How To Increase Lightning Network Node Capacity

Wondering how to increase your Lightning Network Node's overall capacity? This guide offers a number of getting started ideas.

How To Increase Lightning Network Node Capacity
Photo by Conny Schneider on Unsplash

If you are reading this article, chances are you have already setup a Lightning Node, and perhaps some initial channels.

(What is the Lightning Network?  What Problems Does it Solve?)

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Channels and Capacity

Channels have the concept of capacity and serve as an upper bound on the throughput of payment between two nodes.

Lightning liquidity
A primer on lightning network liquidity

Two nodes with a 1 bitcoin channel could theoretically pay each other back and forth an unlimited amount over time (payment volume).  But each transaction would be a maximum amount (assuming the correct balance) of 1 bitcoin, as this is the total capacity of the channel.

For a payment to be sent or received, liquidity (bitcoin) must be on the proper ‘side’ of a channel.

Outbound Capacity represents bitcoin that is local to you.  You can send this bitcoin through any of your channels to another peer, merchant, user, etc.

Inbound Capacity represents bitcoin that is local to one of your channel partners.  You can receive this bitcoin in payment from peers.

Balancing channels so you are able to send payment, receive payment, and forward other payments when you need to is a combination of art and science, and there are so many great resources, guides, and active developments on this front.

Overview - Builder’s Guide
Learn how the Lightning Network functions. Get comfortable with its topology, channels, invoices and routing.
Dr. Carsten Otto

In many cases, it is harder to get ‘inbound’ capacity than outbound capacity, as you must take additional actions to get channels opened to you.

Options for Increasing Node Capacity

1) Open a New Channel to a Peer

This is the easiest way to get started.  Select a peer, open a channel, and your outbound capacity will increase by the amount of the channel.

2) Participate in a Liquidity Swap

Lightning Network+ offers a marketplace to open channels with peers.  This has multiple benefits - in exchange for opening a channel with a peer, you receive an inbound channel in the process.  This helps decentralize the network, adds payment routes, and for purposes of increasing your total capacity - it offers 2x the amount of capacity (your channel open amount + the channel amount you receive).  This is the best multiple for increasing overall capacity.

Swaps Index • LightningNetwork+
Bitcoin Lightning Network Liquidity Swap Organizer

3) Purchase Inbound Liquidity

You can pay to receive inbound liquidity, and several liquidity marketplaces and node operators offer an opportunity to purchase inbound channels (and their capacity):

Lightning Pool

Building faster, cheaper, global layer-two bitcoin

Amboss Magma

Amboss Space - Lightning Network Explorer and Analytics Tools
Lightning Network Explorer and Analytics Tools. Search for nodes and channels on the Lightning Network and get detailed information on them.

Voltage Flow

Introducing Flow: Effortlessly Create Lightning Channels - Voltage
Easy Lightning Liquidity. Flow is making it possible for everyone to effortlessly create Lightning channels. Learn how leverage Flow to get channels for yourself or others.


LNBIG - The Network of LND Servers With Greater Liquidity


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Zero Fee Routing

zero fee routing
One of the best connected nodes, providing free payments for the Bitcoin lightning network. Will open a channel to you!

Find peers and join a group on Amboss, promote your node and participate in swaps on LN+, and share experiences and insight on Stacker News.  Verify your node and customize your profile and contact info on Exponential Layers, browse your peers on the monthly leaderboard, and promote your node.

stacker news
It’s like Hacker News but we pay you Bitcoin.

And make sure to join the September monthly contest - 1 Million Sats in rewards for Node Operators who can increase their capacity the most during the month of September.