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There seems to be two different validator binaries: solana-validator in validator/src/main.rs, and solana-test-validator in validator/src/bin/solana-test-validator.rs. What are the main differences between the two?

Naively I would have assumed that the test validator would simply be the regular validator with different flags passed in as default, but it seems like the two differ quite substantially in implementation and flags.

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solana-validator is what you would normally run for a node on any of the public clusters like mainnet/testnet etc. It has full functionality built into it.

On the other hand, solana-test-validator is used for running a local instance of validator on localhost for local development and testing. It is very lightweight comparatively and has minimal functionality built into it.

Hopes this answers your question?

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  • Right I'm aware that solana-test-validator is for testing, but I'm wondering if there's a high-level summary of the actual feature differences between the two, and what the motivation was for having two binaries instead of using a single binary and having solana-test-validator simply call the full binary.
    – Kevin Ji
    Jan 25, 2023 at 22:26

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