Infura is arguably the most well-known blockchain node provider for Web3 development. Nevertheless, despite Infura being a hugely helpful tool, many blockchain developers find they want a blockchain node provider with greater support for cross-chain. So, what can you use instead of Infura when you are building a dApp and choosing your node provider? To answer this, we’ve compiled a list of the top Infura alternatives and blockchain node providers.
When you choose your node provider, you need to go with a node provider with a long-term plan that closely correlates with your long-term plan. If you need a lot of cross-chain support, you need to choose a node provider that gives you that. In this article, we present the top Infura alternatives, such as Moralis, which gives you all the functionality of Infura plus cross-chain support. Although we objectively believe that our own Speedy Node functionality is the best blockchain node provider service on the market, we will compare the different Infura alternatives as objectively and unbiased as possible.
When you do your research regarding node providers, you should make sure to try many different ones. Perhaps you’ll find that Infura is the best option for you, or perhaps you’ll find you prefer another. No matter what, this article clearly outlines the top blockchain node providers and Infura alternatives. Read on to find what blockchain node provider you prefer!
What is Infura?
Infura is a ConsenSys-owned service providing the necessary tools and infrastructure for taking Web3 apps from testing to deployment. Web3 apps is an umbrella term encompassing what’s sometimes referred to as ”blockchain applications”, or ”decentralized applications” (dApps). As this article will explain in greater detail, building Web3 apps is generally difficult. To name a few hurdles, it’s cumbersome to connect to the Ethereum blockchain, and it can be slow to sync. Moreover, storing data on Ethereum can be an expensive affair, and the Ethereum blockchain uses a lot of space.
This is where Infura comes in. With the use of services like Infura Ethereum development suddenly becomes more manageable. In general, Infura and services like Infura can be seen as providing three main benefits to developers:
- Speed – Services like Infura make access to blockchains like Ethereum far quicker. It can otherwise take days just to sync a node with the Ethereum blockchain and use more bandwidth than expected.
- Scalability – Developers do not need to worry about infrastructure-related scalability issues, when blockchain node providers like Infura handle this. If you instead handle your infrastructure on your own, you’ll likely come to need dedicated full-time DevOps teams and reliability engineers as your service grows.
- Storage – Services like Infura can make data storage more efficient. Rather than storing all data on-chain, it can be stored separately by just storing a hash on the blockchain. Furthermore, storing the full Ethereum blockchain yourself can get prohibitively expensive.
As such, it is clear to see that services like Infura hold a certain allure to Web3 developers. It is with services like Infura Ethereum and Web3 development, in general,l becomes more manageable. However, Infura itself is not ideal for all developers. Specifically, Infura comes with some limitations in relation to cross-chain functionality.
Why Would You Need Infura Alternatives?
As blockchain development becomes increasingly blockchain agnostic, it’s clear that node providers need to be cross-chain. Despite being one of the most well-known node providers, Infura has yet to integrate cross-chain support. Many developers, therefore, find they need an alternative to Infura. To be clear, Infura is an extremely capable node provider for many use-cases and has a long track record. All of this is, naturally, comforting for you when you are seeking to choose a node provider. Nevertheless, Infura lacks some of the core functionality that is expected of a modern blockchain node provider. As such, there are many questions you should ask yourself before using Infura, or if you’ll be better off with some of the Infura alternatives out there.
The main drawback of Infura is Its lack of cross-chain support. This means Infura is suboptimal for those developing on anything else than Ethereum. In fact, even those developers who begin by developing an Ethereum-based dApp, but who would like to have the option to support more blockchains in the future should think twice about using Infura. The short answer, to why you would need Infura alternatives, is to get native cross-chain support.
You need to sign up for a service like Moralis if you want a cross-chain compatible blockchain node provider
While only Infura themselves can answer why e.g. cross-chain functionality is still lacking, it can be due to a number of different reasons. For example, Infura is owned by Consensus, which is an Ethereum-based company focusing on Ethereum. Nevertheless, user-focused blockchain developers do not want to limit themselves to a single blockchain. Instead, they want to gain the greatest possible user adoption. Consequently, they will many times need to look for Infura alternatives to achieve this.
What are Blockchain Node Providers?
If you are new to Web3 development or want to understand the Infura alternatives better, we should provide some backstory. To better understand the need for Infura alternatives, we first need to answer the question ”what are blockchain node providers?”. You will likely already know that blockchain nodes are an integral part of any blockchain.
Essentially, blockchain nodes can be understood as containing a complete copy of a distributed ledger, i.e., a blockchain. Blockchain nodes act as communication points, where the interaction with the actual blockchain ”happens”. What’s more, blockchain nodes serve a wide variety of practical purposes. To name a few of the roles that blockchain nodes can play in the blockchain, they perform tasks like rejecting or accepting transactions. Additionally, they can store the blocks, which are cryptographically linked, and manage transactions and control their validity. Blockchain nodes also talk to other nodes to learn about the state of the network. These nodes that connect to each other are generally referred to as ”peers”. You might also be interested to know that there are different types of nodes, e.g., full nodes, light nodes, and archive nodes.
When we know what blockchain nodes are, it gets easier to understand the nature of a blockchain node provider. As the name implies, a blockchain node provider is a service that provides blockchain nodes, like Infura. If you use a blockchain node provider, you do not need to set up and manage your own blockchain node. This can be very advantageous if you want to save time and resources. Nevertheless, not all blockchain node providers are created equal. Some provide functionality more geared towards your unique use cases and requirements.
Infura Alternatives and Blockchain Node Providers
In order to help you do your own research regarding what blockchain node provider is best for you, we’ve broken down some of the top alternatives. You need to think about the overall philosophy of your node provider. Is their vision aligned with your long-term vision? If you believe the future is cross-chain, you’ll want to choose a blockchain node provider that reflects this.
The top Infura alternative, in our mind, is Moralis. Moralis is a fully managed, infinitely scalable Web3 backend infrastructure. This means that dApp and Web3 app developers do not need to worry about the hassle traditionally associated with Web3 development. They do not need to waste time, money and resources setting up their own blockchain backend infrastructure, and they can get right to work. As such, developers can focus on what they do best – creating great dApps.
Moralis comes with all the bells and whistles you know from Infura. This includes IPFS support, and Moralis is an excellent blockchain node provider alternative. However, whereas Infura is largely limited to the Ethereum mainnet and testnet, Moralis is built from the ground up for cross-chain support. At the moment of writing, Moralis already support the three high-profile blockchains Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, and Polygon (formerly Matic). Nevertheless, Moralis has got support for many more blockchains in the pipeline and will keep striving to introduce untold more.
Moralis came out of beta on June 1st, 2021, with the release of the Moralis 1.0 ”Enlightenment” Update. This first production release of Moralis contained features like Moralis’ Speedy Nodes and the Moralis Deep Index API. Moralis’ Speedy Nodes allows you to easily connect to nodes without any of the traditionally associated issues. As such, make sure to try Moralis’ Speedy Nodes functionality. This will give you access not only to Ethereum Endpoints but also Binance Smart Chain and Polygon (formerly Matic).
Another Infura alternative is that of QuickNode, sometimes stylized as QuikNode. QuickNode seeks to help various blockchain ecosystems grow in a scalable manner. A key part of achieving this is node providers. As such, QuickNode provides developers with Web3 development tools and is an exciting alternative to Infura.
QuickNode also has support for more chains than merely Infura, which can be a big advantage. Be sure to do your own research and find out whether QuickNode is right for you. The main drawback with QuickNode is that there is no free alternative, although the cheapest plan gives you the first seven days for free as of June 2021.
Our third Infura alternative is GetBlock. Specifically, GetBlock is a blockchain-as-a-service platform that serves as a blockchain node provider. GetBlock lets you request on-chain information from certain nodes (including Ethereum, BSC, and more) with REST, WebSockets, and JSON-RPC, without needing to manually set up the node itself.
Unlike QuickNode, GetBlock does provide a free tier of its service, up to 40,000 requests per day. This means that GetBlock’s pricing caters to a wide range of different clients. You can take a closer look at GetBlock’s documentation to decide whether it is something for you or not.
Why Cross-Chain Compatibility Matters
It is clear that cross-chain compatibility – or cross-chain interoperability – is becoming hugely important. As the blockchain industry matures, we see that a number of different alternatives are emerging rather than a single solution. This freedom of choice makes a lot of sense, and healthy competition drives innovation. However, it is not in anyone’s interest to see the blockchain sector become fragmented or for blockchain industry infighting. This is why blockchain interoperability, or cross-chain compatibility, is desperately needed. As stated before, Infura is somewhat limited in its use-cases when you need cross-chain compatibility. Infura is wholly owned by ConsenSys since 2019, which is an Ethereum-centric software company. ConsenSys has a product suite that spans beyond merely Infura, with Truffle, Quorum, MetaMask, Diligence, and Codefi. Infura works great for the Ethereum-side of things, but developers who are interested in other chains will, therefore, need to look for an alternative.
Summary of Infura Alternatives and Blockchain Node Providers
In conclusion, it is clear that some blockchain developers are in need of Infura alternatives. Specifically, it is understandable when choosing your blockchain node provider if you want support for more chains than merely Ethereum. Cross-chain compatibility is important. This is more clear in 2021 than it has ever been before and will grow even more obvious in the years to come.
Luckily, there are many Infura alternatives out there. We highly recommend that you check out Moralis and Moralis’ Speedy Nodes functionality for all your node needs. These already let you connect to Ethereum nodes, connect to BSC nodes, and connect to Polygon nodes – with support for more chains on the way.
Granted, Infura is arguably still the most well-known blockchain node provider. Other Ethereum-focused ConsenSys services, like MetaMask, use Infura without any issues. However, if you are building a new dApp or Web3 app, you’ll likely want to have cross-chain capabilities.
Check out this video by our YouTube channel if you want more information on Moralis, Speedy Nodes, and Infura alternatives.