There are many different options when it comes to what mining pool you should use. You need to consider fees, software, coins available, and what your goals are.
Questions to Answer Before Selecting a Mining Pool
If you have finished building your rig, hopefully using our guides for NVIDIA or AMD, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you selecting a mining pool. Doing this work ahead of time will help you sort out which pools may be right for you. Just as a side note, I would not recommend mining directly to an exchange as people have reported in the past difficulties receiving certain coins.
What is Your Mining Philosophy?
Is your mining plan to attack the most profitable coin and then sell into BTC daily? Or do you want to mine an altcoin you believe in and think will rise in the future? If you are doing the first it’s pretty easy to get started. Just go to What To Mine and put in what cards your miner has and input your electric cost and hit calculate. It will show you the most profitable coin to target. Then you just move on to the next question. If you are mining a coin you believe in and may not even be listed on What to Mine, you need to find a pool that offers it and ensure you are mining to a wallet that you set up that accepts the coin. The objective here is to hold the coin until the project takes off and you can sell at a massive profit since you mined a bagful of coins at a lower price and difficulty. This recently happened with coins like Vertcoin and Groestlcoin where they rose in value rapidly and those who mined them months ago made out bigtime!
Single Coin or Algo Switching?
This goes similar to question one. You can use a pool to mine a coin of your choosing like Suprnova that offers a variety of coins to mine simply by setting up an account for that coin. Your other option is to use a site that will pay you out automatically in Bitcoin or a certain coin of your choice no matter what you mine. An example of this would be Mining Pool Hub, this mining pool allows you to customize your mining experience to mine whatever coin you want and get paid out in any type of altcoin or bitcoin based on buy/sell orders executed on multiple exchanges and paid directly to you. With Nicehash going down this is a great way to get up and running with an algorithm switch system. Once you select a mining pool that you will use then you need to figure out what software you want to use to connect to these mining pools.
How Does the Pool Pay Out?
You need to know how the pool you are going to join works in order to accurately track what you are mining and ensure you are getting paid correctly. There are many scams or shady pool operators that will skim off the top so know what you are getting into before you begin mining will help ensure you are maximizing your profitability.
PPNLNS (Pay Per Last # Shares)
Most commonly seen in altcoins pool and is often times the most profitable for both beginner and experienced miners. The pool works similar to Proportional pools however the difference is PPLNS disregards round boundaries, so you don’t have to worry about jumping in late or early to a new pool.
PPS (Pay Per Share)
The Pay Per Share payout structure is one of the most common pools you will find if you are mining Bitcoin. It is fairly simple; every submitted share is worth a certain amount of bitcoin. Finding a block on the network requires a large number of current difficulty shares on average. This translates to dividing the block reward by the current difficulty.
The problem with PPS pools is they usually have a higher than average fee associated with them which can cut into your profits. Ensure you know how much you are paying and if the pool keeps the transaction fees associated with each transaction or if that is also paid to the miner.
FPPS (Full Pay Per Share)
I have not run across many of these that I am a fan of, to be honest. This is a pool that will pay the miner the full block reward as well as the transaction fees. This is a huge benefit to you the miner and does not reward the pool hoster much as at all. You could see an increase in up to 12% from your mining rigs using an FPPS pool. If you can find one that you like and is legit this is your best bet, but most pools have gone away from this type of system.
Easy to understand every time a block is found on the pool network the miners receive an award that is proportional to the number of shares that they submitted. Miner with a larger hashrate will most likely submit more shares and likely get a larger payment to smaller mining rigs. If you want to join these pools, try to join one where your hashrate is the average of towards the top of the mining pool to get the largest payouts.
What Software Will You Use?
There is a multitude of various software to use for mining, some more intuitive than others. We will cover a few of them in the follow-on article but one thing you need to be aware of is always to check to ensure you are downloading an original version and when able check to ensure its validity by looking at the SHA or hash code of what you are downloading. This will ensure you are getting the latest release from the developer and not one that has been altered or implanted with malicious code that could infect your computer and ultimately steal all your coins.
Below is a list of just some of the available mining software;
CCminer (For NVIDIA Cards)
Once you have downloaded some of the software above you can use that to tie into programs already developed. Some will run as an Operating System saving you from having to purchase windows and come preloaded with the above software. Another type of program will use the downloaded software above to run the most efficient version to mine. This will save you time from having to configure a .bat file every time you want to switch coins. Usually, you just point it to a pool and enter your wallet ID or worker name and hit start then enjoy the ride. These usually come with some sort of developer fee and your experience may vary. There are more tools coming on the market it seems almost weekly so ensure you do your research and evaluate each one you use independently, despite what anyone says there is yet to be a front-runner. Once you do that take a look at our section on How to Run a Mining Rig Remotely to ensure you can monitor and fix problems from anywhere in the world.
Some examples of the most popular;
Simple Miner (Linux based operating system, cost $2 per month per rig)
HiveOS (Linux based operating system, free for up to 3 rigs. Also running a special where they will credit your account with $10 USD using promo code MINEFORFREE)
ethOS (Linux OS) ($39 for shipped 16gb stick, one per rig)
Nvoc (Linux OS)
Awesome Miner (free and paid version, I am currently using the free version and have zero complaints)
All In One Miner (Alpha release right now with no fees)
Winminer (I have not used this version and have read mixed reviews on reduced hash rates)
XMR-stak (Supports CPU, AMD, and Nvidia cards)
Do you use something not listed above? Please reach out and let me know why and I will include it in the next update to this article. You can comment below or send an email to email@example.com
If this guide helped you at all and you feel like sending over a tip please feel free as its what keeps this site alive.