Transactions, Instructions, and Transaction Fees In Solana


Welcome to the exhilarating world of Solana, where transactions aren't just transactions—they're lightning-fast journeys through a decentralized universe. In this article, we're going to understand the heart of Solana's transaction ecosystem, exploring the intricate interplay between transactions, instructions, and transaction fees. 

If you haven't read our previous articles, read here-


Transactions: The Building Blocks of Solana's Digital Economy

At its core, a transaction on Solana is a digital record of an action—a movement of tokens, data, or instructions from one digital wallet to another within the Solana blockchain. Picture it like sending a digital parcel from your digital backpack to a friend's digital mailbox. These parcels can contain SOL tokens, Solana's native cryptocurrency, or commands for decentralized applications (dApps) to execute specific tasks.

But what sets Solana apart is its speed. While other blockchains may leave you tapping your foot impatiently, waiting for transactions to confirm, Solana processes transactions in a flash, thanks to its innovative architecture and high-performance consensus mechanism.


A transaction comprises one or more instructions, each representing a specific operation to be processed. It is atomic in nature, either fully completes or fully fails. The maximum size of a transaction is 1232 bytes.

A transaction contains two components: signature and message.

  • Signature: Array of signatures of private key.
  • Message: Payload of information that we send to the program. In other words, it is a list of instructions to be processed.


This message comprises four main parts-

  • Header: It specifies the number of signer and read-only accounts with or without signatures.
  • Account Addresses: It is an array of addresses of the account that we are going to interact with.
  • Recent Blockhash: It is the hash of the last observed blockchain ledger.
  • Instruction: It is the array of instructions to be executed.

Example.  Let's say A wants to send 1 SOL to B. Here's what the transaction would look like:

  • Signature: A signs the transaction with her private key.
  • Message: The header indicates A as the signer. The account addresses are A's and B's wallet addresses. Recent Blockhash is the hash from the latest block, and the instruction is the command to transfer 1 SOL from A's account to B's.

Instructions: The Blueprint for Action

Now, let's zoom in on the instructions. In the world of Solana, an instruction is like a carefully crafted blueprint, detailing the precise actions to be taken within a transaction. Whether you're transferring SOL tokens, minting NFTs (non-fungible tokens), or swapping assets on a decentralized exchange (DEX), each action within a transaction is executed according to a specific set of instructions. When you submit a transaction on Solana, you're essentially sending a package of instructions into the digital ether, where they're executed with precision and transparency.

Instruction is a request to process a specific action on-chain and is the smallest contiguous unit of execution logic in a program. An instruction contains the following information-

  • Program ID: It specifies the program being invoked by the instruction.
  • Accounts: It is the array of accounts the instructions read from or write to.
  • Instruction Data: It is a byte array of data that the program will use to handle each transaction.

Example. Imagine you want to mint a new NFT. Here's what the instruction might include:

  • Program ID: The ID of the NFT minting program.
  • Accounts: Your wallet address, the destination account for the NFT, and the mint authority account.
  • Instruction Data: Data specifying the metadata of the NFT (e.g., name, description, image URL).

Transaction Fees: The Fuel for Solana's Engine

Now, let's talk about everyone's favorite topic: transaction fees. In traditional finance, making transactions can feel like bleeding money, with fees eating away at your hard-earned cash. But on Solana, transaction fees are refreshingly low, making it affordable to send even the tiniest fractions of SOL or interact with dApps to your heart's content.

It is the fees paid to process instructions on the Solana blockchain. It is paid to the network to help support the economic design of the blockchain.

Why pay transaction fees?

  • Compensation to the validator.
  • Reduce network spam.
  • Provide long-term economic stability.

So, how are transaction fees determined on Solana? A fixed amount from the fees is burnt and the rest goes to the validator to keep the network going. Transaction fees is equal to the sum of base fees per signature and compute units.

In Solana, you can pay prioritization fees, an optional fee paid to prioritize the transaction. There are some of the best practices that you should follow to minimize fees while paying prioritization fees.

  • Request minimum compute units.
  • Get recent prioritization fees as this helps you know what others are paying.

Example. If you're sending a transaction with 1 signature and 2 instructions, and the base fee per signature is 0.000005 SOL, while each instruction consumes 500 compute units (with a base fee per compute unit of 0.000001 SOL), the total fee might be:

  • Signature fee: 0.000005 SOL
  • Instruction fees: 2 * 500 * 0.000001 SOL = 0.001 SOL
  • Total fee: 0.001005 SOL

Monitoring Transaction Fees: Tools of the Trade

If you're curious about how to monitor transaction fees on Solana, fear not! There's a treasure trove of tools and resources at your disposal. The Solana Explorer, for example, is a web-based tool that allows you to delve into real-time transaction data on the Solana blockchain, including the fees paid for each transaction.

Furthermore, many Solana wallets and dApps come equipped with built-in fee estimators that can help you gauge the appropriate fee to include with your transactions. These estimators factor in current network conditions and transaction demand, providing you with optimal fee recommendations to ensure your transactions sail smoothly through the digital seas.

Tips for Developers: Common Pitfalls When Constructing Transactions on Solana

Now that we have discussed transactions, instructions, and transaction fees, let's see some tips that would help developers avoid the common pitfalls while constructing transactions on Solana.

  • Mind the Size Limit: Keep transactions under 1232 bytes to avoid failures.
  • Order Instructions Properly: Sequence instructions correctly to prevent logical errors.
  • Correct Account Addresses: Use accurate and authorized account addresses.
  • Ensure Proper Signatures: Include the right signatures for all involved accounts.
  • Use Recent Blockhash: Always fetch the latest blockhash before submitting a transaction.
  • Optimize Compute Units: Minimize compute unit usage to reduce fees and ensure smooth execution.
  • Include Sufficient Fees: Calculate and include adequate fees to cover base and compute costs.
  • Monitor Network Conditions: Adjust fees based on current network congestion.
  • Test on Testnet/Devnet: Use Solana’s testnet or devnet to test transactions before mainnet deployment.
  • Leverage Tools and Libraries: Use Solana-Web3.js and other tools for efficient transaction handling.
  • Implement Error Handling: Handle transaction failures gracefully to enhance user experience.
  • Stay Updated: Keep up with Solana's updates to avoid compatibility issues and leverage new features.

By following these tips, you can avoid common pitfalls and ensure smooth transaction construction on Solana.


Transactions, instructions, and transaction fees are the bedrock of Solana's vibrant digital economy. By understanding these concepts, you'll be well-equipped to navigate the bustling seas of Solana and seize the endless opportunities it offers.

So, whether you're sending SOL tokens to a friend, minting NFT masterpieces, or diving into the thrilling world of DeFi (decentralized finance), remember that Solana's transaction ecosystem is designed for speed, efficiency, and affordability. And with transaction fees that won't leave a dent in your digital wallet, you can embark on your blockchain adventures with confidence and gusto.

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