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This page will guide you through the 2 steps needed to prepare a computer for Substrate development. Since Substrate is built with the Rust programming language, the first thing you will need to do is prepare the computer for Rust development - these steps will vary based on the computer's operating system. Once Rust is configured, you will use its toolchains to interact with Rust projects; the commands for Rust's toolchains will be the same for all supported, Unix-based operating systems.

1. Build dependencies

Substrate development is easiest on Unix-based operating systems like macOS or Linux. The examples in the Substrate Tutorials and How-to Guides use Unix-style terminals to demonstrate how to interact with Substrate from the command line.


Use a terminal shell to execute the following commands:

sudo apt update
# May prompt for location information
sudo apt install -y git clang curl libssl-dev llvm libudev-dev

Arch Linux

Run these commands from a terminal:

pacman -Syu --needed --noconfirm curl git clang


Run these commands from a terminal:

sudo dnf update
sudo dnf install clang curl git openssl-devel


Run these commands from a terminal:

sudo zypper install clang curl git openssl-devel llvm-devel libudev-devel


Apple M1 ARM

If you have an Apple M1 ARM system on a chip, make sure that you have Apple Rosetta 2 installed through `softwareupdate --install-rosetta`. This is only needed to run the `protoc` tool during the build. The build itself and the target binaries would remain native.

Open the Terminal application and execute the following commands:

# Install Homebrew if necessary
/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

# Make sure Homebrew is up-to-date, install openssl
brew update
brew install openssl



Native development of Substrate is not very well supported! It is highly recommend to use Windows Subsystem Linux (WSL) and follow the instructions for Ubuntu/Debian. Please refer to the separate guide for native Windows development.

2. Rust developer environment

This guide uses installer and the rustup tool to manage the Rust toolchain. First install and configure rustup:

# Install
curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSf | sh
# Configure
source ~/.cargo/env

Configure the Rust toolchain to default to the latest stable version, add nightly and the nightly wasm target:

rustup default stable
rustup update
rustup update nightly
rustup target add wasm32-unknown-unknown --toolchain nightly

Test your set-up

Now the best way to ensure that you have successfully prepared a computer for Substrate development is to follow the steps in our first tutorial.


For more details on why these dependencies are used, and for troubleshooting errors building the template, read on.

Troubleshooting Substrate builds

Sometimes you can't get the Substrate node template to compile out of the box. Here are some tips to help you work through that.

Rust configuration check

To see what Rust toolchain you are presently using, run:

rustup show

This will show something like this (Ubuntu example) output:

Default host: x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu
rustup home:  /home/user/.rustup

installed toolchains

stable-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu (default)

installed targets for active toolchain


active toolchain

stable-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu (default)
rustc 1.50.0 (cb75ad5db 2021-02-10)

As you can see above, the default toolchain is stable, and the nightly-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu toolchain as well as its wasm32-unknown-unknown target is installed. You also see that nightly-2020-10-06-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu is installed, but is not used unless explicitly defined as illustrated in the specify your nightly version section.

WebAssembly compilation

Substrate uses WebAssembly (Wasm) to produce portable blockchain runtimes. You will need to configure your Rust compiler to use nightly builds to allow you to compile Substrate runtime code to the Wasm target.


There are upstream issues in Rust that need to be resolved before all of Substrate can use the stable Rust toolchain. This is our tracking issue if you're curious as to why and how this will be resolved.

Latest nightly for Substrate master

Developers who are building Substrate itself should always use the latest bug-free versions of Rust stable and nightly. This is because the Substrate codebase follows the tip of Rust nightly, which means that changes in Substrate often depend on upstream changes in the Rust nightly compiler. To ensure your Rust compiler is always up to date, you should run:

rustup update
rustup update nightly
rustup target add wasm32-unknown-unknown --toolchain nightly


It may be necessary to occasionally rerun rustup update if a change in the upstream Substrate codebase depends on a new feature of the Rust compiler. When you do this, both your nightly and stable toolchains will be pulled to the most recent release, and for nightly, it is generally not expected to compile WASM without error (although it very often does). Be sure to specify your nightly version if you get WASM build errors from rustup and downgrade nightly as needed.

Rust nightly toolchain

If you want to guarantee that your build works on your computer as you update Rust and other dependencies, you should use a specific Rust nightly version that is known to be compatible with the version of Substrate they are using; this version will vary from project to project and different projects may use different mechanisms to communicate this version to developers. For instance, the Polkadot client specifies this information in its release notes.

# Specify the specific nightly toolchain in the date below:
rustup install nightly-<yyyy-MM-dd>

Wasm toolchain

Now, configure the nightly version to work with the Wasm compilation target:

rustup target add wasm32-unknown-unknown --toolchain nightly-<yyyy-MM-dd>

Specifying nightly version

Use the WASM_BUILD_TOOLCHAIN environment variable to specify the Rust nightly version a Substrate project should use for Wasm compilation:

WASM_BUILD_TOOLCHAIN=nightly-<yyyy-MM-dd> cargo build --release


Note that this only builds the runtime with the specified nightly. The rest of project will be compiled with your default toolchain, i.e. the latest installed stable toolchain.

Downgrading Rust nightly

If your computer is configured to use the latest Rust nightly and you would like to downgrade to a specific nightly version, follow these steps:

rustup uninstall nightly
rustup install nightly-<yyyy-MM-dd>
rustup target add wasm32-unknown-unknown --toolchain nightly-<yyyy-MM-dd>
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