Expansion is responsible for providing an HTTP API to data in the bantu network. It ingests and re-serves the data produced by the bantu network in a form that is easier to consume than the performance-oriented data representations used by bantu-core.
This document describes how to administer a production Expansion instance. If you are just starting with Expansion and want to deploy it quickly to test it out, consider the Quickstart Guide instead. For information about developing on the Expansion codebase, check out the Development Guide.
You don't need to run your own Expansion instance to build on bantu: the bantu Development Foundation runs two Expansion servers, one for the public network and one for the test network: https://expansion.bantu.network/ and https://expansion-testnet.bantu.network/. These servers are free for anyone to use, and should be fine for development and small-scale projects. They are, however, rate limited, and we don't recommended using them for production services that need strong reliability.
Running Expansion within your own infrastructure provides a number of benefits. You can:
Disable request rate limiting for guaranteed network access
Have full operational control without dependency on the Bantu Blockchain Foundation
Run multiple instances for redundancy and scalability