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#7. Deploying to a live network

Once you're ready to share your dApp with other people what you may want to do is deploy to a live network. This way others can access an instance that's not running locally on your system.

There's the Ethereum network that deals with real money which is called "mainnet", and then there are other live networks that don't deal with real money but do mimic the real world scenario well, and can be used as a shared staging environment. These are called "testnets" and Ethereum has several, like Goerli and Sepolia. We recommend you deploy your contracts to the Goerli testnet.

At the software level, deploying to a testnet is the same as deploying to mainnet. The only difference is which network you connect to. Let's look into what the code to deploy your contracts using ethers.js would look like.

The main concepts used are Signer, ContractFactory and Contract which we explained back in the testing section. There's nothing new that needs to be done when compared to testing, given that when you're testing your contracts you're actually making a deployment to your development network. This makes the code very similar, or the same.

Let's create a new directory scripts inside the project root's directory, and paste the following into a deploy.js file:

async function main() {
  const [deployer] = await ethers.getSigners();

  console.log("Deploying contracts with the account:", deployer.address);

  console.log("Account balance:", (await deployer.getBalance()).toString());

  const Token = await ethers.getContractFactory("Token");
  const token = await Token.deploy();

  console.log("Token address:", token.address);
}

main()
  .then(() => process.exit(0))
  .catch((error) => {
    console.error(error);
    process.exit(1);
  });

To indicate Hardhat to connect to a specific Ethereum network when running any tasks, you can use the --network parameter. Like this:

npx hardhat run scripts/deploy.js --network <network-name>

In this case, running it without the --network parameter would get the code to run against an embedded instance of Hardhat Network, so the deployment actually gets lost when Hardhat finishes running, but it's still useful to test that our deployment code works:

$ npx hardhat run scripts/deploy.js
Deploying contracts with the account: 0xf39Fd6e51aad88F6F4ce6aB8827279cffFb92266
Account balance: 10000000000000000000000
Token address: 0x5FbDB2315678afecb367f032d93F642f64180aa3

# Deploying to remote networks

To deploy to a remote network such as mainnet or any testnet, you need to add a network entry to your hardhat.config.js file. We’ll use Goerli for this example, but you can add any network similarly:

require("@nomiclabs/hardhat-waffle");

// Go to https://www.alchemyapi.io, sign up, create
// a new App in its dashboard, and replace "KEY" with its key
const ALCHEMY_API_KEY = "KEY";

// Replace this private key with your Goerli account private key
// To export your private key from Metamask, open Metamask and
// go to Account Details > Export Private Key
// Be aware of NEVER putting real Ether into testing accounts
const GOERLI_PRIVATE_KEY = "YOUR GOERLI PRIVATE KEY";

module.exports = {
  solidity: "0.7.3",
  networks: {
    goerli: {
      url: `https://eth-goerli.alchemyapi.io/v2/${ALCHEMY_API_KEY}`,
      accounts: [`${GOERLI_PRIVATE_KEY}`]
    }
  }
};

We're using Alchemy, but pointing url to any Ethereum node or gateway would work. Go grab your ALCHEMY_API_KEY and come back.

To deploy on Goerli you need to send goerli-ETH into the address that's going to be making the deployment. You can get some ETH for testnets from a faucet, a service that distributes testing-ETH for free. Here are some for Goerli:

You'll have to change Metamask's network to Goerli before transacting.

TIP

You can learn more about other testnets and find links to their faucets on the ethereum.org site.

Finally, run:

npx hardhat run scripts/deploy.js --network goerli

If everything went well, you should see the deployed contract address.