Most people, even outside of the crypto space, have at least heard of the word blockchain. But only a few people not familiar with the crypto world have heard of nodes nor can they explain why nodes are important.
Generally speaking, a node is a connection in a telecommunications network. Also, any system or device that is connected to a network and is able to create, receive or send information can be seen as a node.
The stakeholder of a network and their devices, which keep a copy of the distributed ledger and serve as communication points are basically blockchain nodes. The main duty of blockchain nodes is to validate each succeeding batch of network transactions (blocks). The only nodes that are required to validating blocks and transactions are called full nodes.
Nodes are a vital point to sustain a blockchain network's infrastructure. Most blockchains use certain incentives in order to get users to run full nodes. The rewards are mainly monetary similar to mining or staking.
Always keep in mind that running a full node incurs costs and risks. The process of setting up can be too technical for people without any knowledge of blockchains and programming.
How to run a Node?
There are several system requirements on any blockchain to become a node operator. You can refer to each blockchain's websites to check hardware and software requirements, as well as a setup guide.
There are also projects operating as Nodes-as-a-Service (NaaS) protocols. Most of the projects offer investors to own their own RPC-Nodes without needing any technical knowledge. The rewards are most of the time distributed in the native token of the NaaS project and pay a fixed yield.
RPC nodes are nodes that connect the blockchain and decentralized applications (dApps). RPC nodes help the dApps to communicate with the blockchain in order to access information and make transactions.