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Deploy a Solana Program with the CLI

Developers can deploy on-chain programs (often called smart contracts elsewhere) with the Solana tools.

To learn about developing and executing programs on Solana, start with the intro to Solana programs and then dig into the details of developing on-chain programs.

To deploy a program, use the Solana tools to interact with the on-chain loader to:

  • Initialize a program account
  • Upload the program's shared object (the program binary .so) to the program account's data buffer
  • (optional) Verify the uploaded program
  • Finalize the program by marking the program account executable.

Once deployed, anyone can execute the program by sending transactions that reference it to the cluster.

How to deploy a program

To deploy a program, you will need the location of the program's shared object (the program binary .so):

solana program deploy <PROGRAM_FILEPATH>

Successful deployment will return the program id of the deployed program, for example:

Program Id: 3KS2k14CmtnuVv2fvYcvdrNgC94Y11WETBpMUGgXyWZL

Specify the keypair in the deploy command to deploy to a specific program id:

solana program deploy --program-id <KEYPAIR_FILEPATH> <PROGRAM_FILEPATH>

If the program id is not specified on the command line the tools will first look for a keypair file matching the <PROGRAM_FILEPATH>, or internally generate a new keypair.

A matching program keypair file is in the same directory as the program's shared object, and named <PROGRAM_NAME>-keypair.json. Matching program keypairs are generated automatically by the program build tools:


Showing a program account

To get information about a deployed program:

solana program show <ACCOUNT_ADDRESS>

An example output looks like:

Program Id: 3KS2k14CmtnuVv2fvYcvdrNgC94Y11WETBpMUGgXyWZL
Owner: BPFLoaderUpgradeab1e11111111111111111111111
ProgramData Address: EHsACWBhgmw8iq5dmUZzTA1esRqcTognhKNHUkPi4q4g
Authority: FwoGJNUaJN2zfVEex9BB11Dqb3NJKy3e9oY3KTh9XzCU
Last Deployed In Slot: 63890568
Data Length: 5216 (0x1460) bytes
  • Program Id is the address that can be referenced in an instruction's program_id field when invoking a program.
  • Owner: The loader this program was deployed with.
  • ProgramData Address is the account associated with the program account that holds the program's data (shared object).
  • Authority is the program's upgrade authority.
  • Last Deployed In Slot is the slot in which the program was last deployed.
  • Data Length is the size of the space reserved for deployments. The actual space used by the currently deployed program may be less.

Redeploy a Solana program

A program can be redeployed to the same address to facilitate rapid development, bug fixes, or upgrades. If a program id is not provided, the program will be deployed to the default address at <PROGRAM_NAME>-keypair.json. This default keypair is generated during the first program compilation.

The command looks the same as the deployment command:

solana program deploy <PROGRAM_FILEPATH>

By default, programs are deployed to accounts that match the size of the original program file. But, if the redeployed program is larger, the redeployment will fail. To avoid this, specify a max_len that is at least the size (in bytes) that the program is expected to become (plus some wiggle room).

solana program deploy --max-len 200000 <PROGRAM_FILEPATH>

Extend a program

If a program has already been deployed, and a redeployment goes beyond the max_len of the account, it's possible to extend the program to fit the larger redeployment:

solana program extend <PROGRAM_ID> <ADDITIONAL_BYTES>

Resuming a failed deploy

If program deployment fails, there will be a hanging intermediate buffer account that contains a non-zero balance. In order to recoup that balance you may resume a failed deployment by providing the same intermediate buffer to a new call to deploy.

Deployment failures will print an error message specifying the seed phrase needed to recover the generated intermediate buffer's keypair:

Recover the intermediate account's ephemeral keypair file with
`solana-keygen recover` and the following 12-word seed phrase:
valley flat great hockey share token excess clever benefit traffic avocado athlete
To resume a deploy, pass the recovered keypair as
the [BUFFER_SIGNER] to `solana program deploy` or `solana program write-buffer'.
Or to recover the account's lamports, pass it as the
[BUFFER_ACCOUNT_ADDRESS] argument to `solana program drain`.

To recover the keypair:

solana-keygen recover -o <KEYPAIR_PATH>

When asked, enter the 12-word seed phrase.

Then issue a new deploy command and specify the buffer:

solana program deploy --buffer <KEYPAIR_PATH> <PROGRAM_FILEPATH>

Closing program and buffer accounts, and reclaiming their lamports

Both program and buffer accounts can be closed and their lamport balances transferred to a recipient's account.

If deployment fails there will be a left-over buffer account that holds lamports. The buffer account can either be used to resume a deploy or closed.

The program or buffer account's authority must be present to close an account, to list all the open program or buffer accounts that match the default authority:

solana program show --programs
solana program show --buffers

To specify a different authority:

solana program show --programs --buffer-authority <AUTHORITY_ADDRESS>
solana program show --buffers --buffer-authority <AUTHORITY_ADDRESS>

To close a single account:

solana program close <BADDRESS>

To close a single account and specify a different authority than the default:

solana program close <ADDRESS> --buffer-authority <KEYPAIR_FILEPATH>

To close a single account and specify a different recipient than the default:

solana program close <ADDRESS> --recipient <RECIPIENT_ADDRESS>

To close all the buffer accounts associated with the current authority:

solana program close --buffers

To show all buffer accounts regardless of the authority

solana program show --buffers --all

Set a program's upgrade authority

The program's upgrade authority must be present to deploy a program. If no authority is specified during program deployment, the default keypair is used as the authority. This is why redeploying a program in the steps above didn't require an authority to be explicitly specified.

The authority can be specified during deployment:

solana program deploy --upgrade-authority <UPGRADE_AUTHORITY_SIGNER> <PROGRAM_FILEPATH>

Or after deployment and using the default keypair as the current authority:

solana program set-upgrade-authority <PROGRAM_ADDRESS> --new-upgrade-authority <NEW_UPGRADE_AUTHORITY>

Or after deployment and specifying the current authority:

solana program set-upgrade-authority <PROGRAM_ADDRESS> --upgrade-authority <UPGRADE_AUTHORITY_SIGNER> --new-upgrade-authority <NEW_UPGRADE_AUTHORITY>

By default, set-upgrade-authority requires a signature from the new authority. This behavior prevents a developer from giving upgrade authority to a key that they do not have access to. The --skip-new-upgrade-authority-signer-check option relaxes the signer check. This can be useful for situations where the new upgrade authority is an offline signer or a multisig.

Immutable programs

A program can be marked immutable, which prevents all further redeployments, by specifying the --final flag during deployment:

solana program deploy <PROGRAM_FILEPATH> --final

Or anytime after:

solana program set-upgrade-authority <PROGRAM_ADDRESS> --final

Dumping a program to a file

The deployed program may be dumped back to a local file:


The dumped file will be in the same as what was deployed, so in the case of a shared object (the program binary .so), the dumped file will be a fully functional shared object. Note that the dump command dumps the entire data space, which means the output file will have trailing zeros after the shared object's data up to max_len. Sometimes it is useful to dump and compare a program to ensure it matches a known program binary. The dumped file can be zero-truncated, hashed, and compared to the hash of the original program file.

$ solana dump <ACCOUNT_ADDRESS> dump.so
$ cp original.so extended.so
$ truncate -r dump.so extended.so
$ sha256sum extended.so dump.so

Using an intermediary Buffer account

Instead of deploying directly to the program account, the program can be written to an intermediary buffer account. Intermediary accounts can be useful for things like multi-entity governed programs where the governing members first verify the intermediary buffer contents and then vote to allow an upgrade using it.

solana program write-buffer <PROGRAM_FILEPATH>

Buffer accounts are managed by an authority. To create a buffer and specify a different authority than the default:

solana program write-buffer <PROGRAM_FILEPATH> --buffer-authority <BUFFER_AUTHORITY_SIGNER>

Only the buffer authority may write to the buffer, so the --buffer-authority above must be a signer, and not an address. This requirement limits usage with offline signers. To use an offline address as a buffer authority, the buffer account must be initialized and written with an online keypair, and then the buffer authority must be assigned using solana program set-buffer-authority:

solana program set-buffer-authority <BUFFER_ADDRESS> --new-buffer-authority <NEW_BUFFER_AUTHORITY>

Unlike program accounts buffer accounts cannot be marked immutable, so they don't support the --final option.

The buffer account, once entirely written, can be passed to deploy to deploy the program:

solana program deploy --program-id <PROGRAM_ADDRESS> --buffer <BUFFER_ADDRESS>

Note, the buffer's authority must match the program's upgrade authority. During deployment, the buffer account's contents are copied into the program-data account and the buffer account is set to zero. The lamports from the buffer account are refunded to a spill account.

Buffers also support show and dump just like programs do.

Upgrading program using offline signer as authority

Some security models require separating the signing process from the transaction broadcast, such that the signing keys can be completely disconnected from any network, also known as offline signing.

This section describes how a program developer can use offline signing to upgrade their program, unlike the previous section, which assumes the machine is connected to the internet, aka online signing.

Note that only the upgrade command can be performed in offline mode. The initial program deployment must be performed from an online machine, and only subsequent program upgrades can leverage offline signing.

Assuming your program has been deployed and its upgrade authority has been changed to an offline signer, a typical setup would consist of 2 different signers:

  • online signer (fee payer for uploading program buffer and upgrading program)
  • offline signer (program upgrade authority)

The general process is as follows:

  1. (online) create buffer and write new program to it
  2. (online) set buffer authority to offline signer
  3. (optional, online) verify the buffer's on-chain contents
  4. (offline) sign a transaction to upgrade the program
  5. (online) use this signature to broadcast the upgrade transaction
# (1) (use online machine) create buffer
solana program write-buffer <PROGRAM_FILEPATH>

# (2) (use online machine) set buffer authority to offline signer
solana program set-buffer-authority <BUFFER_PUBKEY> --new-buffer-authority <OFFLINE_SIGNER_PUBKEY>

(3) (optional) You may verify that the uploaded program matches the built binary. See dumping a program to a file for more information and details.

# (4) (use offline machine) get a signature for your intent to upgrade program
solana program upgrade <BUFFER_PUBKEY> <PROGRAM_ID> --sign-only --fee-payer <ONLINE_SIGNER_PUBKEY> --upgrade-authority <OFFLINE_SIGNER> --blockhash <VALUE>

# (5) (use online machine) use this signature to build and broadcast the upgrade transaction on-chain
solana program upgrade <BUFFER_PUBKEY> <PROGRAM_ID> --fee-payer <ONLINE_SIGNER> --upgrade-authority <OFFLINE_SIGNER_PUBKEY> --blockhash <VALUE> --signer <OFFLINE_SIGNER_PUBKEY>:<OFFLINE_SIGNER_SIGNATURE>


  • typically, the output of the previous command(s) will contain some values useful in subsequent commands, e.g. --program-id, --buffer, --signer
  • you need to specify matching (or corresponding) values for params with same names (--fee-payer, --program-id, --upgrade-authority, --buffer, --blockhash) in offline/online modes
  • you should pre-fill every value except for blockhash ahead of time, and once you are ready to act - you'll need to look up a recent blockhash and paste it in to generate the offline transaction signature. The blockhash expires after ~60 seconds. If you didn't make it in time - just get another fresh hash and repeat until you succeed, or consider using durable transaction nonces.