I followed this guide to create an account and get the balance. I am also running this docker instance.

I am confused (and impressed) that I don't have to start a node (e.g. the docker instance) or anything similar to get the balance, is a Stellar node that lightweight that it is just started and stopped in the background for every request? Or is this using some publicly accessible servers which run a full node?

Why and how would you use docker then? only if you want to do everything using REST only or if there is no SDK for the language?

2 Answers 2


The Stellar Development Foundation runs a public version of Horizon, which is what the sdk uses when you call horizon = horizon_testnet().

You do not actually need to run horizon or stellar-core yourself to develop, since you can likely do it all through the public testnet horizon.

However, when you go to production it is recommended that you run your own core and horizon servers, since the public ones provided by the SDF have no uptime guarantees, and also have rate-limiting per IP address.

  • Thanks, do you by chance know how I would use my own docker node? I tried: horizon = Horizon(horizon_uri="http://localhost:8000") and horizon = Horizon(horizon_uri="http://localhost") It works when I use the official url and using the browser I see the same result on localhost:8000 and the hosted one so should be running fine: horizon = Horizon(horizon_uri="https://horizon-testnet.stellar.org")
    – solaire
    Oct 11, 2018 at 13:34
  • Seems like that should work -- what errors do you see?
    – Paul
    Oct 11, 2018 at 19:29
  • There errors are like this pastebin.com/7UbnkTti . maybe it is a problem with the docker node.
    – solaire
    Oct 11, 2018 at 21:25
  • Looks like the first one worked, it just returned an error saying the account doesn’t exist in your network. If you are using the stellar quick start image I believe it creates a new standalone network that isn’t part of testnet.
    – Paul
    Oct 11, 2018 at 23:43
  • I did try it again to make sure its running on testnet but same thing.
    – solaire
    Oct 13, 2018 at 12:09

I believe there is a confusion about whether to run your own node or not, below information might help:

Why run a node?

Benefits of running a node

You get to run your own Horizon instance:

  1. Allows for customizations (triggers, etc) of the business logic or APIs
  2. Full control of which data to retain (historical or online)
  3. A trusted entry point to the network: Trusted end to end (can implement additional counter measures to secure services); Open Horizon increases customer trust by allowing to query at the source (ie: larger token issuers have an official endpoint that can be queried)
  4. Control of SLA
  • Thanks for this information. Especially the third point is interesting for my project. I would not be a dealbreaker if I had to use the SDF server, but would a nice advantage so I wanted to give it a try.
    – solaire
    Oct 13, 2018 at 12:16

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