Building Web3 apps can be difficult if you follow the traditional path, starting by connecting to an RPC node. This is especially the case if you decide to set up and run your own node, which is challenging, time-consuming, and you’ll end up using a large amount of computer storage. As such, many developers find this “traditional path” to be impractical, and cumbersome when connecting to Ethereum’s blockchain due to slow sync time. Therefore, many developers instead rely on blockchain node providers. These node providers serve as a bridge to overcome all the above-stated obstacles. Furthermore, we’ll look at if you should even use a blockchain node provider, or a more complete solution like Moralis. As such, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular node providers, and answer “what’s the difference between Moralis, Alchemy, and Infura?”.
However, blockchain node providers presuppose that you still follow the time-consuming path of building around RPC nodes. As such, we’ll also look at whether you should even use a node provider at all – odds are, you’ll be better off using a comprehensive SDK for dApp development such as the Moralis SDK. Read on to find the right fit for you, and find out the difference between node providers such as Alchemy and Infura or simply using Moralis!
What are Blockchain Node Providers?
Since we have many readers new to Web3 development, we feel obligated to cover some basics before tackling the “what’s the difference between Moralis, Alchemy, and Infura?” question. By understanding what blockchain nodes and blockchain node providers are, you’ll be better equipped when selecting a node provider that best suits your needs.
What are Blockchain Nodes?
You may already be familiar with the fact that some blockchain nodes (full nodes) contain a complete copy of a particular distributed ledger, i.e., a blockchain. Furthermore, blockchain nodes serve as communication points, enabling interaction with the actual blockchain. In addition, blockchain nodes offer many functional purposes, including performing tasks such as rejecting or accepting transactions, storing the cryptographically linked blocks, managing transactions and controlling their validity, and much more. Also, blockchain nodes communicate with other nodes and thus learn about the state of the entire network. Due to this interconnection, nodes of the same network are often referred to as ”peers”. As suggested above, you should also keep in mind that there are different types of nodes, such as full nodes, light nodes, and archive nodes.
Knowing what blockchain nodes are, it’s quite easy to understand blockchain node providers. As the word “provider” implies, a blockchain node provider is essentially a service supplying blockchain nodes. While there are several reputable node providers, we will focus on Infura, Alchemy, and Moralis in this article. The key advantage of using a blockchain node provider is that you’re able to skip the necessary process of setting up and managing your own blockchain node. As such, you can save time and resources. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all blockchain node providers offer the same functionalities. Thus, you should ensure you go with a provider that corresponds to your use cases and specific requirements. In fact, it’s likely that you will find you’ll want much more than just a node provider when building your dApp!
What’s the Difference Between Moralis, Alchemy, and Infura for Blockchain Developers?
Now that you know what blockchain node providers are, it’s time to answer “what’s the difference between Moralis, Alchemy, and Infura?”. However, before we can address the key difference between these three projects, it’s fitting to get a brief overview of each of them. Moreover, it’s worth keeping in mind that they all belong to different categories – with Infura and Alchemy mainly being blockchain node providers. Moralis, on the other hand, is a complete blockchain middleware that offers much more functionality beyond mere blockchain nodes. As such, building with Moralis is building according to the next paradigm shift when comparing it to mere node providers.
What is Infura?
Infura is a ConsenSys-owned service provider geared towards offering the necessary tools and infrastructure for Web3 apps development. This includes testing and deployment functionality by offering simple and reliable access to Ethereum and IPFS.
The most important examples of solutions offered by Infura include:
- Providing developers with fast connections to peer-to-peer networks and thus eliminating long initialization times.
- Helping developers avoid the expenses related to storing the full Ethereum blockchain and expanding their infrastructure. That way, it essentially eliminates the need for full-time site reliability engineers and DevOps teams to help developers maintain the infrastructure.
- Providing infrastructure and tools that make it convenient for developers to connect to Ethereum and IPFS. As such, they can start building decentralized applications sooner than later.
Moreover, aside from Ethereum’s mainnet and testnets (Rinkeby, Ropsten, Kovan, Görli), Infura also supports a list of other related tech. These include, e.g., Arbitrum Rollup, Filecoin (beta), Polygon PoS (beta), Eth2 Beacon Chain (beta), and Optimism Ethereum.
What makes Infura attractive to Ethereum developers is the fact that it has a relatively long track record, as they publicly launched back in 2016. Moreover, on Infura’s official website, Infura claims that it offers request response times up to 20x faster than most other services or self-hosted solutions. In addition, they provide 24/7 access to expert support teams.
What is Alchemy?
Alchemy is another reputable blockchain node provider. It launched its full suite of products to the public in 2020. This blockchain development platform is on a mission to provide developers with the fundamental building blocks they need to create the future of technology. Moreover, they pride themselves on offering access to highly scalable, consistent, and reliable nodes. In addition, they offer a suite of developer tools for prototyping, debugging, and testing. Furthermore, their platform comes with the “Monitor” product, which offers comprehensive performance and user insight for improved application health and performance. Nonetheless, Alchemy also includes “Notify”, which enables you to instantly add notifications to your products.
Like Infura, Alchemy supports Ethereum’s mainnet and testnets (Rinkeby, Ropsten, Kovan, Görli). Alchemy also supports Arbitrum Rollup, Optimism Ethereum, and Polygon. On top of those networks, it also offers developers to build on Flow and Crypto.org chains.
Some of the key points that Alchemy stresses to attract Ethereum developers are:
- 99.9% reliability.
- Instant testnet.
- Enhanced APIs.
- 25% faster product development.
- 98% customer satisfaction score (CSAT).
What is Moralis?
Moralis is the ultimate Web3 development platform. It is a fully managed and infinitely scalable backend infrastructure for decentralized applications development. As such, Moralis is far more than just a blockchain node provider. Instead, Moralis belongs to a different paradigm. Additionally, it enables developers to focus on the frontend of their dApps while Moralis handles the heavy backend lifting. This saves developers an immense amount of time and resources, which results in faster deployment of their dApps.
Moralis offers a long list of functionality, including the Moralis Web3 SDK, Moralis Web3 API, and Speedy Node API (Moralis Speedy Nodes). That way, it basically covers everything from A to Z that a dApp developer needs to create phenomenal Web3 applications.
While Infura and Alchemy primarily focus on Ethereum’s mainnet and testnets (although they do support other chains), Moralis was built from the ground up with cross-chain support. As such, it offers complete cross-chain interoperability, which makes it 100% future-proof. At the moment of writing, Moralis already supports four high-profile blockchains: Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Polygon (formerly Matic), and Avalanche. Moreover, Moralis also has support for other reputable chains in the pipeline. This cross-chain interoperability enables you to build a project on one chain and then simply deploy it on other chains without the need to start from scratch.
Furthermore, considering the fact that Moralis came out of beta on June 1st, 2021, with the release of “the Moralis 1.0 Enlightenment Update”, Moralis has seen massive growth and adoption from the community. Currently, there are already more than 5,000 blockchain projects using the software and APIs from Moralis. Furthermore, Moralis is working with several large projects, including Chainlink, 1inch, SuperFarm, Covalent, and Utrust.
What’s the Difference Between Moralis, Alchemy, and Infura? – A Paradigm Shift
It’s entirely up to you to decide and determine which node provider best suits your needs. All three node providers presented in this “What’s the Difference Between Moralis, Alchemy, and Infura?” piece are reputable options. However, Moralis has feedback from the 5,000+ projects that are already using Moralis. As such, it’s clear that Moralis is a part of an entirely new paradigm when it comes to dApp development.
While Infura and Alchemy give you access to RPC nodes, Moralis offers a complete package for building dApps. While building around RPC nodes is still the most common way, it’s not the most optimal one. Building around RPC nodes poses some downsides. This includes the fact that RPC nodes lead to slow iterations and go-to-market timelines. Furthermore, RPC nodes are difficult to test, and leads to bugs and higher failure rates.
On the other hand, using Moralis and building with Moralis’ SDK offers more functionality than merely building around RPC nodes. As such, it offers an extremely optimal way in which modern dApps should be built. Primarily because it ensures that Web3 apps built in that way are easily and quickly deployed.
Moreover, Moralis has a non-existing barrier to entry, as it is currently completely free. While both Infura and Alchemy also offer free accounts, those come with minimal functionalities. On the other hand, Moralis gives free users access to practically all of Moralis’ powerful tools.
What’s the Difference Between Moralis, Alchemy, and Infura? – Beyond Building Around RPC Nodes
Most Web3 developers make the mistake of starting their dApp development by connecting to an RPC node and then building an infrastructure around it. Nevertheless, many devs increasingly view this as an outdated way of building decentralized applications. Why? For starters, RPC nodes are low-level tech with limited database options. Moreover, to truly create something interesting on top of the RPC node, you need to build a lot. This includes building an API, verifying signatures, creating sockets, building a database, etc.
That is a whole lot of work just to get going without creating anything unique that your dApp may be offering. Aside from creating these essential components, you also have to provide, maintain, debug, and scale those aspects continuously. As such, this part takes months of work to build, and will drain a lot of time and resources on a continuous basis. And the craziest part is that basically, all dApps require these same components.
So, your goal is to create something unique and practical for your users, you could end up spending your time on backend infrastructure. That doesn’t make much sense, does it? Moreover, building around an RPC node can be hard. For example, testing any features will be difficult, and you need a long time to get your product to market. On top of this, development might include slow iterations and increased failure rates. As such, you’ll likely agree that dApps should not be built around RPC nodes when speed and flexibility are important.
Moralis – More Than Just a Node Provider
Luckily, there is a package solution that already includes all of the infrastructure built around RPC nodes. Yes, this is the paradigm shift that Moralis introduces. It enables you to fully focus on creating the best possible frontend and a top-quality user experience and just plug in the backend. As such, Moralis is becoming known as the “Firebase of Crypto”.
For example, this simple snippet of code takes care of the user login process:
To see more examples of the power that comes with using Moralis’ SDK, make sure to check out this video, where we cover the Moralis database, getting token balances, sending assets, and much more.
What’s the Difference Between Moralis, Alchemy, and Infura? – Summary
We can’t stress enough that both Alchemy and Infura are reliable blockchain node providers and serve many users well. However, if you are ready to embrace the paradigm shift that will enable you to build dApps without dealing with the tedious backend aspect of Web3 development, Moralis is the right choice for you. Furthermore, Moralis’ SDK provides you with access to an entire infrastructure that all dApps require already built for you. Just create your server, initiate the Moralis SDK, and then paste simple lines of code that Moralis’ documentation provides you with. This is simplicity at its finest. Create your free Moralis account today and join the revolution of simple dApp creation!