Jetty Logo
Version: 9.4.31.v20200723
Contact the core Jetty developers at

private support for your internal/customer projects ... custom extensions and distributions ... versioned snapshots for indefinite support ... scalability guidance for your apps and Ajax/Comet projects ... development services for sponsored feature development

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 distros (including OSX) to manage Jetty as a startup service.

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 include:

[/opt/jetty]# tar -zxf /home/user/downloads/jetty-distribution-9.4.31.v20200723.tar.gz
[/opt/jetty]# cd jetty-distribution-9.4.31.v20200723/
[/opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.4.31.v20200723]# 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-9.4.31.v20200723]# cp bin/ /etc/init.d/jetty
[/opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.4.31.v20200723]# echo JETTY_HOME=`pwd` > /etc/default/jetty
[/opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.4.31.v20200723]# cat /etc/default/jetty

[/opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.4.31.v20200723]# service jetty start
Starting Jetty: OK Wed Nov 20 10:26:53 MST 2013

From this demonstration we can see that Jetty started successfully as a Unix Service from the /opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-{VERSION} directory.

This configuration works well but it is running Jetty as the root user.

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 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.

Jetty 9.3 requires Java 8 (or greater) to run. Make sure you have it installed.

# apt-get install openjdk-8-jdk

Or download Java 8 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)

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

Unpack it into place.

[/opt/jetty]# tar -zxf /home/user/Downloads/jetty-distribution-9.4.31.v20200723.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 the split between ${jetty.home} and ${jetty.base} allows for easier upgrades of Jetty itself while isolating your webapp specific configuration. For more information on the Jetty home and base concepts see the section on managing a Jetty installation earlier in this Chapter.

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.

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-9.4.31.v20200723/start.jar \
   INFO  : webapp          transitively enabled, ini template available with --add-to-start=webapp
   INFO  : server          transitively enabled, ini template available with --add-to-start=server
   INFO  : security        transitively enabled
   INFO  : servlet         transitively enabled
   INFO  : console-capture initialized in ${jetty.base}/start.ini
   INFO  : http            initialized in ${jetty.base}/start.ini
   INFO  : deploy          initialized in ${jetty.base}/start.ini
   MKDIR : ${jetty.base}/logs
   MKDIR : ${jetty.base}/webapps
   INFO  : Base directory was modified
[/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.

Additionally, the webapp, server, security and servlet modules were enabled as they are dependencies for other modules.

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

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

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-9.4.31.v20200723/bin/ /etc/init.d/jetty
# echo "JETTY_HOME=/opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.4.31.v20200723" > /etc/default/jetty
# echo "JETTY_BASE=/opt/web/mybase" >> /etc/default/jetty
# echo "JETTY_USER=jetty" >> /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-9.4.31.v20200723
JETTY_BASE     =  /opt/web/mybase
JETTY_CONF     =  /opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.4.31.v20200723/etc/jetty.conf
JETTY_PID      =  /var/run/
JETTY_START    =  /opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.4.31.v20200723/start.jar
JAVA           =  /usr/bin/java
JAVA_OPTIONS   =  -Djetty.state=/opt/web/mybase/jetty.state
JETTY_ARGS     =  console-capture.xml jetty-started.xml
RUN_CMD        =  /usr/bin/java
       -jar /opt/jetty/jetty-distribution-9.4.31.v20200723/start.jar

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

Test the service to make sure it starts up and runs successfully.

# 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.

See an error or something missing? Contribute to this documentation at Github!(Generated: 2020-07-23)