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Version: 9.3.7.v20160115
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Startup a Unix Service using

Quick-Start a Jetty Service
Practical Setup of a Jetty Service

The Standalone Jetty distribution ships with a bin/ script that can be used by various Unix (including OSX) to manage jetty startup.

This script is suitable for setting up Jetty as a service in Unix.

Quick-Start a Jetty Service

The minimum steps to get Jetty to run as a Service

[/opt/jetty]# tar -zxf /home/user/downloads/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115.tar.gz 
[/opt/jetty]# cd jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115/
[/opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115]# ls
bin        lib                         modules      resources  start.jar
demo-base  license-eplv10-aslv20.html  notice.html  start.d    VERSION.txt
etc        logs                        README.TXT   start.ini  webapps

[/opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115]# cp bin/ /etc/init.d/jetty
[/opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115]# echo JETTY_HOME=`pwd` > /etc/default/jetty
[/opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115]# cat /etc/default/jetty

[/opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115]# service jetty start
Starting Jetty: OK Wed Nov 20 10:26:53 MST 2013

From this simple demonstration we can see that Jetty started successfully as a Unix Service from the /opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115 directory.

This looks all fine and dandy, however you are running a default Jetty on the root user id.

Practical Setup of a Jetty Service

There are various ways this can be accomplished, mostly depending on your Unix environment (and possibly corporate policies)

The techniques outlined here assume an installation on Linux (demonstrated on Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS).

Prepare System

Prepare some empty directories to work with.

# mkdir -p /opt/jetty
# mkdir -p /opt/web/mybase
# mkdir -p /opt/jetty/temp

The directory purposes are as follows:


Where the Jetty Distribution will be unpacked into


Where your specific set of webapps will be located, including all of the configuration required of the server to make them operational.


This is the temporary directory assigned to Java by the Service Layer (this is what Java sees as the System Property)

This is intentionally kept separate from the standard temp directory of /tmp, as this location doubles as the Servlet Spec work directory. (It is our experience that the standard temp directory is often managed by various cleanup scripts that wreak havoc on a long running Jetty server

Make sure you have Java 7 Installed

Jetty ${project.version} requires Java 7 (or greater) to run. Make sure you have it installed.

# apt-get install openjdk-7-jdk

Or download Java 7 from:

# java -version
java version "1.6.0_27"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (IcedTea6 1.12.6) (6b27-1.12.6-1ubuntu0.12.04.2)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 20.0-b12, mixed mode)

# update-alternatives --list java

# update-alternatives --config java
There are 2 choices for the alternative java (providing /usr/bin/java).

  Selection    Path                                            Priority   Status
* 0            /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-amd64/jre/bin/java   1061      auto mode
  1            /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-amd64/jre/bin/java   1061      manual mode
  2            /usr/lib/jvm/java-7-openjdk-amd64/jre/bin/java   1051      manual mode

Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 2
update-alternatives: using /usr/lib/jvm/java-7-openjdk-amd64/jre/bin/java to provide /usr/bin/java (java) in manual mode.

# java -version
java version "1.7.0_25"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (IcedTea 2.3.10) (7u25-2.3.10-1ubuntu0.12.04.2)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 23.7-b01, mixed mode)

Create a User to Run Jetty

It is recommended that you create a user to specifically run Jetty. This user should have the minimum set of privileges needed to run Jetty.

# useradd --user-group --shell /bin/false --home-dir /opt/jetty/temp jetty

This will create a user called jetty, belonging to the group called jetty, with no shell access (aka /bin/false), and home directory at /opt/jetty/temp.

Download and Unpack Your Distribution

Grab a copy of the distribution from the Official Eclipse Download Site

Unpack it into place.

[/opt/jetty]# tar -zxf /home/user/Downloads/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115.tar.gz 
[/opt/jetty]# ls -F
[/opt/jetty]# mkdir /opt/jetty/temp

It might seem strange or undesirable to unpack the first portion of the jetty-distribution directory name too. But starting with Jetty 9.1 the split between ${jetty.home} and ${jetty.base} allows for easier upgrades of Jetty itself while isolating your webapp specific configuration.

The /opt/jetty/temp directory is created as a durable place for Jetty to use for temp and working directories. Many Unix systems will periodically clean out the /tmp directory, this behavior is undesired in a Servlet container and has been known to cause problems. This durable directory at /opt/jetty/temp solves for that behavior.

Configure your WebApp base

The directory at /opt/web/mybase is going to be a ${jetty.base}, so lets configure it to hold your webapp and its configuration.


In past versions of Jetty, you would configure / modify / add to the jetty-distribution directory directly. While this is still supported, we encourage you to setup a proper ${jetty.base} directory, as it will benefit you with easier jetty-distribution upgrades in the future.

# cd /opt/web/mybase/
[/opt/web/mybase]# ls
[/opt/web/mybase]# java -jar /opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115/start.jar \
WARNING: deploy          initialised in ${jetty.base}/start.ini (appended)
WARNING: deploy          enabled in     ${jetty.base}/start.ini
WARNING: server          initialised in ${jetty.base}/start.ini (appended)
WARNING: server          enabled in     ${jetty.base}/start.ini
WARNING: http            initialised in ${jetty.base}/start.ini (appended)
WARNING: http            enabled in     ${jetty.base}/start.ini
WARNING: server          enabled in     ${jetty.base}/start.ini
WARNING: logging         initialised in ${jetty.base}/start.ini (appended)
WARNING: logging         enabled in     ${jetty.base}/start.ini
[/opt/web/mybase]# ls -F
start.ini  webapps/

At this point you have configured your /opt/web/mybase to enable the following modules:


This is the module that will perform deployment of web applications (WAR files or exploded directories), or Jetty IoC XML context deployables, from the /opt/web/mybase/webapps directory.


This sets up a single Connector that listens for basic HTTP requests.

See the created start.ini for configuring this connector


When running Jetty as a service it is very important to have logging enabled. This module will enable the basic STDOUT and STDERR capture logging to the /opt/web/mybase/logs/ directory.

See Using start.jar for more details and options on setting up and configuring a ${jetty.base} directory.

Copy your war file into place.

# cp /home/user/projects/mywebsite.war /opt/web/mybase/webapps/

Most service installations will want jetty to run on port 80, now is your opportunity to change this from the default value of 8080 to 80.

Edit the /opt/web/mybase/start.ini and change the jetty.http.port value.

# grep jetty.http.port /opt/web/mybase/start.ini

Change Permissions

Change the permissions on the Jetty distribution, and your webapp directories so that the user you created can access it.

# chown --recursive jetty /opt/jetty
# chown --recursive jetty /opt/web/mybase

Configure the Service Layer

Next we need to make the Unix System aware that we have a new Jetty Service that can be managed by the standard service calls.

# cp /opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115/bin/ /etc/init.d/jetty
# echo "JETTY_HOME=/opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115" > /etc/default/jetty
# echo "JETTY_BASE=/opt/web/mybase" >> /etc/default/jetty
# echo "TMPDIR=/opt/jetty/temp" >> /etc/default/jetty

Test out the configuration

# service jetty status
Checking arguments to Jetty: 
START_INI      =  /opt/web/mybase/start.ini
JETTY_HOME     =  /opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115
JETTY_BASE     =  /opt/web/mybase
JETTY_CONF     =  /opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115/etc/jetty.conf
JETTY_PID      =  /var/run/
JETTY_START    =  /opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115/start.jar
JETTY_LOGS     =  /opt/web/mybase/logs
CLASSPATH      =  
JAVA           =  /usr/bin/java
JAVA_OPTIONS   =  -Djetty.state=/opt/web/mybase/jetty.state 
JETTY_ARGS     =  jetty-logging.xml jetty-started.xml
RUN_CMD        =  /usr/bin/java 
       -jar /opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115/start.jar 

Start Your Service

You now have a configured ${jetty.base} in /opt/web/mybase and a jetty-distribution in /opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.3.7.v20160115, along with the service level files necessary to start the service.

Go ahead, start it.

# service jetty start
Starting Jetty: OK Wed Nov 20 12:35:28 MST 2013

# service jetty check
Jetty running pid=2958

[/opt/web/mybase]# ps u 2958
jetty     2958  5.3  0.1 11179176 53984 ?      Sl   12:46   0:00 /usr/bin/java -Djetty...

You should now have your server running. Try it out

See an error or something missing? Contribute to this documentation at Github!(Generated: 2016-03-17)