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example file to tell systemd to start a shell script at boot
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example unit file to tell systemd to start a shell script at boot


You want to turn on an nginx or node.js server or run any arbitrary piece of code on system startup. What do you do? You write a shell script /path/to/ that does it all and configures systemd to run this script for you on every boot.


Edit the given unit service file (example.service) to your requirement. Change the value of ExecStart to your startup shell script, PIDFile to the pid file of whatever you're interested in, ExecStop and ExecReload to how you want to stop and reload it etc.

Place the unit service file (example.service) in /etc/systemd/system (or your systemd unit file search path if different) and the do the following:

sudo systemctl enable example.service

In case your unit file is located located somewhere else, you may do the following: (I do not recommed this)

sudo systemctl link /path/to/example.service

Note that here you have to give the full path and not just the unit file name.

To see a list of unit-files:

sudo systemctl list-unit-files

You can then grep on this output for further info.

E.g. to list all enabled services:

sudo systemctl list-unit-files | grep enabled

E.g. to view status of nginx service:

sudo systemctl list-unit-files | grep nginx
  • Make sure your shell script is executable. (chmod +x)
  • Make sure your shell script begins with a shebang (#!/bin/bash)
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