Infura Explained – What is Infura?

Ivan On Tech

Written by Ivan on Tech

June 16, 2021

Infura is a Web3 backend and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider that offers a range of services and tools for blockchain developers. This includes the Infura API (Application Programming Interface) suite. The flagship Infura Ethereum API is at the heart of the Infura Web3 service. However, connectivity with both the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) and Filecoin are in the pipeline. That being said, some Infura alternatives currently offer broader cross-chain connectivity. Despite Ethereum being the number-one programmable blockchain for launching decentralized applications (dApps), many blockchain developers are now looking elsewhere for Infura alternatives. This coincides with the rise in popularity of Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and Polygon Network (previously Matic Network).

In this article, we’re going to look closer at the Infura blockchain development suite. Plus, we’ll explore the roles of blockchain nodes and the Infura Ethereum API. Also, we’ll discuss Infura alternatives and how you can connect to Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain (BSC), and Polygon/Matic nodes! 

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What is Infura?

Brought to you by the well-known blockchain software company ConsenSys, Infura is a blockchain development suite that provides application programming interfaces (APIs) and developer tools. Moreover, Infura provides fast and reliable access to the Ethereum network to enable developers to build sophisticated next-generation software and Web3 applications that scale to meet user demand.

Blog Infura logo

Furthermore, as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas) and Web3 backend infrastructure provider, Infura offers top-of-the-range documentation and resources to help developers build decentralized applications (dApps) quickly. This is achieved by reducing the time spent building infrastructure from scratch. Infura offers enterprise-ready infrastructure using a distributed cloud-hosted network of nodes. This removes much of the friction associated with the development and ownership of proprietary computing and storage facilities. 

Infura aims to create an ideal environment for developers and enterprises looking to create exciting blockchain-based products and Web3 applications with a low barrier to entry. In turn, this is enabling developers to build innovative products and services that harness the power of the Ethereum blockchain to be used sector-wide.

Are you interested in learning more about the code base of Ethereum and how to program money using smart contracts? Then see our Ethereum Smart Contract Programming 101 course! This course is a great primer to put you in good stead to learn how to program your own decentralized applications (dApps). Then, if you want to take it to the next level, check out our Ethereum Smart contract Programming 201 to build your own decentralized exchange (DEX)! Following this, our Ethereum Smart Contract Security course shows students the best way to minimize risks and vulnerabilities within their code. Alternatively, you can learn how to build your own dApps end-to-end with our Ethereum dApp Programming course!

Blockchain Node Providers

Blockchain nodes are a crucial element of any blockchain. Every node holds a copy of a distributed ledger, such as a blockchain. Every interaction with said blockchain requires a node to communicate and accept or reject transactions. Also, nodes can manage transactions and store blocks of transactions that are cryptographically linked. Plus, nodes can validate transactions and speak to other nodes about the state of the network. Furthermore, nodes are often referred to as “peers” and each holds the same complete copy of a blockchain’s ledger.

There are several different types of nodes, such as full nodes, light nodes, archive nodes, mining nodes, and worker nodes. Depending on the requirements of a blockchain, each type of node will play different roles in order to secure the network. This generally involves processing transactions and requests.

Blog Different Types of Nodes

A blockchain node provider uses Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) to save time and provide nodes to developers. This removes the need to set up and oversee the management of your own node. This is particularly useful for developers of Web3 applications. Moreover, using a node provider saves time and money by providing services using existing infrastructures.

If a developer has an idea for an app, they can use a node provider to get their product to market quickly. Plus, node providers allow developers to focus their time and resources on the product itself. In turn, developers don’t have to spend too much time focusing on the technicalities of node operation and maintenance.

Why use a Blockchain Node Provider?

The three main value propositions of blockchain node providers are speed, storage, and security. Web3 infrastructure services such as Infura make accessing the Ethereum blockchain much quicker than ever before. Rather than spending days waiting to sync a node, Infura makes it quick and easy to access the Ethereum blockchain. Furthermore, by using a node provider, developers can use more bandwidth than might be possible otherwise.

Blog Blockchain Node Network

Blockchain node providers also make scaling a decentralized application (dApp) simple and secure. By removing the need for developers to create their own infrastructure to build dApps, node providers remove much of the stress associated with scaling a development team alongside an evolving product.

Furthermore, blockchain node providers like Infura allow users to efficiently store and manage data. By using a simple hash on the blockchain, a great deal of data can be stored off-chain. This reduces network congestion and helps improve the user experience by reducing storage requirements.

The Infura Ethereum API

The Infura Ethereum API (application programming interface) provides developers with easy-to-access Ethereum-based infrastructure to build decentralized applications (dApps). Using the Infura Ethereum API, builders can connect applications in just a few seconds using a single line of code. This makes it simple to take advantage of fast, highly available Ethereum infrastructure. 

Blog Infura infrastructure

The micro service-driven architecture that powers Infura is designed to dynamically scale with the Infura Ethereum API. Furthermore, using the Infura Ethereum API enables developers to connect to Ethereum and the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) via WebSocket and HTTPS. This makes it extremely simple to build dApps using existing infrastructure. Plus, the Infura Ethereum API facilitates response time up to 20 times faster than many other self-hosted API solutions. Moreover, with consistent network updates, service availability is maintained throughout all network changes. 

Using the Infura Ethereum API allows users to allocate more time and resources to product development and market research. Also, users gain a deeper insight into the performance of applications with the use of a simple, intuitive dashboard. The dashboard makes it easy to analyze and configure applications. Additionally, developers can monitor usage times, the performance of request methods, and much more. With these insights, developers gain a better understanding of their users and optimize their applications. Furthermore, the Infura Ethereum API supports both testnets and mainnets using “client-compatible JSON-RPC, over HTTPS and WSS”. Plus users can gain access to the Ethereum Archive node data which is made available as an add-on.

Blog Infura Block info

Moreover, with a minimum 99.9% uptime guarantee and instant availability, around-the-clock access to the development community, the Infura Ethereum API suite provides an attractive, customizable solution for building decentralized applications (dApps). Also, the Infura Ethereum API suite features a support network and integration without the need for syncing.

Why use Infura?

For the mass adoption of crypto and blockchain to become a reality, the barrier to entry must be lowered. The user experience for both developers and users of decentralized applications (dApps) must be streamlined if they are to become a part of everyday life. 

Thankfully, Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers have a solution. Providers such as Infura are creating high-quality tools and resources to equip developers, institutions, and enterprises globally. Moreover, developers have everything they need to create dApps simply and get them to market quickly. 

Furthermore, these services are being implemented sector-wide. From the energy sector to the music industry, fashion, real estate, and insurance, blockchain is being utilized in almost every industry! By providing high-quality components and support, both Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provide great solutions designed to expedite the adoption of decentralized applications (dApps) on a global scale!

Infura Alternatives

Building decentralized applications (dApps) can be challenging for several reasons. Firstly, connecting to an Ethereum node can be slow, and often takes a long time to sync. Plus, data storage on Ethereum can be expensive. 

Although Infura provides a simple and flexible way to connect to an Ethereum node, one potential drawback for developers could be the lack of connectivity to other blockchains. Despite the current beta testing of the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), and Filecoin node integration, Infura is heavily focused on providing a gateway to the Ethereum blockchain. 

Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) providers are becoming increasingly popular with offerings from the likes of IBM, Amazon, and Azure reaching the market. However, most of these services still lack greater connectivity beyond the Ethereum blockchain. Moreover, with a lack of cross-chain support, Infura is at a disadvantage when it comes to syncing users, data, and events across multiple blockchains. It is for this reason that some developers are looking for Infura alternatives. 

Moralis Speedy Nodes

One useful solution for accessing greater connectivity beyond Ethereum is Moralis Speedy Nodes. Moralis Speedy Nodes make it simple and fast to connect to an Ethereum node. Plus, Moralis Speedy Nodes provide users with access to Polygon/Matic nodes and ways to connect to BSC nodes too! Due to high network congestion on the Ethereum network, many companies are looking for alternatives to the number one smart contract-enabled blockchain to build their serverless Web3 applications. 

Blog Moralis Speedy Nodes

As Matic/Polygon and Binance Smart Chain have seen such great adoption in recent months, Moralis Speedy Nodes offers a compelling suite of Infura alternatives. Moralis offers greater connectivity and flexibility for building cost-efficient dApps and serverless Web3 applications way beyond what is capable with Ethereum alone. You can learn more about Binance Smart Chain and Polygon/Matic by saving our Binance Smart Chain and Polygon Network articles for later!

What is Infura? Summary 

The Infura Web3 backend infrastructure provides a comprehensive suite for Ethereum developers to quickly build decentralized applications (dApps). Moreover, Infura provides the opportunity to get them to market without worrying about the foundational architecture supporting their operations. 

Using an Infura API allows developers to connect to an Infura node and access a range of tools and services. In turn, this helps developers to expedite the creation of applications and get them to market quickly. Furthermore, by allowing developers to focus on what they do best, the Infura Web3 service provides a great environment for developers to create and manage Ethereum-based applications without any of the hassle of setting up and running a node. Read on here if you need to better understand the question “what is Web3?”.

Blog Infura + Ethereum + IPFS

However, for developers looking for Web3 backend services beyond Ethereum, Infura may not be the best choice for building dApps. To connect to a Binance Smart Chain (BSC), or Polygon/Matic node, many developers are looking at Infura alternatives such as Moralis’ high-quality Speedy Nodes. Moralis provides greater cross-chain connectivity and core functionality to build Web3 applications and dApps. Moreover, Moralis Speedy Nodes can be used across multiple blockchains without friction.

Ivan on Tech Academy provides all the educational material needed to learn how to program decentralized applications (dApps) even with zero programming experience! Start with our JavaScript Programming for Blockchain Developers or C++ Programming for Blockchain Developers courses, designed for beginners! 

Ivan on Tech Academy is the ideal place to start a career in blockchain. We offer students a Study Guide plus the Essential Blockchain Job Search Guide! Plus, we offer personalized course pathways and a dedicated mentor to help students achieve their blockchain dreams. Start your perfect job in crypto, through Ivan on Tech Academy today! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @Academy_IOT! Let us know your thoughts about Infura and Infura alternatives!

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