Getting Started with EOS on Cleos (Without Running a Full Node)

EOS is one of the fastest growing blockchain around. Being one of the newer distributed ledger technology out there, it’s tutorials and guides are still pretty much WIP. After spending many hours fiddling with the code base and figuring out how to connect to test net and main net (instead of just running my own node), I figured a method that is simple but was not documented.

In this post I will not be repeating stuffs on the official documentations, you are expected to have briefly glanced it. Instead I will show how I connect to the main net (and test net) without running a full node (nodeos) on my computer using the official docker image.


  • Docker

To run the examples below, you will need to have docker installed on your machine.


We will first pull the latest docker image at with the following command:

docker pull eosio/eos


The official tutorial will ask you to run the nodeos command for docker. That is not what we want here. Instead we only want to run keosd to manage our wallet. We will also use cleos to interact with both the wallet (keosd) and the blockchain (remote nodeos). To do so, run the following command to start only keosd

docker run --name keosd -d -p 8888:8888 -t eosio/eos /bin/bash -c keosd --config-dir /

This will start the keosd service with the default config at in the container’s root directory.


We will only be interacting with the cleos command line interface (cli) from the host machine though docker exec. To simplify the operation, we will want to add aliases to the host machine to avoid typing long docker commands. Also, I want to have two separate commands for cleos, with one which connects to the nodeos and ones that doesn’t. The reason for such is that you do not want to accidentally expose private keys to the remote nodeos (ran by block producers). To add in the aliases for testnet (cryptolions), run:

alias cleos='docker exec keosd /opt/eosio/bin/cleos'
alias cleoso='docker exec keosd /opt/eosio/bin/cleos --url='

If you want to connect to the main net instead, run:

alias cleos='docker exec keosd /opt/eosio/bin/cleos'
alias cleoso='docker exec keosd /opt/eosio/bin/cleos --url='

As you can see here, we are connecting to EOS New York for the api service. You may choose any node providing their API endpoints to connect to. Below is a list of some of the available endpoints:

Alternatively, just look up


You are now all set up! Remember that you have two commands for managing cleos, one that actually connects to the blockchain and one that will limit your traffic to your local machine.

You can confirm that you are connected to the main net by running:

cleoso get info

If you see something like what I’ve got below, you are connected:

  "server_version": "36a043c5",
  "chain_id": "aca376f206b8fc25a6ed44dbdc66547c36c6c33e3a119ffbeaef943642f0e906",
  "head_block_num": 4438476,
  "last_irreversible_block_num": 4438145,
  "last_irreversible_block_id": "0043b8812658c46aa7322ab30bdd180db0512f600ca64ece3960030a2996b3f3",
  "head_block_id": "0043b9ccbfcfd640fcdd1b789aa1832056b6c9954283db72b216ad3c881b2fe6",
  "head_block_time": "2018-07-06T08:59:27.000",
  "head_block_producer": "eos42freedom",
  "virtual_block_cpu_limit": 200000000,
  "virtual_block_net_limit": 1048576000,
  "block_cpu_limit": 199900,
  "block_net_limit": 1048576

To check that you are connected to the main chain, make sure your chain_id matches the one above.


Some of the commands I find useful for cleos are found below.

Look up account name from public key:

cleoso get accounts EOS6h97ffug6MCArsS3YSTDND9wt55MB9g3A4fJJETrfEGpasSRek
  "account_names": [

Look up account info:

cleoso get account g44dsnrqhege
     owner     1:    1 EOS6h97ffug6MCArsS3YSTDND9wt55MB9g3A4fJJETrfEGpasSRek
        active     1:    1 EOS6h97ffug6MCArsS3YSTDND9wt55MB9g3A4fJJETrfEGpasSRek
     quota:     208.1 KiB    used:     4.311 KiB  

net bandwidth: 
     staked:          0.4999 EOS           (total stake delegated from account to self)
     delegated:       0.0000 EOS           (total staked delegated to account from others)
     used:             2.099 KiB  
     available:        261.8 KiB  
     limit:            263.9 KiB  

cpu bandwidth:
     staked:          3.0000 EOS           (total stake delegated from account to self)
     delegated:       0.0000 EOS           (total staked delegated to account from others)
     used:             66.15 ms   
     available:        243.1 ms   
     limit:            309.3 ms   

unstaking tokens:
     time of unstake request:  2018-07-03T11:58:54 (funds will be available in 2.818 hr)
     from net bandwidth:              2.0000 EOS
     from cpu bandwidth:              0.0000 EOS
     total:                           2.0000 EOS

EOS balances: 
     liquid:          545.5255 EOS
     staked:            3.4999 EOS
     unstaking:         2.0000 EOS
     total:           551.0254 EOS

     argentinaeos    bitfinexeos1    cryptolions1    
     cypherglasss    eos42freedom    eosamsterdam    
     eosasia11111    eosauthority    eosbeijingbp    
     eoscafeblock    eoscanadacom    eoscannonchn    
     eosdacserver    eoseouldotio    eosflytomars    
     eosgenblockp    eoshuobipool    eosiomeetone    
     eosisgravity    eosliquideos    eosnewyorkio    
     eosnodeonebp    eosriobrazil    eosstorebest    
     eosswedenorg    eosyskoreabp    helloeoscnbp    
     jedaaaaaaaaa    libertyblock    teamgreymass    

Check ram info:

cleoso get table eosio eosio rammarket
  "rows": [{
      "supply": "10000000000.0000 RAMCORE",
      "base": {
        "balance": "12003331657 RAM",
        "weight": "0.50000000000000000"
      "quote": {
        "balance": "5725103.6963 EOS",
        "weight": "0.50000000000000000"
  "more": false

Buy ram:

cleoso system buyram g44dsnrqhege g44dsnrqhege "10 EOS"

Alright, that’s all for this guide! Hope you enjoy playing around with the CLI.