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How to Set Up and Use the Start9 Embassy Personal Server

How to Set Up and Use the Start9 Embassy Personal Server

Jan 6, 2024

How to Set Up and Use the Start9 Embassy Personal Server


The Start9 Embassy is a personal server that allows individuals to reclaim privacy, data, and monetary sovereignty by running their own Bitcoin software stack. This guide will walk you through setting up, building, and using the Start9 Embassy from start to finish.


  • Choosing Your Hardware
  • Software Installation
  • Assembly of the Embassy
  • Configuration and Node Setup
  • Connecting a Bitcoin Wallet
  • Setting Up and Using Lightning Network
  • Accessing Additional Applications
  • Backing Up and Restoring Data
  • Troubleshooting

Choosing Your Hardware

You can either purchase hardware directly from Start9 or build your own using a Raspberry Pi and peripherals. Start9 offers a DIY guide on their website for those interested in self-assembly. The pre-built options come in two main varieties:

  • Embassy One: A Raspberry Pi with an 8GB RAM and options for 1-2TB drives.
  • Embassy Pro: A more powerful server with an Intel Core i7, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 2TB hard drive.

Software Installation

  1. Download and install Balena Etcher on your computer.
  2. Visit Start9 Labs' GitHub page and download the latest release of EmbassyOS.
  3. Use Balena Etcher to flash the .img file onto a micro SD card.
  4. Eject the SD card once the flashing process is complete.

Assembly of the Embassy

  1. Open the Embassy kit and identify all components.
  2. Replace the default fan with the included Noctua fan by screwing it onto the bracket.
  3. Connect the fan to the Raspberry Pi using jumper wires.
  4. Secure the hard drive to the board with the provided screws.
  5. Attach spacers and assemble the board with the Raspberry Pi.
  6. Connect the fan, USB ports, and other components as guided in the instruction manual.
  7. Insert the micro SD card into the Raspberry Pi slot.
  8. Close the enclosure and apply the rubber feet to the bottom.
  9. Connect the USB connector from the hard drive to the Raspberry Pi.
  10. Connect an Ethernet cable and the power supply to the Embassy.
  11. Turn on the Embassy to begin the setup.

Configuration and Node Setup

  1. Access the Embassy interface by navigating to embassy.local in your web browser.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to select a storage drive and set a password for your Embassy.
  3. Download and configure essential services from the marketplace, including Bitcoin Core, Electrum Server, Bitcoin Proxy, and Lightning Network applications.

Connecting a Bitcoin Wallet

  1. Open your preferred Bitcoin wallet (e.g., Sparrow, BlueWallet, or Blockstream Green).
  2. Navigate to the wallet's settings to connect to your own node.
  3. Enter the URL and port number provided by the Embassy's Electrum Server or Bitcoin Core service.
  4. Test the connection and confirm that your wallet is now using your personal node for transactions.

Setting Up and Using Lightning Network

  1. Open the Ride the Lightning application to manage your Lightning node.
  2. Add peers and open channels with other Lightning nodes to enable outbound transactions.
  3. Receive channels from other nodes or services like Blocktank to enable inbound transactions.
  4. Use the Spark Wallet for a simplified Lightning transaction interface.
  5. Optionally, use mobile apps like Zeus or Spark Lightning Wallet to connect to your node remotely.

Accessing Additional Applications

  1. Explore the marketplace to find additional applications like Mempool.
  2. Install Mempool to gain insight into the Bitcoin network's transaction fees and block data.
  3. Use the Mempool application to look up transaction details without compromising privacy.

Backing Up and Restoring Data

  1. Navigate to the Embassy's backup section.
  2. Create a new backup and choose a location on a connected drive or folder.
  3. Encrypt the backup with your Embassy password.
  4. To restore, navigate to the restore section and select the backup file.
  5. Enter your encryption password to restore the selected services.


  1. Check the logs of the troubled application for errors.
  2. Try restarting the application through the Embassy interface.
  3. If issues persist, consult the Start9 support documentation or reach out to their customer support.
  4. Remember to regularly back up your Embassy to prevent data loss.

By following this guide, you can set up and use the Start9 Embassy to take full control of your Bitcoin infrastructure, ensuring privacy, security, and sovereignty over your digital assets.


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