Understanding eth_getLogs limitations

Introduction

As decentralized applications (DApps) continue to evolve and scale, the efficient management of Ethereum logs has become crucial in Web3 development. One of the common ways to access Ethereum logs is via the eth_getLogs RPC method. This method provides an essential tool for querying past events in Ethereum-based blockchains. However, understanding its limitations and the optimal ways to use it can significantly enhance your DApp performance and reliability.

About eth_getLogs

The eth_getLogs method is an Ethereum JSON-RPC endpoint used to query logs based on a filter object from the Ethereum blockchain. It can be used directly or indirectly through libraries like web3.js or ethers.js that provide convenient wrappers. This function is crucial for auditing and retrieving past events emitted by smart contracts.

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Learn more about eth_getLogs and how you can retrieve emitted events from Tracking some Bored Apes: The Ethereum event logs tutorial.

Block range limitations

While eth_getLogs is a powerful tool, it's crucial to understand its limitations, particularly when working with different EVM-compatible chains, as these networks often have different constraints. The eth_getLogs method allows you to select a range of blocks to get events from and is important to exercise proper management.

In general, eth_getLogs is a very resource-intensive method and although Chainstack does not pose any arbitrary limitation, some blockchain clients do, and a very large block range can impact your node’s performance.

Below you can find the block range limitations for the eth_getLogs that we recommend in order to maintain a good balance between node and application performance.

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These figures mean that the difference between the fromBlock and toBlock parameters should not exceed the given block range when querying logs.

Cronos and Harmony have hard limits set by their respective blockchain clients. You will receive an error if you try to query a bigger range than the following:

  • Cronos β€” 10,000 blocks.
  • Harmony β€” 1,024 blocks.

While there are no hard limits for other networks, it's best practice to limit the range of blocks you are querying in a single request to prevent issues such as timeout errors or overly large responses. Here are some recommended block ranges per request for various networks:

  • Ethereum β€” 5,000 blocks.
  • Polygon β€” 3,000 blocks.
  • BNB Smart Chain β€” 5,000 blocks.
  • Avalanche β€” 100,000 blocks.
  • Fantom β€” 5,000 blocks.
  • Arbitrum β€” 10,000 blocks.
  • Aurora β€” 10,000 blocks.
  • Gnosis β€” 10,000 blocks.
  • Fuse β€” 10,000 blocks.

These limitations are particularly important when working with popular smart contracts on busy blockchains, as they can return a large amount of data.

Best practices when using eth_getLogs

While using eth_getLogs, consider these best practices to ensure efficient and reliable log data retrieval.

Limit the block range

Stay within the block range limits for the specific network you are working with. This practice reduces the likelihood of receiving an oversized response or a timeout error due to a long query.

Paginate queries

If you need to retrieve logs over a range that exceeds the network's limit, split your request into multiple queries. This method is similar to pagination in traditional APIs.

The following is an example using web3.js:

const Web3 = require("web3");
const NODE_URL = "YOUR_CHAINSTACK_ENDPOINT";
const web3 = new Web3(NODE_URL);

async function getLogs() {
  const startBlock = 14204533;
  const endBlock = 15204533;
  const range = 5000;
  const address = '0x4d224452801ACEd8B2F0aebE155379bb5D594381';
  const topics = ['0xddf252ad1be2c89b69c2b068fc378daa952ba7f163c4a11628f55a4df523b3ef'];

  for (let i = startBlock; i <= endBlock; i += range) {
    const fromBlock = i;
    const toBlock = Math.min(i + range - 1, endBlock);

    const filter = {
      fromBlock,
      toBlock,
      address,
      topics
    };

    const logs = await web3.eth.getPastLogs(filter);
    console.log(logs);
  }
}

getLogs();

This example retrieves the Transfer events from the first one million blocks after the deployment of the ApeCoin smart contract in chunks of 5,000 blocks.

Efficiently filter logs

Retrieving logs from a blockchain can result in a large amount of data, especially when dealing with a busy network or a large number of blocks. Applying filters to your queries is important to manage this effectively and avoid unnecessary processing unless you are trying to retrieve all the events at once.

A filter is a set of criteria that you specify when making a request for logs. The blockchain node will then only return the logs that match these criteria, reducing the amount of data returned and making the query more efficient.

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Further reading

ReadΒ Tracking some Bored Apes: The Ethereum event logs tutorial to learn more about theΒ eth_getLogsΒ method and How to properly encode topics for eth_getLogs recipe on how to encode the filter parameters.

For example, if you're only interested in a specific type of event, such as Transfer events, you can specify this in your filter. The node will then only return logs for Transfer events, ignoring all others.

Similarly, if you're only interested in events from a particular address, you can specify this address in your filter. The node will then only return logs that involve this address, ignoring events from all other addresses.

Using filters effectively can significantly reduce the amount of data you need to handle, making your application more efficient and responsive.

Real-world example

Let’s take it a step further and show an example of how we can fetch and store Transfer event logs from the BAYC smart contract. This project stores event logs in a MongoDB instance. This is a good starting point for creating your own BAYC API.

Prerequisites

Setup

For this example, we will be using node.js, so let’s set up a project:

npm init -y

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Check out Web3 node.js: From zero to a full-fledged project to learn best practices when working with node.js.

As the next step, we should install dependencies:

npm install web3 dotenv mongodb

Now we can create .env and main.js files and fill in the following information:

MONGODB_CONNECTION_STRING="YOUR_MONGO_DB_CONNECTION"
CHAINSTACK_URL="YOUR_CHAINSTACK_ENDPOINT"
require("dotenv").config();
const Web3 = require("web3");
const MongoClient = require("mongodb").MongoClient;

async function connectToMongoDB(connectionString) {
	const client = new MongoClient(connectionString);
	try {
		await client.connect();
		console.log("Connected to MongoDB");
		return client;
	} catch (err) {
		console.error(`Failed to connect to MongoDB: ${err}`);
		return null;
	}
}

// Connect to your Chainstack Ethereum node
console.log("Connecting to Ethereum node...");
const web3 = new Web3(
	new Web3.providers.HttpProvider(process.env.CHAINSTACK_URL)
);
console.log("Connected to Ethereum node");

// Set the BAYC contract address
const contractAddress = "0xBC4CA0EdA7647A8aB7C2061c2E118A18a936f13D"; // BAYC contract address

// BAYC contract was created at this block
const startBlock = 12686718;
const batch_size = 5000; // Stay within Ethereum network limits

// Connect to MongoDB
connectToMongoDB(process.env.MONGODB_CONNECTION_STRING).then(async (client) => {
	if (client) {
		const db = client.db("BAYC");
		const collection = db.collection("bayc-logs");

		// Get latest block number
		console.log("Fetching latest block number...");
		const endBlock = await web3.eth.getBlockNumber();
		console.log(`Latest block number is ${endBlock}`);

		// Query logs in batches
		for (let i = startBlock; i < endBlock; i += batch_size) {
			const toBlock = Math.min(i + batch_size - 1, endBlock);

			try {
				console.log(`Fetching events from block ${i} to ${toBlock}...`);
				/* 
                We can use getPastLogs or getPastEvents
                getPastLogs return raw data, getPastEvents will do some formatting on the data returned
                */
				const logs = await web3.eth.getPastLogs({
					fromBlock: web3.utils.toHex(i),
					toBlock: web3.utils.toHex(toBlock),
					address: contractAddress,
					topics: [web3.utils.keccak256("Transfer(address,address,uint256)")],
				});
				console.log(
					`Fetched ${logs.length} logs from block ${i} to ${toBlock}`
				);

				// Process logs and store them in MongoDB
				for (let log of logs) {
					await collection.insertOne(log);
					console.log(`Stored log ${log.id} in MongoDB`);
				}

				console.log(`Stored logs from block ${i} to ${toBlock} in MongoDB`);
			} catch (err) {
				console.error(
					`Error fetching logs from block ${i} to ${toBlock}: ${err}`
				);
			}
		}

		client.close();
	}
});

Once we have the files ready, we can run the script with the following command:

node main.js

If you set up everything properly, you will see the following output:

❯ node main.js
Connecting to Ethereum node...
Connected to Ethereum node
Connected to MongoDB
Fetching latest block number...
Latest block number is 17401394
Fetching events from block 12686718 to 12691717...
Fetched 183 logs from block 12686718 to 12691717
Stored log log_5b71b7bd in MongoDB
Stored log log_22da2c2a in MongoDB
Stored log log_6c6c5129 in MongoDB
Stored log log_9b606429 in MongoDB
Stored log log_de39154c in MongoDB
Stored log log_a49334ff in MongoDB
...
...
Stored logs from block 12686718 to 12691717 in MongoDB
Fetching events from block 12691718 to 12696717...
Fetched 125 logs from block 12691718 to 12696717
Stored log log_e19237a9 in MongoDB
Stored log log_7611f848 in MongoDB
Stored log log_a8e6d7b7 in MongoDB
Stored log log_999b2ede in MongoDB
Stored log log_2f4fb9f4 in MongoDB
Stored log log_51054a82 in MongoDB
...
...

Congratulations, you just set up your own data-processing script!

Conclusion

Understanding the nuances and best practices of using eth_getLogs is vital for efficiently working with Ethereum logs and enhancing your DApp performance. Being mindful of block range limitations and implementing methods to optimize log retrieval will provide a robust foundation for handling log data in a Web3 environment.

About the author

Edin Drazevicanin

Technical Support Engineer @ Chainstack
πŸ› οΈ JUST BUIDL IT!
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