There are two variations of the official bitcoin program available; one with a graphical user interface (usually referred to as just “Bitcoin”), and a 'headless' version (called bitcoind). They are completely compatible with each other, and take the same command-line arguments, read the same configuration file, and read and write the same data files. You can run one copy of either Bitcoin or bitcoind on your system at a time (if you accidently try to launch another, the copy will let you know that Bitcoin or bitcoind is already running and will exit).
Give Bitcoin (or bitcoind) the -? or –help argument and it will print out a list of the most commonly used command-line arguments and then exit:
bitcoin [options] bitcoin [options] <command> [params] Send command to -server or bitcoind bitcoin [options] help List commands bitcoin [options] help <command> Get help for a command
-conf=<file> Specify configuration file (default: bitcoin.conf) -gen Generate coins -gen=0 Don't generate coins -min Start minimized -datadir=<dir> Specify data directory -proxy=<ip:port> Connect through socks4 proxy -addnode=<ip> Add a node to connect to -connect=<ip> Connect only to the specified node -server Accept command line and JSON-RPC commands -daemon Run in the background as a daemon and accept commands -? This help message
Bitcoin.conf Configuration File
All command-line options (except for -datadir and -conf) may be specified in a configuration file, and all configuration file options may also be specified on the command line. Command-line options override values set in the configuration file.
The configuration file is a list of setting=value pairs, one per line, with optional comments starting with the '#' character.
The configuration file is not automatically created; you can create it using your favorite plain-text editor. By default, Bitcoin (or bitcoind) will look for a file named 'bitcoin.conf' in the bitcoin data directory, but both the data directory and the configuration file path may be changed using the -datadir and -conf command-line arguments.
|Operating System||Default bitcoin datadir||Typical path to configuration file|
|Windows||%APPDATA%\Bitcoin\||:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Bitcoin\bitcoin.conf|
|Mac OSX||$HOME/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin/||/Users/username/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin/bitcoin.conf|
Here is a sample bitcoin.conf file, containing every option set to its default value.
# bitcoin.conf configuration file. Lines beginning with # are comments.
# Network-related settings:
# Run on the test network instead of the real bitcoin network. #testnet=1
# Connect via a socks4 proxy #proxy=127.0.0.1:9050
# Use as many addnode= settings as you like to connect to specific peers #addnode=18.104.22.168 #addnode=10.0.0.2:8333
# ... or use as many connect= settings as you like to connect ONLY # to specific peers: #connect=22.214.171.124 #connect=10.0.0.1:8333
# Do not use Internet Relay Chat (irc.lfnet.org #bitcoin channel) to # find other peers. #noirc=1
# Maximum number of inbound+outbound connections. #maxconnections=
# JSON-RPC options (for controlling a running Bitcoin/bitcoind process)
# server=1 tells Bitcoin to accept JSON-RPC commands. #server=1
# You must set rpcuser and rpcpassword to secure the JSON-RPC api #rpcuser=Ulysseys #rpcpassword=YourSuperGreatPasswordNumber_385593
# How many seconds bitcoin will wait for a complete RPC HTTP request. # after the HTTP connection is established. rpctimeout=30
# By default, only RPC connections from localhost are allowed. Specify # as many rpcallowip= settings as you like to allow connections from # other hosts (and you may use * as a wildcard character): #rpcallowip=10.1.1.34 #rpcallowip=192.168.1.*
# Listen for RPC connections on this TCP port: rpcport=8332
# You can use Bitcoin or bitcoind to send commands to Bitcoin/bitcoind # running on another host using this option: rpcconnect=127.0.0.1
# Use Secure Sockets Layer (also known as TLS or HTTPS) to communicate # with Bitcoin -server or bitcoind #rpcssl=1
# OpenSSL settings used when rpcssl=1 rpcsslciphers=TLSv1+HIGH:!SSLv2:!aNULL:!eNULL:!AH:!3DES:@STRENGTH rpcsslcertificatechainfile=server.cert rpcsslprivatekeyfile=server.pem
# Miscellaneous options
# Set gen=1 to attempt to generate bitcoins gen=0
# Use SSE instructions to try to generate bitcoins faster. #4way=1
# Pre-generate this many public/private key pairs, so wallet backups will be valid for # both prior transactions and several dozen future transactions. keypool=100
# Pay an optional transaction fee every time you send bitcoins. Transactions with fees # are more likely than free transactions to be included in generated blocks, so may # be validated sooner. paytxfee=0.00
# Allow direct connections for the 'pay via IP address' feature. #allowreceivebyip=1
# User interface options
# Start Bitcoin minimized #min=1
# Minimize to the system tray #minimizetotray=1