Can't start Confluence with "Error: Could not create the Java Virtual Machine"

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Platform notice: Server and Data Center only. This article only applies to Atlassian products on the Server and Data Center platforms.

Support for Server* products ended on February 15th 2024. If you are running a Server product, you can visit the Atlassian Server end of support announcement to review your migration options.

*Except Fisheye and Crucible


Upon attempting to install or run Confluence 5.8.x, the application appears to stall or does not properly start on execution of the start script or service.

The following lines appears in the catalina.out file within the application:

Unrecognized VM option 'MaxMetaspaceSize=256m'
Error: Could not create the Java Virtual Machine.
Error: A fatal exception has occurred. Program will exit.



  • Confluence 5.8 requires Java 1.8.0_40 and higher in order to start properly

Diagnostic Steps

  • Check the installed Java version to see if your  instance of Confluence uses a supported Java version:
java -version
  • Check that the JAVA_HOME  environment variable has been set correctly in your environment. See Installing Java for Confluence to check on your  JAVA_HOME  environment variable set in your system


As of the release of Confluence 5.8.2,  Java 1.7 is no longer supported and Confluence 5.8.x is not compatible with earlier versions of JAVA.


  1. If you're not using a supported version of Java, you need to update it to a supported Java Version as per mentioned in supported platforms.
  2. If you haven't installed Java, you need to install it according to the steps in this documentation.

Last modified on Nov 2, 2018

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