How-To Geek

How To Configure and Run Bukkit, An Alternative Minecraft Server


If you love Minecraft, odds are you’ve found a server you enjoy playing on. Minecraft is a great game, but with Bukkit, you can run a more efficient server that’s easy to manage and is ready for advanced plugins.

An Alternative Server

We’ve already covered Minecraft, a game that geeks love, and discussed how running your own server can make things more fun. But, what exactly is Bukkit?

Bukkit is a Minecraft-compatible server crafted from the ground up. It was made to be fast, efficient, and provide a lot more flexibility. The modding community that surrounds Minecraft is pretty large, and is really inspired by the essence of the game, and Bukkit is one its products. It runs more smoothly that the official server, works well on a computer with lower hardware, and is constantly updated. Put simply, it’s lean, mean, and pretty easy to use.

chat prompt

What makes Bukkit so different is that it’s designed to work with home-made plugins. While the server is running, you’re able to install and load many plugins on-the-fly. It’s easy to manage users and there’s a host of documentation on everything, as well as a great community. There are plugins which allow you to summon items at will, fly, and create warp zones between areas and different worlds. There’s even a plugin system that creates a class/guild system and introduces an economy complete with in-game currency! The possibilities with add-ons like this truly are endless. Check out their About page for more information on Bukkit’s philosophy.

The only real downside to using Bukkit is that it’s not made by the official team. That means when Minecraft is updated, you’ll have to hold off upgrading until they Bukkit team releases a server that’s compatible with the new version. Typically, this can take between a few days to two weeks for a stable version, so you’ll have to wait longer for the latest and greatest features. In addition, things can be buggy even on recommended builds if plugins aren’t updated for the newer Minecraft versions. This makes it even more important for the server admin to back up regularly.

Downloading and Running

Head over to the Bukkit Project’s main page: (click on the image below to view it full-size).


On the right side, you should see a panel that lists the Recommended Builds. The first one is the build that is most recommended at the moment, and below that are other builds that are older. In parentheses, you’ll see which version of Minecraft that build is compatible with. It’s always a good idea to read the posts on the left for information on bugs and development progress.

Click on the top Recommended Build. You’ll be taken to the source hub where you can download the appropriate server’s .jar file.


Click the link underneath Build Artifacts, as shown in the previous image (click image to view it full-size), and your download will begin.

Place the downloaded .jar file into a new folder.


Next, you need to create a script to run it. This varies depending on what OS you’re running and we’re covering Windows. If you’re running Linux or Mac OS, check out the Bukkit Wiki’s Setup Guide for the proper startup script.

Open up notepad, and enter the following:

“%ProgramFiles%\Java\jre6\bin\java.exe” -Xincgc -Xmx1G -jar craftbukkit-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.jar

If you’re using the 32-bit version of Java, change [%ProgramFiles%] to [%ProgramFiles(x86)], without the square brackets. If you’re using the Java Runtime 7 beta, change [jre6] to [jre7]. If you want to change the maximum amount of RAM it can use, change [Xmx1G] (for 1 GB) to something else, like [Xmx4G] (for 4GB).

Go to File > Save As. Give it a name and be sure to save it with the .bat extension.


Double click the .bat file to run the server. You’ll see a command-prompt window open.


The first time you run Bukkit, it will create the other files it needs to run properly and will create a world and a nether-world automatically. Once it’s done, we need to shut down the server.

Type “stop” without the quotes, and hit enter. This will properly shut the server down, saving all chunks of the world. You’ll know it’s finished when you see a prompt that says “Press any key to continue . . .”


Press any key and the window will close.

Configuring the Server

First of all, open the op.txt file and add your username to it. This will make you an Op and you will be able to execute any and all commands on your server. Anyone else you add to this file will be able to do the same.

Next, open up the file in notepad.


Most of the options are the same as the standard server (Official Minecraft Server Configuration, scroll down to “Tweaking the Server’s Properties”).

There are two new options in this file: allow-flight and spawn-protection.

  • allow-flight is set to “false” by default. This is a server-properties toggle to prevent flying mods from working. If you want to enable flying, install a flying mod on the server and set this to “true”.
  • spawn-protection by default is set to “16”. This means that other players will not be able to place blocks or build in a 16-block radius from your spawn point. Ops are not affected by this rule.

Save this file when you’re done.

Bukkit Commands

As the administrator of your server, you can run several commands to control things. For example, Bukkit allows you to add and remove “Op” status for individual players.

In the console windows, just type the name of the command – with proper parameters, if necessary – and hit enter to execute them. You don’t even have to be playing Minecraft to chat or manage players!


Here’s a brief list of useful commands:

  • op [playername] – turns a normal player into an Op.
  • deop [playername] – turns an Op into a normal player.
  • help – shows a list of server commands available to you.
  • say [message] – broadcast a message to all players.
  • kick [playername] – forcefully disconnect a player from your server.
  • time [set|add] [amount] – set or add an amount (between 0 and 24000) of time to the world clock. 0/24000 is just after dawn, 12000 is just before sunset.
  • save-all – force an immediate save of all world chunks.
  • stop – gracefully shut down the server.

You can also, of course, enter these commands in the in-game console just like the regular server. There are many more commands available to you, so be sure to check out the CraftBukkit Command List.

Now that you’ve got Bukkit installed, you’re on your way to customizing Minecraft’s mechanics and gameplay. If you enjoy playing on a particular server, talk to the ops and tell them about Bukkit. They’ll reap the benefits as much as you will. Next time we’ll discuss adding plugins like Flight and Essentials, but until then, watch out for creepers!

Yatri Trivedi is a monk-like geek. When he's not overdosing on meditation and geek news of all kinds, he's hacking and tweaking something, often while mumbling in 4 or 5 other languages.

  • Published 06/23/11

Comments (20)

  1. Jimmy de G.

    What about Linux based systems? The OS were you actually RUN a server on.

  2. g0dFather

    Thank you for responding to our requests about how to set up a Bukkit server in the Running Your Own Server article. I can’t wait to get working on this, my kids will love it! :)

  3. rushfan54

    @Jimmy: if you looked closely, you’d see that the acctual Bukkit file is a jar file, as in cross platform. So us Linux users would just run it in the same way, but without the batch file, of course.

  4. vgamesx1

    well whats wrong with a windows based server? I’ve never had any problems with running one on the same computer I play with/use daily.
    as long as you have the resources to spare then it really doesn’t matter, because I could run a any server in linux using a VM box but then it would have decreased CPU power and eat up even more resources and any spare little machines I got sitting around are kinda crappy lil windows 98 things.
    most of the time I find a windows server much easier to setup and maintain aswell, so I don’t know what your going on about. (note: I wasn’t being specific to Minecraft or Bukkit)

  5. vgamesx1

    oh yea….
    also since its a .jar does that mean I could run a Minecraft server on my phone? (lawl.. jokes this early) :D
    I have one with windows mobile 6 and another but its kinda cheap.

  6. Chris

    Hey, if anyone is interested in playing on a dedicated Minecraft Server, register and drop a post over at and I can add you to the whitelist :)

    Would be interesting to play with some fellow HTG’ers

  7. saikia81

    i like this, but i’m already running a 100 plugin server :P (actually to much plugins…)

    i’m going to update to 1.6 today so hope everythin will work :D

    nice article

  8. Yatri Trivedi

    @Jimmy De G: I linked to the official wiki for the Linux startup script. I personally ran my server under Ubuntu, and now my friend runs it under Crunchbang. :-)

  9. thyme676

    bukkit works wonderfully on a linux server. Just use “java -Xincgc -Xmx1G -jar craftbukkit.jar” from the terminal. You should change to the directory it is in first. You can change the “1G” to say 1500M to give it a more specific amount of ram.

  10. Garrett

    What if i get an error after trying to run the bat file. The error is “the filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.” without the quotes. I copied and pasted the code you listed. So what could be wrong? I checked my java version and i have java 6 and im running 64 bit windows 7.

  11. Eric

    I’m getting same problem as Garrett I have it all correctly put in

  12. OneYankeeRebel

    You need to set the path so your computer can find the file and/or directory, both for linux and windows. Search for solutions as each OS and version do it differently and there are a couple different methods sometimes.

  13. BAF

    I’m pretty sure bukkit is a modified version of the official server (decompiled and reverse engineered), and not a completely from-scratch clone of the minecraft server.

  14. Eric

    Oops, I meant article…

  15. Harry

    I keep getting an error when I start my batch file:

    The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect

  16. Cyraii

    @Harry: Try search for “Java.exe”, and copy the direction of the file. I had “windows/system32/java.exe”. Worked for me.

    But, now i have an other problem. When I try to connect to “localhost”, minecraft says: “server outdated!”.

  17. Borko

    The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect. i keep getting this note. Whta should i do?? pls help !!

  18. newbielol

    hey i copied the script exactly (trust me i checked) and when i open the batch file it says that it couldn’t find the specified path to SNAPSHOT.jar… i have tried doing 2 different texts: @ECHO OFF
    SET BINDIR=%~dp0
    CD /D “%BINDIR%”
    “%ProgramFiles(x86)\Java\jre6\bin\java.exe” -Xincgc -Xmx1G -jar craftbukkit-0.0.1-

    and also

    SET BINDIR=%~dp0
    CD /D “%BINDIR%”
    “%ProgramFiles(x86)\Java\jre6\bin\java.exe” -Xincgc -Xmx1G -jar craftbukkit-0.0.1-SNAPSHOT.jar

    can someone help me?

  19. newbielol

    ummm correction is says that SNAPSHOT.jar is not recognized as an external or interal input

  20. lukas12365478990

    When i open up run_server.bat it saya: press any key to continue, but when im pressing a key, it shot down run_server.bat :( please help me what am i doing wrong?? :(

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