Using Non-Local Networks

In addition to using ganache-cli as a local development environment, Brownie can connect to non-local networks (i.e. any testnet/mainnet node that supports JSON RPC).


Before you go any further, consider that connecting to non-local networks can potentially expose your private keys if you aren’t careful:

  • When interacting with the mainnet, make sure you verify all of the details of any transactions before signing or sending. Brownie cannot protect you from sending ETH to the wrong address, sending too much, etc.
  • Always protect your private keys. Don’t leave them lying around unencrypted!

Personal Node vs Hosted Node

In order to interact with a non-local network you must connect to a node. You can either run your own node, or connect to a hosted node.

Running your Own Node

Clients such as Geth or Parity can be used to run your own Ethereum node, that Brownie can then connect to. Having your node gives you complete control over which RPC endpoints are available and ensures you have a private and dedicated connection to the network. Unfortunately, keeping a node operating and synced can be a challenging task.

If you wish to learn more about running a node, provides a list of resources that you can use to get started.

Using a Hosted Node

Services such as Infura provide public access to Ethereum nodes. This is a much simpler option than running your own, but it is not without limitations:

  1. Some RPC endpoints may be unavailable. In particular, Infura does not provide access to the debug_traceTransaction method. For this reason, Brownie’s debugging tools will not work when connected via Infura.
  2. Hosted nodes do not provide access to accounts - this would be a major security hazard! You will have to manually unlock your own local account before you can make a transaction.

Using Infura

Before you can onnect to Infura you need to register for an account. After you have signed up, login and create a new project. You will be provided with a project ID, as well as API URLs that can be leveraged to access the network.

To connect to Infura using Brownie, store your project ID as an environment variable named WEB3_INFURA_PROJECT_ID. You can do so with the following command:

$ export WEB3_INFURA_PROJECT_ID=YourProjectID

Network Configuration

Defining Non-Local Networks

The connection settings for non-local networks must be defined in brownie-config.yaml.

First, for each network you want to configure, create a new section in the network.networks section as below:


If using Infura, you can provide your project ID key as an environment variable or by modifying the hosts setting in the configuration file.

The environment variable is set to WEB3_INFURA_PROJECT_ID in the default configuration file. Use the following command to set the environment variable:

$ export WEB3_INFURA_PROJECT_ID=YourProjectID

Setting the Default Network

To modify the default network that Brownie connects to, update the network.default field as shown below:

    default: ropsten

Launching and Connecting to Networks

Using the CLI

By default, Brownie will connect to whichever network is set as “default” in brownie-config.yaml. To connect to a different network, use the --network flag:

$ brownie --network ropsten


The module conains methods that allow you to connect or disconnect from any network defined within the configuration file.

To connect to a network:

>>> network.connect('ropsten')
>>> network.is_connected()
>>> network.show_active()

To disconnect:

>>> network.disconnect()
>>> network.is_connected()