BSD start services

FreeBSD (and NetBSD) stores all service related scripts that stop, start or restart services under /etc/rc.d or /usr/local/etc/rc.d/ directory. From these directories, you can start/stop any network or other system related services. General syntax:

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/etc/rc.d/service-name {start} {stop} {status} {reload} {forceXXX} {rcvar}

Where option can be use as follows,

  • start : Start a service
  • stop : Stop a service
  • status : Get status of a service such as if service is running or not
  • reload : Reload a service, useful when you make any changes to configuration files
  • forceXXX : To start, stop or restart a service regardless of the settings in /etc/rc.conf (see below for more info), the commands should be prefixed with “force”. For instance to restart sshd regardless of the current /etc/rc.conf setting, you can use forcerestart (replace XXX with start, stop or restart)
  • rcvar : Tells if service will be automatically starts when FreeBSD comes up (boot ups) i.e. to to check if a service is enabled in /etc/rc.conf or not.

Examples:

Start sshd service:

# /etc/rc.d/sshd start

Stop sshd service:

# /etc/rc.d/sshd stop

Restart sshd service:

# /etc/rc.d/sshd restart

However, service will not start, stop or restart if it is not configured in /etc/rc.conf file. For instance to restart sshd regardless of the current /etc/rc.conf setting, you can use forcerestart as follows:

# /etc/rc.d/sshd forcerestart

Or just start regardless of the current /etc/rc.conf setting

# /etc/rc.d/sshd forcestart

Or just stop regardless of the current /etc/rc.conf setting

# /etc/rc.d/sshd forcestop

More on /etc/rc.conf file
All freebsd services usually started automatically as specified in rc.conf. For example, enabling the SSHD daemon at startup is as simple as adding the following line to /etc/rc.conf:
sshd_enable=”YES”

However, you can also use sysinstall command to add services that can start automatically as specified below:

1) Start sysinstall by typing sysinstall

# sysinstall 

2) Select Configure

3) Select Startup

4) Select the service you wish to start automatically by pressing space bar

5) When done select Ok and Exit to shell prompt

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5 comments… add one
  • Anonymous Dec 11, 2005 @ 16:41

    Very informative I also find official Handbook quite helpful too

  • Unknown Dec 13, 2005 @ 0:34

    I don’t wanna troll but like to know who is using FreeBSD these days?

  • Jason Feb 12, 2008 @ 21:23

    Troll indeed. Take a look at netcraft. FreeBSD is alive and well in the server market.

  • ingvar Mar 29, 2010 @ 15:13

    Unknown 12.13.05 at 12:34 am

    > I donÒ€ℒt wanna troll but like to know who is using FreeBSD these days?

    Yahoo and google, springs to mind.

  • Lafufy Nov 24, 2016 @ 8:29

    Thank you!

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