Skip to content

lightning-cli -- Control lightning daemon


lightning-cli [OPTIONS] command


lightning-cli sends commands to the lightning daemon.


  • --lightning-dir=DIR

Set the directory for the lightning daemon we're talking to; defaults to $HOME/.lightning.

  • --conf=PATH

Sets configuration file (default: lightning-dir/config ).

  • --network=network
  • --mainnet
  • --testnet
  • --signet

Sets network explicitly.

  • --rpc-file=FILE

Named pipe to use to talk to lightning daemon: default is lightning-rpc in the lightning directory.

  • --keywords/-k

Use format key=value for parameters in any order

  • --order/-o

Follow strictly the order of parameters for the command

  • --json/-J

Return result in JSON format (default unless help command, or result contains a format-hint field).

  • --raw/-R

Return raw JSON directly as lightningd replies; this can be faster for large requests.

  • --human-readable/-H

Return result in human-readable output.

  • --flat/-F

Return JSON result in flattened one-per-line output, e.g. { "help": [ { "command": "check" } ] } would become help[0].command=check. This is useful for simple scripts which want to find a specific output field without parsing JSON.

  • --notifications/-N=LEVEL

If LEVEL is 'none', then never print out notifications. Otherwise, print out notifications of LEVEL or above (one of io, debug, info (the default), unusual or broken: they are prefixed with #. (Note: currently not supported with --commando).

  • --filter/-l=JSON

This hands lightningd JSON as a filter, which controls what will be output, e.g. '--filter={"help":[{"command":true}]}'. See lightningd-rpc(7) for more details on how to specify filters.

  • --help/-h

Pretty-print summary of options to standard output and exit. The format can be changed using -F, -R, -J, -H etc.

  • --version/-V

Print version number to standard output and exit.

  • --allow-deprecated-apis=BOOL

Enable deprecated options. It defaults to true, but you should set it to false when testing to ensure that an upgrade won't break your configuration.

  • --commando/-c=peerid:rune

Convenience option to indicate that this command should be wrapped in a commando command to be sent to the connected peer with id peerid, using rune rune. This also means that any --filter is handed via commando to the remote peer to reduce its output (which it will do it it is v23.02 or newer), rather than trying to do so locally. Note that currently -N is not supported by commando.


lightning-cli simply uses the JSON RPC interface to talk to lightningd, and prints the results. Thus the commands available depend entirely on the lightning daemon itself.


Arguments may be provided positionally or using key=value after the command name, based on either -o or -k option. When using -k consider prefixing all arguments of the command with their respective keyword, this is to avoid having lightningd intrepret the position of an arguement.

Arguments may be integer numbers (composed entirely of digits), floating-point numbers (has a radix point but otherwise composed of digits), true, false, or null. Arguments which begin with {, [ or " are also considered raw JSON and are passed through. Other arguments are treated as strings.

Some commands have optional arguments. You may use null to skip optional arguments to provide later arguments, although this is not encouraged.


  1. List commands:

  2. lightning-cli help

  3. Fund a 10k sat channel using uncomfirmed outputs:

  4. lightning-cli --keywords fundchannel id=028f...ae7d amount=10000sat minconf=0


This manpage documents how it should work, not how it does work. The pretty printing of results isn't pretty.


If the command succeeds, the exit status is 0. Otherwise:

  • 1: lightningd(7) returned an error reply (which is printed).
  • 2: we could not talk to lightningd.
  • 3: usage error, such as bad arguments or malformed JSON in the parameters.


Rusty Russell <> is mainly to blame.


Main web site:


Note: the modules in the ccan/ directory have their own licenses, but the rest of the code is covered by the BSD-style MIT license.