A full node is a type of node that participates in a blockchain network, performing some function for the network, like securing the network or validating transaction data.

Different types of nodes exist, performing slightly different functions or similar functions, but in a slightly more or less capacity.

The different node types include full nodes, light nodes, and miner nodes.

While light nodes store only parts of the blockchain, a full node stores a complete copy of the blockchain data.  Information about every block and the recorded transactions within each block is available in the full copy of the blockchain.

As full nodes store the entire blockchain database, every blockchain network has at least one full node operating on the network.

It isn’t necessary that every node in a network be a full node.

Light nodes, for instance, only store a part of the blockchain.  This helps make light nodes more efficient in processing transactions on a daily basis.

Light nodes only access relevant blocks necessary for processing at that specific time, so they don’t need a full copy of the blockchain.

They can however still request complete copies of blocks if needed during their processing tasks.

Full nodes exist in other variations as well.  They include the following types:

  • Master Nodes
  • Mining Nodes
  • Archival Nodes
  • Staking Nodes
  • Authority Nodes
  • Pruned Nodes

Each node type performs a different integral function for the blockchain.

With public, permissionless blockchains becoming more popular, it’s very easy to set up your own node and get involved in a blockchain of your choice.