Choosing a Web3 Network

A detailed guide to choosing which network to deploy on for Ethereum, Layer 2s and Solana. Compares Layer 1 chains vs Layer 2 chains as well as Mainnet vs Testnet environments.

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There are many different Web3 networks, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will help you choose the right Web3 network for you. Alchemy currently supports Ethereum, Polygon, Arbitrum, Optimism, Base, Starknet, Astar and Solana networks.

Layer 1 vs. Layer 2

Layer 1 blockchain networks are the foundation of the blockchain ecosystem. They are the most secure and decentralized form of blockchain technology. Layer 2 blockchain networks are built on top of layer 1 blockchain networks and provide additional features and functionality often at the cost of security.

Layer 1 Networks supported by Alchemy

  • Ethereum: Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contract applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of fraud or third-party interference.
  • Solana: Solana is a high-performance blockchain network designed to support large-scale decentralized applications. The Solana protocol is optimized for performance, security, and scalability, and can process tens of thousands of transactions per second.

Layer 2 Networks supported by Alchemy

  • Polygon: Polygon is a decentralized network that enables fast and secure transactions of Ethereum-based assets. The network is composed of a group of Ethereum smart contracts that work together to provide a scalable, low-cost solution for transactions.
  • Arbitrum: Arbitrum is a separate chain built on top of Ethereum as a smart contract that supports faster transaction times, higher throughput, lower gas costs, and many more benefits. Activity and transactions are ultimately relayed to the Layer 1 chain from Arbitrum through optimistic rollups.
  • Optimism: Optimism is an Optimistic Rollup built on top of Ethereum, so it is compatible with all existing Ethereum dapps. In addition, Optimism is designed to be scalable, so it can handle a large number of transactions without compromising security or performance.
  • Base: Base is a secure, low-cost, builder-friendly Ethereum Layer 2 (L2) solution designed to bring the next billion users onchain.
  • Starknet: Starknet is a decentralized Validity-Rollup (often referred to as ZK-Rollup). It operates as a Layer 2 network over Ethereum, enabling any app to achieve massive scale without compromising Ethereum's composability and security.
  • Astar: Astar is a parachain that connects the Polkadot blockchain to all major Layer-1 chains, including Ethereum.
  • Frax (Only supported for account abstraction products): Frax is a modular rollup blockchain based on the Ethereum Virtual Machine, utilizing the OP Stack framework for scalability and efficiency within the Frax ecosystem.
  • Zora(Only supported for account abstraction products): The Zora Network is a decentralized, Ethereum-based Layer 2 solution optimized for NFTs and digital media, built on the OP Stack framework to enhance transaction efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Mainnet vs. Testnet

Every blockchain (including both Layer 1s and Layer 2s) has a mainnet. The mainnet is the blockchain that actually carries out real-world transactions and events for the public. This is different from a testnet, which is used to test out those transactions and events before putting them into production. You can add a network to a self-custody wallet like Metamask if you know its Chain ID & RPC URL. Now, let's take a look at some of the mainnets & testnets that you can add to your self-custody wallet.

Networks & their details


Note on Public RPC Endpoints

Public RPC Endpoints are good for testing purposes but not good for development or production environments. They are publicly known and often go down, so it's better to sign up for a free Alchemy developer account and get your own API keys to interact with the blockchains.


Ethereum Mainnet

Sepolia Testnet


Polygon Mainnet

Polygon Amoy Testnet


Optimism Mainnet

Optimism Sepolia Testnet


Arbitrum Mainnet

Arbitrum Sepolia Testnet


Base Mainnet

Base Sepolia Testnet


Starknet Mainnet


Astar Mainnet


Frax Mainnet

Frax Sepolia Testnet


Zora Mainnet

Zora Sepolia Testnet


Solana Mainnet

In order to configure and use Solana, you will require a Solana wallet like Phantom. Once you set-up your wallet you will be ready to use the Solana Mainnet.

Solana Devnet

In order to configure and use Solana Devnet, you will require a Solana wallet like Phantom.

To configure the Solana Devnet, create a new Alchemy app and set the chain to Solana and network to Devnet. On the app's dashboard page, click on Add to Wallet to add Devnet to your Phantom wallet. The faucet for Solana devnet is Solfaucet.

Which Ethereum Testnet Should I use?

We recommend using the Sepolia Testnet as all other testnets on Ethereum are deprecated.

Should you need to test ETH, here is our free faucets for Sepolia (recommended).