The cassandra utility

Cassandra start-up parameters can be run from the command line (in Tarball installations) or specified in the file (Package or Tarball installations).

Cassandra start-up parameters can be run from the command line (in Tarball installations) or specified in the file (Package or Tarball installations).


For tarballs, run the following from the command line:

cassandra [OPTIONS]

For package installs, add the following to the /etc/cassandra/ file:


Include file 

For convenience on Linux installations, Cassandra uses an include file,, to source these environment variables. Use the following locations for this file:

  • Tarball installs: install_location/bin
  • Packaged installs: /usr/share/cassandra

Cassandra also uses the Java options set in If you want to pass additional options to the Java virtual machine, such as maximum and minimum heap size, edit the options in this file rather than setting them in the environment.

General options 

Option Description
-f Start the cassandra process in foreground. The default is to start as background process.
-h Help.
-p filename Log the process ID in the named file. Useful for stopping Cassandra by killing its PID.
-v Print the version and exit.

Start-up parameters 

-D parameter  
Specifies the following start-up parameters:
In a multi-instance deployment, multiple Cassandra instances will independently assume that all CPU processors are available to it. This setting allows you to specify a smaller set of processors and perhaps have affinity.
The directory location of the cassandra.yaml file.
Sets the initial partitioner token for a node the first time the node is started.
Set to false to start Cassandra on a node but not have the node join the cluster.
cassandra.load_ring_state=true |false  
Set to false to clear all gossip state for the node on restart. Use when you have changed node information in cassandra.yaml (such as listen_address).
Enable pluggable metrics reporter. See Pluggable metrics reporting in Cassandra 2.0.2.
Set the port on which the CQL native transport listens for clients. (Default: 9042)
Set the partitioner. (Default: org.apache.cassandra.dht.Murmur3Partitioner)
Set to true to reset local counter info on a node. Used to recover from data loss to a counter table.
  1. Remove all SSTables for counter tables on the node.
  2. Restart the node with the value of this parameter set to true.
  3. Run nodetool repair once the node is up again.
cassandra.replace_address=listen_address or broadcast_address of dead node 
To replace a node that has died, restart a new node in its place specifying the listen_address or broadcast_address that the new node is assuming. The new node must not have any data in its data directory, that is, it must be in the same state as before bootstrapping.
Note: The broadcast_address defaults to the listen_address except when using the Ec2MultiRegionSnitch.
Allow restoring specific tables from an archived commit log.
Allows overriding of the default RING_DELAY (1000ms), which is the amount of time a node waits before joining the ring.
Set the port for the Thrift RPC service, which is used for client connections. (Default: 9160).
Set the SSL port for encrypted communication. (Default: 7001)
Enable or disable the native transport server. See start_native_transport in cassandra.yaml.
Enable or disable the Thrift RPC server. (Default: true)
Set the port for inter-node communication. (Default: 7000)
Set the default location for the trigger JARs. (Default: conf/triggers)
For testing new compaction and compression strategies. It allows you to experiment with different strategies and benchmark write performance differences without affecting the production workload. See Testing compaction and compression.


  • Clear gossip state when starting a node. (Useful when the node has changed its configuration, such as its listen IP address.)

    Command line: bin/cassandra -Dcassandra.load_ring_state=false JVM_OPTS="$JVM_OPTS -Dcassandra.load_ring_state=false"

  • Start Cassandra on a node and do not join the cluster when already configured in the cassandra.yaml file:

    Command line: bin/cassandra -Dcassandra.join_ring=false JVM_OPTS="$JVM_OPTS -Dcassandra.join_ring=false"

  • Replacing a dead node:

    Command line: bin/cassandra -Dcassandra.replace_address= JVM_OPTS="$JVM_OPTS -Dcassandra.replace_address="

Related topics

The cassandra.yaml configuration file