Ensuring the resilience and continual operation of programs is a critical task for system administrators and developers alike. Whether we’re running a web server, a background data processing script, or any other service, we need a reliable way to keep these programs running.
In this article, we’ll explore various methods of keeping applications alive during crashes or reboots.
2. Using a Loop in the Shell Script
The simplest approach is to wrap the execution of our script or program within an infinite loop. This method is straightforward and requires minimal setup.
2.1. Creating a Loop
Let’s create a simple infinitive loop in Bash:
while true; do
We can also add sleep after execution. That way, we won’t start immediately after a crash. That may be good if we want to wait out some transient condition that provoked the crash:
while true; do
While effective for simple needs, this approach lacks sophistication. We can’t monitor the status of the program running. Also, we can’t stop it any other way but by sending the kill signal.
And finally, if the whole system crashes, the program won’t automatically be executed again.
3. Using Cron’s @reboot
We can supplement the previous method with the @reboot feature in cron. It ensures that our program starts on system boot. First, we need to edit our crontab:
$ crontab -e
Then, we need to add the following line:
This will create a cron job that will execute our program on every reboot.
4. Systemd Service
systemd is the init system for modern Linux distributions and offers extensive capabilities for service management. We can use it to create a service for our program and to control its execution.
4.1. Creating a Systemd Service
Let’s create a systemd service file, for example, /etc/systemd/system/myapp.service, with the following content:
4.2. Enabling and Starting the Service
Now we can enable and start our service:
$ sudo systemctl enable myapp.service
$ sudo systemctl start myapp.service
After that, our app will be automatically restarted after a crash or a reboot.
We can also easily check the status of the created service. If we just want to know if the service is active, we can type:
$ sudo systemctl is-active myapp.service
However, if we want more extensive information, like the most recent log entries or CPU and memory usage, we can use the status command:
$ sudo systemctl status myapp.service
4.4. Stopping and Disabling Services
If we need to, we can easily stop any service we previously created:
$ sudo systemctl stop myapp.service
However, since our service is programmed to start on the system’s boot, it will still be executed after a reboot, even after manual stopping. If we want to disable it, we need to execute the disable command:
$ sudo systemctl disable myapp.service
There are multiple external tools designed to control and monitor processes. In this article, we’ll focus on Supervisord.
5.1. Setting Up Supervisord
First, we need to install supervisord if it’s not already present:
$ sudo apt-get install supervisor
Then we must create a configuration file at “/etc/supervisord.conf”. The simplest configuration would look like this:
To ensure that our program is executed on reboot and kept alive, we need to set the “autostart” and “autorestart” variables to true:
5.2. Managing Programs
Now, we can use Supervisord to execute our program:
$ sudo supervisorctl reread
$ sudo supervisorctl update
$ sudo supervisorctl start myprogram
Similarly to using systemd, our program will be automatically started on reboot and restarted on crashes.
We can check the status of our program by using the status command:
$ sudo supervisorctl status myprogram
In this article, we explored several methods to keep programs running continuously on Linux systems. While each approach has its merits, the choice depends on our needs. For system-critical services, systemd offers a robust and integrated solution, whereas supervisord provides more control for managing multiple processes.
For simple tasks, a bash loop and a cron job should suffice.