The Lightning (opens new window) (RTL).

Ride The Lightning in BTCPay Server

RTL is a device agnostic web user interface for Lightning Network that allows you to operate your node without leaving BTCPay, from your browser.

Ride The Lightning Service in BTCPay Server

To initiate RTL in BTCPay, Go to Server Settings > Services > RTL > See information.

Read the RTL Getting Started Guide (opens new window) for more details.

For remote use of your LND node on iOS or PC, you can use Zap wallet integration (opens new window).

Besides Zap, there are a few more wallets that allow remote control of the LND node, the Nayuta wallet (opens new window) and the ZeusLN (opens new window). Both of which have not yet extensively been tested by the community.

To remotely control your LND node via web browser, you can use Lightning Joule.

# LND Commands lncli

You can use lncli commands like described in their API docs (opens new window) but instead of using lncli you use the shell script in of the btcpayserver-docker repository calles bitcoin-lncli.sh.

If you're on Docker make sure you're in docker directory.

sudo su -
cd btcpayserver-docker

So instead of running lncli getinfo you would run ./bitcoin-lncli.sh getinfo

Run ./bitcoin-lncli.sh --help to see a full list of commands or check above mentioned API docs.

# Getting Started with BTCPay and c-lightning

The most straightforward way to start using the c-lightning implementation in BTCPay is to use Spark Wallet (opens new window) integration. Just like Zap for LND, Spark is a graphical interface of your internal c-lightning node.

You can use Spark as an internal or external wallet. Internal wallet allows users to use Spark via the web-browser inside their BTCPay Server. You can also connect externally to a Spark mobile or desktop app just by scanning a QR code.

Go to Server Settings > Services > Spark Server > See information

Accessing Spark wallet
Accessing Spark wallet

# c-lightning Commands lightning-cli

To use clightning CLI it is the same like above for lncli but instead you use the shell script bitcoin-lightning-cli.sh

If you're on Docker make sure you're in docker directory.

sudo su -
cd btcpayserver-docker

E.g. to list all commands: ./bitcoin-lightning-cli.sh help or show info about the node ./bitcoin-lightning-cli.sh getinfo

# Lapps (Lightning Network Apps)

Lapps (opens new window) are applications built on top of the Lightning Charge (opens new window), a complimentary package that allows users and developers to easier use and develop on top of c-lightning. If you decided to use c-lightning, you can easily connect your BTCPay to any of the Lapps.

BTCPay exposes all the necessary information required to connect your internal BTCPay c-lightning node to a Lightning Network App. Go to Server Settings > Services > Lightning charge server > See information > Credentials.

Below are videos that showcase how to connect some of the lapps to your BTCPay.