What is the Hedera mirror network?

The Hedera Mirror Network is a parallel network dedicated to propagating the state and transaction history of the Hedera Main Network.

After reading this, you'll understand:

  • Why the Hedera network uses mirror nodes
  • The differences between consensus nodes and mirror nodes
  • How to get started using mirror nodes on the Hedera mainnet or testnet

After reading this, you'll understand:

  • Why the Hedera network uses mirror nodes
  • The differences between consensus nodes and mirror nodes
  • How to get started using mirror nodes on the Hedera mainnet or testnet

What is the Hedera mirror network?

The Hedera Mirror Network is a parallel network dedicated to propagating the state and transaction history of the Hedera Main Network. The Hedera mirror network consists of nodes which, like the main network nodes, maintain the consensus state but also, optionally, some portion of the historical transactions. Mirror nodes provide value-added services such as providing audit support, access to historical data, transaction analytics, and more.

Mirror nodes explained

Hedera mirror network nodes provide an efficient way to get the state of the ledger out to many more users and applications, in a short period of time, without having a major impact on the performance of consensus nodes.

Hedera offers a REST API to easily query a mirror node that is hosted by Hedera, removing the complexity of having to run your own. This is actively being tested by a limited group of partners and will be expanded soon.

Additionally, application developers might choose to host their own mirror node. The history of the state of the ledger, maintained on a mirror node, is configurable by the application developer. A developer may choose to maintain every state change and offer access to this data as a service for other developers; Mirror node hosts are free to develop additional APIs for providing new kinds of services that they create. Or the developer might have a single smart contract deployed for a specific use case, and choose to host a mirror node that only maintains a history of events from that smart contract.

Hedera mirror nodes vs consensus nodes

The Hedera mirror network is a set of nodes that maintain all of the same requirements and most of the functionality of the main Hedera network consensus nodes. The primary differences in functionality is that mirror nodes:

  1. May persist transaction history.
  2. Should be thought of as “read-only” nodes; transactions cannot be submitted to a mirror node via the Hedera API.


Mirror nodes will gossip, calculate consensus, timestamp and order, verify signatures and maintain state, but because they are unable to create events, mirror nodes have no effect on the hashgraph structure. Therefore, they have no ability to submit transactions for consensus and they do not have voting power.

Consensus Nodes

Both

Mirror Nodes

Can submit HAPI (Hedera API) transactions to the Hedera network

Gossips transactions throughout the network

Maintain the state and optionally some or all of the history of transactions

Influences consensus on transactions

Calculates and maintains consensus state

Value-added services (managed read-only node, etc.)

Create events in the hashgraph

Calculates & returns state proofs (coming soon)

Enables analytical insight into an application’s state / transactions

Requires HBAR cryptocurrency payment for transactions & queries

Accepts HAPI (Hedera API) queries

Publish and subscribe capabilities

Learn more and get started

To learn more about Hedera’s mirror network, check out the Github repository: https://github.com/hashgraph/hedera-mirror-node and the official mirror node documentation: https://docs.hedera.com/guides/docs/mirror-node-api

For access to external mirror node APIs, supported by Hedera and the community, please visit: https://www.hedera.com/explorers/